The sheer volumes of the incoming information have made it necessary for some companies to hire data scientists to crunch and interpret all that data, as the average employee typically doesn’t have the knowledge required to understand it all—much less leverage it towards better business outcomes.
Recent advances in these technologies, however, have made it possible for this data to be shared with and interpreted by people who are not data analysts by trade. This has effectively taken this data from the hands of the few and made it digestible for mass consumption.
This data revolution, as it were, is known as data democratization—and it’s about to change the way companies do just about everything.
Why data democratization is needed
With new data collection technologies entering the landscape, it is now possible to put the highly detailed insights it delivers to good use. It allows companies to see ROI very quickly from the software they need to make sense of it all, and it enables access for departments like sales and marketing who can immediately apply the data to drive efficiencies and sales improvements.
Data keeps slipping through the cracks
In a recent study, MIT determined that 99% of digital data is not even being used. This takes into account the sum total of data we are producing, estimated at 16 zettabytes every single year. (One zettabyte is equivalent to one billion terabytes.)
The same study found that 80% of company decision-makers feel that they lack the internal skills to make use of this data. These metrics alone point to the fact that, in general, we are not taking advantage of what’s right in front of us. Now, with better tools to manage the influx of data, this can change.
Data delivery bottlenecks impede progress
Departments that can reap the rewards of data democratization include sales and marketing, finance, logistics, supply chain, and human resources—all of which, historically, have suffered from a lag in data delivery. This is largely due to the time it takes for a human to analyze and assemble that data in preparation for delivery.
And as data volumes increase exponentially every year, exploring that data becomes increasingly complex:
- If the data needs to be interpreted by a specialist who will then determine the best course of action, by the time it takes to render that decision, opportunities may have been missed.
- By the time the reports land on the executive’s desk, the time for action may have passed.
- By the time the decision is made to act, the iron may have cooled to the point that any action at all could be ill-placed and too late.
With data democratization, this critical delay in action can be avoided. Decision-makers can have business insights delivered as they happen, enabling an immediate response.
How you can leverage data democratization
Some of the technologies that support data democratization include:
- Data virtualization tools, which allow you to collect and manipulate data without prejudice. They eliminate inconsistencies in file formats and deliver the data sets into a database.
- Data federation tools, which take data from various sources and sort it into a central database.
- Cloud storage, which enables anytime/anywhere access for all stakeholders. The cloud also enables better data security measures, preventing unauthorized manipulation of the data.
- Business intelligence (BI) software, which is the key to sorting all the collected data into relevant data sets. BI tools distribute insight to relevant departments in the form of reports and graphs so that they can be interpreted quickly and put to good use.
The many benefits of data democratization
Data democratization essentially means that anyone who needs access to company data can have it at their fingertips: there are no gatekeepers, no silos to prevent access, and—most importantly—no delays in receiving this information.
The removal of these barriers supports a better understanding of business processes and faster decision-making, leading to more agile teams and a much-strengthened competitive posture over businesses that have not yet democratized their data.
In other words, data democratization is a way to transform your business and empower your employees with the actionable insights they need to take you to the top.
If you are a company in Arkansas and would like to learn more about data democratization and the tools you need to enable it, reach out to Business World today to set up a consultation.