Insights Blog

How to Develop an Expert Data Democratization Strategy

Organizations are doing their best to tackle data management and analytics in the face of massive amounts of data that seemingly get more complex everywhere. Everyone is asking the same question: How do we make sense of all this data – and how do we put it to work in a way that drives our business forward? In the past, business data management fell into the hands of a few decision-makers. But more and more businesses realize that to capitalize on all the information available, data must be accessible to everyone within the organization. Enter data democratization.

What is Data Democratization, and Why is it Important?

The ability to make data-driven decisions are only possible when that data is available to all relevant departments within an organization. But that availability is only one part of a larger puzzle; organizations also need to encourage employees to put that data to use.

Data democratization enables every employee within an organization to feel comfortable using data, making informed decisions with data, and using data to improve the customer experience. A strong data democratization strategy will invest in data literacy, empowering employees at every skill level to use their data to identify insights.

But how does one develop an effective data democratization strategy and incorporate it into their larger organization? Let’s examine the seven steps to creating a strategy that can make navigating and acting on data easier for everyone.

7 Steps to Develop a Data Democratization Strategy

Implementing data democratization looks a little different for every business. While more sensitive organizations may keep some restrictions in place to prevent completely unfettered access to proprietary data, others may make the bulk of their data available across the board.

Let’s look at the seven steps to deciding what works for you and how to create your own strategy.

1. Start With an Overall Data Strategy

Data privacy is a global concern for consumers and enterprises alike, and data democratization doesn’t mean forsaking those concerns. Your initial stages of democratization must involve creating a data management strategy.

This strategy needs to lay out how and when data is accessed and by whom. Data encryptions, security clearances, and other security measures all fall under this initial planning stage. Data democratization cannot occur until it can fit into a larger data strategy. Once it is in place, it should neatly integrate into the existing structure.

2. Roadmap Your Data

Where does new data come from? Where and how is old data stored? Making data accessible to all requires a clear and comprehensive roadmap of where that data comes from and where it goes.

Is information analyzed and stored in a way that makes it easy and practical to access across the organization, and is that system scalable? Are there bottlenecks preventing the flow of data, and if so, what can be done to address them?

Legacy data needs to be just as easily accessible as current data, which is why it’s essential to integrate all collection and storage systems properly.

3. Identify Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks describe any slowdown or disruption of data access. As noted above, integrating systems in a way that grants broad access to current and legacy data is crucial to preventing those disruptions.

Just as important is ensuring IT and other data management departments don’t create bottlenecks in communication or data access. These departments typically analyze and manage data on their own, so transitioning into the open-sharing format of data democratization can sometimes cause a shakeup.

Beyond creating ease of access in-house, it is essential to have a data analytics platform that can drive the levels of performance that make data democratization possible, at scale, without compromising that performance. There’s no point in expanding data access if employees can’t open the dashboard.

4. Collect Data

A nearly endless amount of data is available to businesses, so the issue becomes figuring out which types of data will deliver valuable insights and have the greatest return on investment.

Focus on data quality first, relying on information that gives an accurate image of your customers, their behaviors, habits, and other market data. While collecting a large amount of data increases the possibility of valuable insights, the true takeaways come from carefully collecting information from specific inquiries.

5. Data Storage

Road mapping data should provide a clear picture of where your data is stored and who has access to it. However, this raises the question of whether the current storage system allows for broad access while still prioritizing security.

Data silos may help maintain both security and accessibility, allowing organizations to store different types of data in different places. A data silo directory will help employees find, access, and use the data they need without creating any new bottlenecks.

6. Data Governance

Data governance decisions vary from business to business, but every strategy revolves around privacy, security, and ethics. Mitigate risk considerations dealing with data privacy and other sensitive concerns by creating policies around data accessibility.

Democratization doesn’t necessarily mean everyone can access everything, after all. Decision makers must determine what data remains walled off from general access and why. Governance policies can involve encryption access, security clearances, or other measures that make sense to your business.

7. Management

Data democratization is not a set-it-and-forget-it initiative. It requires ongoing management to ensure security and accessibility. Ensure democratization efforts fold neatly into the rest of the business strategy by enlisting the aid and support of executive leadership from the start.

Executive management can decide who will be responsible for building out the software systems necessary for successful data democratization. These include data migrations, privacy issues, establishing overarching goals, and tracking KPIs.

Invest in training to create a team that stays in place to manage ongoing democratization across your company. Consider making a user manual for anyone who will now be accessing and using data that hasn’t previously.

When instituting a data democratization strategy, a data management team should take the reigns. Their job is to assist in seamlessly creating and implementing a democratization framework.

Key Benefits of Data Democratization

Although Loading...real-time analytics enable organizations to grow revenue and margins, many companies struggle to adopt the latest technology due to a lack of people, processes, technologies, or budget. Some of the most common challenges organizations face when adopting real-time analytics include the following:

Better Accessibility

When data access is managed exclusively by an IT department, everyone else is left to wait on IT availability to help them access the information they need. Not only does this slow decision-making, but recurring requests can also quickly overwhelm IT departments of any size.

Improved Efficiency

With across-the-board data access, departments within an organization can function collaboratively and at speed, enabling staff to leverage their skills in real-time.

Better Insights

With traditional data management, the majority of employees operate in a vacuum. Data transparency enables those employees to access the information they need to gather insights specific to their roles and make better-informed decisions.

Democratize Your Data with Exasol

Data democratization is essential to breaking away from traditional data management and moving organizations into the future by granting increased data access and usability.

Let Exasol move your business forward with the best business value for a fully flexible integration framework. With blazing-fast analytics and decades of proven excellence, Exasol is the partner you need to move faster, scale easier, and integrate new data seamlessly into every aspect of your business.

Turn crisis mode into growth mode. Accelerate your data-driven decision-making with Exasol. Download the white paper.