Insights Blog

DataXpresso blog: does data democratization matter? 

Open data in healthcare

This week, DataXpresso hosts Eva and Helena discuss data democratization and ask whether it’s a boardroom buzzword or an integral part of data strategy. In this blog, you’ll discover how open data has been crucial in the battle against COVID-19, and find tools and resources to democratize data within your own organization.

Listen to DataXpresso episode 17 here.

At Exasol, we’re believers in the power of data democratization. It’s incredibly important for organizations to consider how they can open up more of their data to more of their people, and draw on the collective wisdom and intelligence of their data analysts, data scientists and business experts.

We’re not alone. The scientific community relied heavily on openly available data and collaborative thinking in responding to the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s how data democratization helped in developing vaccines and mapping the spread of the virus.

Learning from the COVID-19 crisis

During 2020 we witnessed numerous examples of collaboration across organizations, countries and regions to battle the coronavirus pandemic. The science community is no stranger to such collaborations and the search for a vaccine made this very visible for people everywhere.

We, as data people and data-driven organizations, can learn from these efforts and adopt similar approaches in our own environments to foster better collaboration, information sharing and skill-building among our people.

“In the context of a public health emergency of international concern, there is an imperative on all parties to make any information available that might have value in combatting the crisis.”

Wellcome Trust

Open Access data sharing

Open access (OA) data sharing, when information is available for anyone to use at no or a very low cost, became essential in supporting the scientific research that led to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. The European Bioinformatics Institute gives a comprehensive overview of the resources available related to the coronavris, and the reasons why collaboration is so important in the scientific community. It also includes an interview with two researchers on how they use the COVID-19 platform.

Tableau’s COVID-19 Data Hub

Tableau acted very early on in the crisis and established a COVID-19 data hub, which gathers data sources, visualizations and analyses to help people understand the spread of the virus, hotspots in their communities and provide starter workbooks for people to use for their own research. This platform shows how easily data can be shared by using tools deliberately and removing barriers to access.

A call to share

Wellcome Trust put out a statement shortly after the emergence of the coronavirus to call on researchers, journals and funders to share data quickly and openly. The argument was simple: to ensure the appropriate public health response to save lives. In addition to its request, the trust also made a commitment of its own to make any of its research publicly available immediately. With the support of dozens of high ranking signatories from the medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, including private sector organizations, journals and non-profits, Wellcome shows how an organization can take a clear stance and put its weight behind the cause of data democratization.

Still want more?

If you’re looking for more information about data democratization, we’ve collated some of the most noteworthy articles and reports on the subject.  

To Become a Data-Driven Enterprise, Data Democratization is Essential

This report from global professional services company Cognizant states that to optimise enterprise knowledge, organizations need a modern platform that enables data to be more easily shared, interpreted and capitalized on by internal decision makers and by business partners. Read more here (PDF).

10 Steps to Creating a Data-Driven Culture

David Waller writes in Harvard Business Review about the 10 steps that help organizations develop, build and grow a successful data-driven culture, which has leadership support, removes silos and focuses on high value KPIs that support the business on a daily basis. Continue reading.

Digital transformation: 6 ways to democratize data skills

Organizations need science know-how in order to connect data to analytics or algorithms and deliver digital transformation insights. For six ways to develop and spread data skills, click here.


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