Data Democratization : Pros and Cons Analysis
Hello to all data nerds out here!
In this post, I am going to discuss about the most debated term,”Data Democratization”, and analyse the pros and cons that come along with it.
First of all, we must understand what democratizing data actually means. In very simple terms, it suggests that digital data and information must be accessible across all levels up to an average end user rather than making it available only to authorized personnel and leaders in an organization.Though by the definition of it, it sounds really lucrative for people to be able to access data and analyse them for their own purposes, it has some real disadvantages that are come attached with it.
Let’s take a fair look on the both sides of the coin to gain clear understanding.
Here are the advantages of data democratization:
1. Empowerment at all levels :
As of the tradition, data is only authorized to be accessed by a particular group of people such as the IT department or the business analysts, managers who making important decisions based on analysis of data. But when there is unrestricted data access to everyone in the organization, it creates a leveling field for employees to work on and gives the confidence for them to build concrete solutions and decisions by analyzing important data.
2. More the people,the Merrier :
When a team is comprised of only people from a certain area of business and technical expertise, there are more chances that the interpretation of data may be skewed. Particularly in a data analytics project where there are multiple facets to unraveling insights from data, it is all the more essential to have experts from various fields to work together to get an all around understanding of data. This helps us ensure that the analysis is free from any kind of bias.
On the other side, we also have to be cautious of some of the risks that are involved here.
1. Data Security:
Data being the new “oil” in the digital world that we live in, it is more than important for us to make sure that the essential and valuable information is not being mishandled. Whatever the kind of data it may be, ranging from company’s confidential revenue information to customer database, it is our responsibility to ensure that democratization happens within the framework of legal and privacy policies of the organization.Any kind of malpractice gives rise to trust issues thereby leading to all the more restricted access to data.
2. Misrepresentation of data:
The other issue with given open access to information is that it could lead to misrepresentation or misinterpretation of the available data,particularly when non-experienced people on data analysis work on the project. Since there is no one right conclusion to a particular data analysis, false representations or interpretations can lead to huge losses for the company in the future.Hence, it is really important to ensure that employees are trained with minimum skill of data handling and their tools so that fruitful benefits can be obtained through data democracy.
3. Cost of democratizing data:
As attractive as it sounds, the cost of making data available across the various levels of an organization is going to cost huge sums of money to the company. From framing a legal set up to installing sufficient software tools and ensuring people have access to right content in the right amount, takes in considerable amount of resources of the organization.
At last, we have had an overview of “open and free” access to data and also its pros and cons. In my opinion,the concept of data democracy is encouraging at various levels but its implementation has be to supported by are right framework of policies/guidelines to ensure fair use of data.
By: Krithika Shankar