Brief Introduction, Definition, Pros & Cons, Conclusion
Intoday’s world, every business is bombarded with data from each and every angle possible. There always remains a constant pressure to use various insights we garner from the data to improvise on our business performance. Hence, the incredible amount of the usage of the processed data has surged the desire and demand for data-democratization. So, if you are wondering that the above mentioned term is totally new to you, let’s dive deep into it.
Diagnosis of the term ‘Data Democratization’
Before grabbing some knowledge on data democratization, we need to understand what does democratization mean. We can define it as the introduction of a democratic system or democratic principles; on breaking down the term further we can elucidate it as the action of making something accessible to everyone.
And as aptly named, data democratization is the process of making data accessible to everyone, which implies that there are no gatekeepers that create a bottleneck at the gateway to the data. It provides an ease to the people for a better understanding of the data to expedite the decision-making and uncover brilliant opportunities for an organization. The ultimate mission is to have anybody use the data anytime, as and when required, to make a major impact in decision-making with no barricade or roadblocks.
Oflate, data was “retained” by the IT departments. Various business units such as marketing, sales, executives are always in need to data in order to make important business decisions. Needless to say that they always had to go through their respective IT departments to access the required data. This is the way it has been for a long time, few decades may be, and there are people out there who still believe that this is the way it should be.
Pros: Need for Data Democratization
Should we be Liberal regarding data-sharing?
Advocates of data democratization are in the belief that it should be obligatory to disperse information on all the working teams so as to gain a competitive edge. The more people with diverse expertise having the access to data, the more organization will benefit by identifying and taking actions on important and critical business insights. It is believed by many high and esteemed professionals that data democratization can be a game-changer to many organizations. When the data gets spread out all over across the organization, it empowers each and every level of the individual to use the data and participate for the contribution in decision-making.
Cons: Apprehension about Data Democratization
Or should we be Conservative regarding data-sharing?
Yet many organizational individuals are still perplexed as to sharing the data to the non-technical employees could result in misinterpretation of the data which might result in making some bad business decisions. Additionally, the more users having access to data, the bigger is the data-security risk and thus resulting in more challenges to maintain the data integrity.
Talking about the data, some data still exists in silos/warehouse/archive-mode; although several attempts have been made in recent years and the attempts are still in progress, but the reality cannot be denied that people from different departments are still finding it difficult to access the data and view it.
There is another concern which cannot be denied — a duplication of efforts across different teams which could lead to more cost and wastage of time and effort when compared to a centralized analysis group.
Be Conservative or Liberal — What Should be the approach?
For the sake of argument, it might be concluded that it is easy to preach one approach over the other, but the reality states that extremely conservative or liberal views rarely fit into the context of data democratization. The business leaders should carefully weigh the pros and cons of data democratization in determining which kind of approach benefits their organization the most.
The business leaders should decide upon how much liberal or conservative they should be regarding their organization — ultimately, it all comes down to their business or organizational success. But, they can always spread out the metadata (and retaining the raw data) within the organization individuals to gain meaningful and impactful insights and can retain the sensitive data within themselves.
For example, if we speak about a particular health-care center which deals with diabetic patients, it is not permissible to share the personal details of the patients (and thereby acting as intruders to their privacy), but analysis can always be done the generic data and thus finding out the age group or the sex-ratio are being trapped under diabetics.
Iagree that sometimes the perception shared by the non-technical people or the people who are not data-literate might be misleading, but attempts can surely be made to add an extra layer of scrutiny on top of that, to avoid any kind of mistakes and ensure the organizational growth — that’s what the business leaders are there for.
By: Piu Mallick