Data democratization means empowering more people, or even everyone, within an organization to access data analytics tools. This takes the responsibility of analyzing data out of the hands of specialized teams alone and puts them into the hands of the “average user.” Here are four tips for democratizing data throughout your company.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
When trying to implement an organizational change within your business, it’s essential you get everyone behind it. Having factions leading people different directions is going to dampen the positive impacts that can be created by democratizing data.
There are a few things that managers and other business leaders should do to ensure employees are on-board with greater data democratization. First, it’s important to explain why it’s happening. People will have valid concerns about shifting data strategies and expectations. Don’t just tell them to deal with it. If you can’t articulate the underlying philosophy, you might need to go back to the drawing board.
Once you’ve made the “why” clear, you need to express how you’re going to address those outstanding concerns from employees. Once that’s been done, continue to communicate with those who are still apprehensive. This is a big change; it’s essential you get full support behind it from top to bottom.
It’s also highly important to get everyone, especially leadership and IT teams, to agree on the underlying goals you’re trying to achieve with data, as this will inform how you execute your strategy. Think you’re going to democratize your organization’s data and things will magically get better overnight? Think again. Planning the transition isn’t the only important element necessary to reap rewards from democratization. You also need to consider some goals—both concrete and abstract.
Think about what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish by democratizing data in your company. No two businesses are going to have the exact same answer to this. Homing in on your precise goals is going to improve the results of your efforts.
Have an Implementation Strategy
You’re not going to successfully democratize data within your organization without a solid implementation strategy. One of the first things you should do is anticipate any potential roadblocks to the process. Maybe there are data storage issues you know you’re going to need to address in order to effectively roll out your plan. Or possibly, there are certain company culture aspects that need to be taken on in order to get it right.
One thing that needs to be considered is data permission levels. It’s important your analytics tools allow you to set customizable permissions for employees through governance. Otherwise, people might gain access to sensitive data that could create security risks for your business.
Educate Your Employees
One of the legitimate concerns about data democratization is that it will lead to those without deeper data knowledge to gain false insights. If this happens, it not only negates the positives of opening up data to everyone, it can actually send things backwards.
This is why training is key to making data democratization a success within your organization. Employees need to know how to effectively use the software provided to them. But even more fundamentally, anyone who’s going to be potentially using data should receive a primer on best practices for analysis. Consider this an opportunity to create greater cohesion and departmental interaction between your IT and data teams and other departments.
It’s also wise to give some examples for how to approach ad hoc analysis. People without much experience working with data need to understand the kinds of questions they can ask to maximize the value they’re getting from these tools.
Part of data democratization is making sure BI tools are accessible, understandable and intuitive for all users. Business intelligence (BI) software like ThoughtSpot further democratizes data by allowing individuals without much data background to intuitively run queries. Its relational search feature allows users to input queries similarly to how they’d search for something on Google, thanks to artificial intelligence and natural language processing.
Lead with Success Stories
To encourage more users to jump on the data bandwagon in their regular workflows, show them how others in similar roles are finding success with data analytics in terms of impacting their business performance.
Your company can benefit from data democratization. But it’s essential you don’t take a backseat in its implementation. Consider these ways you can ensure data democratization is done right.