Published June 28, 2022, By Andrew Gissal
You are sitting on a goldmine of information. The problem is that your data is not available nor does it communicate together effectively. In order to access this goldmine and make informed decisions you need to “de-silo” all of your data and combine it into one accessible place for all your systems to cohabitate, this includes information in databases, spreadsheets, legacy softwares, and live machine connectivity.
When it comes to seamless and informed decision-making, the data of your business is, simply put – the mechanism that can guide your employees to reach better solutions more efficiently. The key connector to get you from point A to point B however, is data democratization.
Forbes defines data democratization as the following – “Data democratization means that everybody has access to data and there are no gatekeepers that create a bottleneck at the gateway to the data.”
Data democratization yields expansive opportunities for all organizations who use data to some degree. With it in place, essentially anyone in the business has ability, access, and visibility to data for making decisions and conducting the every day business of their roles. This idea of anyone having access, however, still comes with some limitations of ensuring critical data isn’t being missed by the right person at the right time. Full accessibility breaks down the data silos that would otherwise be barriers for finding solutions, developing strategies, or seeking new innovations; but it must be thoughtfully implemented into the organization or it becomes a dissipated initiative.
From employing data governance for maintaining the quality and accuracy of the data itself, to creating foundational data management practices that organize by departments, functions, and other consequential layers for appropriate use; these steps help set a baseline for data democratization to be most effective without making data a complete free-for-all.
Now that we understand data democratization can be seen as both structured but open, we can uncover the value that comes with it. Here are some top benefits:
Above all else, you want your team members to be fully equipped to lead proactively and autonomously. Data democratization opens the door for new skill developments by allowing individuals across all operational levels to seek out the data they need to make more informed decisions. It empowers them to leverage the quantitative measures that define the business so they can conduct tasks with greater confidence because they have key insights at hand.
With improved responsibility comes a more resounding culture as a whole. As a result, mundane meetings are soon replaced by focused discussions, information fog is replaced by clear direction, and hierarchical challenges are replaced by full-team collaboration. The more eyes you can have on unique sets of data, the greater competitive advantage you have with the ever-changing market as well as with your internal pace of growth and evolution. Processes can be much more fine-tuned when data access is unrestricted because you know everyone can be brought up to speed, be held accountable, and nothing falls through the gaps.
This leads right into our next value point for data democratization or de-siloing your data. When all your sources are brought together in this streamlined way, not only does your data work in a more seamless fashion, your business will too.
No longer will you have to spend hours combing through piles of reports, endless spreadsheets, and countless disheveled databases to find the data points you need to make that one decision for moving something forward, only to come up empty handed. No longer will you be relying on systems that seem reliable but are actually running off inaccurate or incomplete data, not giving you the whole picture for an objective analysis.
Eliminating silos in your data leads to a smooth transition towards a cohesive, all-in-one system that everyone can rely on. This will help mitigate confusion that comes with measuring success when employees of all levels and functions can align on the metrics that should be universal to the business. Goals will be better targeted to ensure everyone is working towards the same ‘end purpose’ – whether that be a distinct industry customer service standard, quality assurance, or your overarching mission and operational efficiency.
This end purpose that drives the work of your business and the productivity of your employees should always remain at the forefront for your data democratization initiative, never in the rearview mirror. If you allow too much time to pass without a consistent upkeep of making sure your strategies, budgets, reports, meetings, and daily tasks are parallel to your driving goal, then your data is only worth face value.
Change is inevitable and necessary, it is the only constant in today’s world. For the sake of staying on top of industry trends, understanding your customers/clients, and keeping an up-to-date pulse of internal standings, every business should lean into change. With adaptability comes scalability because you are able to gradually train your organization into being prepared regardless of the circumstance. It becomes easier to recognize those moments of pivot and the tools you need to overcome such shifts. When data is at the hands of everyone, it becomes less daunting when these challenges arise knowing the information is consistent and reliable insights can be pulled without having to search high and low for the answers.
Change and data democratization also means innovation – it sparks new ideas that don’t require you to reinvent the wheel but provides opportunities for different perspectives to weigh in. Data is no longer withheld by the barriers of being accessible only to certain people or within certain systems. It can now be cross-referenced and correlated with all other existing databases and softwares to improve new ways of thinking.
From there, teams can take their data democratization one step further by utilizing solutions like data visualization and scorecards to have their data speak to them, showing them what is going right and where there are areas to improve through the help of innovative idea generation.
No More Data Silos
Data democratization requires high-level thinkers as well as active and engaged doers, who will work together to see the value behind all individuals having access to the organization’s data. Entrust in your employees and what they can do when integration and accessibility are available. It’s time to see what decisions can be made when those decisions are understood by everyone.
To learn more about connecting your data and implementing real action through an EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) management system, read our Essential Guide to Business Intelligence (BI) Reporting here.