Understanding the Purpose, Importance, and Risks of Data Democratization
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Understanding the Purpose, Importance, and Risks of Data Democratization

Businesses are drowning in data and analytics departments are struggling to keep pace with the influx of data. There is a constant demand for better insights from Big Data analytics to help enhance business processes, leading to the development of new technology. A lot of this new tech is geared towards helping non-exclusive personnel better understand the data they are dealing with. This is where data democratization gets introduced as an alternative to traditional data analytics operations.

Data democratization simply means that business data will be available to not just analytics teams and top brass, but will be accessible by everybody within the organization. The concept also necessitates that the business provides employees the means to understand the data they are accessing, well enough to be able to influence business decisions and expand opportunities.

Self-service analytics is the manifestation of data democratization where generalized personnel can access the data for making better-informed business decisions. Business intelligence hence becomes indispensable to business growth and leveraging Augmented Analytics to glean the insights has taken center stage. Based on Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Automated Insights, Augmented Analytics enables users to replace opinions with actionable insights with speed and accuracy.

The Need for Data Democratization

Those in favor of making data democratization a prevalent practice believe that it is essential for a business to be transparent about its data across channels, to gain a competitive advantage. The more employees with varying expertise have access to the data, the easier it will be to identify and address business insights. Employees at each level are encouraged to take ownership and leverage the data to influence their decision-making, having a positive impact on the business as a whole.

 Some of the benefits of data democratization are as follows:

  • Gaining a holistic understanding of the entire data ecosystem
  • Making the data accessible to every employee through integration and analytics tools
  • Managing the legacy data by integrating it into new infrastructure
  • Empowering employees with self-service analytics
  • Training employees in data governance for best use of data

Obstacles to Data Democratization

Businesses that want to introduce data democratization into their operations, need to create it from scratch. It demands a budget, software to manage all the data, and training personnel to handle the software, analyze the data and make informed business decisions. But before all this can get underway, there might be some roadblocks to your data democratization efforts.

The following are a few obstacles to data democratization:

  • Siloed Data forms vast untapped pools of data making it a nightmare for users to establish a single source of data that they can rely on. 
  • Limited access to data is the current state of affairs, with IT teams handling, managing, and analyzing all the data. This obstructs the free flow of data and organizational agility.
  • Deficient tools for business intelligence and data analytics that are in existence were not designed to support self-service analytics and the democratization of data.

Big Data Engineering is an efficient solution when trying to integrate data from across business channels and leverage the insights to enhance profitability, influence business growth, and optimize customer satisfaction.  

Data Democratization Strategies

The following are steps and strategies that you can follow to help establish data democratization and glean benefits and resources for other initiatives such as privacy compliance.

  • Data Source Mapping is a crucial start to data democratization, as knowing where data is coming from is quintessential to understanding that data.
  • Data Accounting is just as important as source mapping because knowing the source is just half the picture. You need to know what is in the data sets to be able to analyze them accordingly.
  • Data Silo Directories need to be set up so that once democratization has been established, users need to be able to locate the data they require and businesses can also track who is accessing what data.
  • Data Governance strategies will determine who accesses the data, how the data is accessed, and then treated within the limits of democratization and related business objectives. Even with democratization, data must be protected with encryption technology and processes, and employees should be trained on how to handle all data, sensitive or otherwise.
  • Data Management mechanisms should also be put in place to seamlessly carry out objectives from data quality and transformation to data migration and privacy policies.
  • Middleware Strategy, though a part of data management, is crucial to unifying multi-sourced data. This might involve the creation of a single data pool connected to all or some relevant sources of data, or multiple data banks tapping into separate segments with specific targets.
  • Data Accessibility by general personnel is the key reason behind advocating data democratization. No-code, low-code, or NoSQL platforms are established to facilitate ownership of data beyond the IT teams and within the business. They are the bridge between employees and actionable data they can leverage to enhance business growth and customer satisfaction.

The Future of Data Democratization 

There is still a lot of concern regarding data democratization, as organizations are not ready to let general employees get access to sensitive business data. They do not want to run the risk of employees misinterpreting data or creating data silos as a result of human error. But the benefits of data democratization far outweigh the risks. Employees having access to relevant, contextual and actionable data can transform decision making from the lowest rung of an organization and have a positive impact on the business as a whole. 

All in all, data democratization is en-route to being the future of streamlined data management; where employees can access and understand data better, leverage it to influence business growth, and deliver better customer experiences.