We’re seeing a new wave of democracy—of data, that is.
IT departments and organisations are allowing more business users access to data to expedite decision making, influence sales and customer service, and uncover opportunities.
I’m not the only one who sees the surge of data democratisation changing business operations. More than 77% of respondents to research from MIT Sloan Management Review reported an increase in access to useful data. The Walmart Data Café that I explore in my article, “Really Big Data at Walmart: Real-Time Insights from Their 40+ Petabyte Data Cloud,” is a great example of data democratisation, but in a controlled way.
For the bulk of the last 5 decades, data was “owned” by IT departments and used by business analysts and executives to drive business decisions. As organisations became inundated with data and bottlenecks increased due to volume, it became apparent that more business users needed to have access to the data to explore it on their own without IT being a gatekeeper.
In addition to the voluminous amount of data being created today, what else contributed to the adoption of democratising data? Let’s first look at the barriers to data democratisation and then to what has changed and what organisations should have in place as they open the gates to allow access to its data.
Barriers to Data Democratisation
There are several reasons why more organisations are open to democratising their data today, but certainly barriers have either been eliminated or significantly reduced. Here are just a few of them.
Data Democratisation Possible Due to Tech and Tools
Expanding the pool of people who can analyse and develop meaningful business action from data is critical to gain a competitive edge for your business, see the big picture and, in some cases, could ensure its survival. The easier and faster your people can access the data to get the business insights they need without help, is the goal of data democratisation. Here are just a few of the tech solutions that made data democratisation possible.
Considerations for Organisations when Democratising Data
As with any evolution in an organisation, data democratisation requires policies and training to ensure everyone understands expectations.
Data democratisation will be a game-changer for organisations that implement it properly with the right training and tools to allow their employees to quickly and easily extract powerful business meaning from the data.
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Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.