Getting an entire organization on the same page when it comes to data is no simple task. But if your business isn’t singing from the same hymn sheet, then setting and meeting business goals that are based on data can become a chaotic affair.
If you want to get everyone on board with a data-driven strategy, your employees need at least a basic understanding of how they can use data to support their role, no matter their location or skill level. And perhaps even more importantly, it has to be data taken from the same single source of truth that everyone is working with.
Read on or watch our video to find out what data democratization means, and how it can benefit businesses.
What is data democratization?
Data democratization is a system that allows all employees, including non-specialists with lower data literacy levels, to access and gather accurate data about the business from a single source of truth on their own without any outside help.
In short, it means getting the right data to the right people at the right time.
Why should data democratization matter to marketers?
Data democratization is fundamental in a data-driven culture. A business cannot be data-driven if data is not freely and easily available. But what are the concrete benefits that democratization can bring to a business?
1. It lets you make data-driven decisions faster, and more independently
By building a data architecture that allows employees to self-serve and gather data insights on their own terms, data democratization solves the problem of having IT and data specialists involved in the gathering and analysis of data.
Teams outside of IT can avoid bottlenecks by finding data insights without depending on a middleman, and at the same time, employees in the IT or analytics roles can focus on more value-adding pursuits.
2. You can quickly and accurately aggregate and compare data across your organization
Giving employees direct access to processed, harmonized, transformed data in an easy-to-understand format means that employees don’t spend their time pulling and formatting data.
Besides being time-consuming, this kind of reporting often leads to differently formatted KPIs which can’t be directly compared across the business.
By putting sound data governance practices in place, businesses can have access to secure, accurate, timely data open to all. Creating a secure single source of truth allows teams to ensure that KPIs translate across the business and that each team is looking at the same metrics in the same format. In other words, it lets teams speak in a common language of data. This will enable trust from both the data business and the end users that decisions will be made based on credible foundations.
3. It helps you make better decisions and prove the value of your department
Good data democratization gives users a much clearer view of opportunities and risks for campaign optimization, but it also lets teams keep track of their successes and failures - and prove their value to the rest of the business.
We already know that data can help organizations to make better decisions that boost revenue. In fact, among 300 CMOs at SMBs we surveyed in our recent research paper, a staggering 85% agree that being able to make data-driven decisions is a critical competitive advantage. But it can only do this sustainably when employees have access to accurate data, and enough data skills to recognize and act on data insights.
Poor data democratization means inefficient manual processes that make people slower to act on data insights, if at all. This equates to wasted time and money and makes it much harder to see how effective marketing activities are, and whether data insights are having a positive impact. In the worst case scenarios, people might be working with inaccurate data that’s doing more harm than good, budget is being wasted on inefficient targeting strategies, and the wrong content is being created.
4. It lets you control who has access to what
Data governance is a huge benefit for those democratizing data properly. By building proper data governance practices into the architecture of how people access data, companies can gain much more control over who has access to what. DataOps teams can manage and automate some of these permissions, making it much easier to scale securely. For example, if a person leaves the business you can programmatically remove them using SSO technology.
For smaller companies where there is no data democratization, too much reliance is placed on individuals, which represents risk. Easy-to-use technical software can empower everyone in the organization, but there have to be clear and easy ways to manage user-access rights and permissions, and agreed-upon consensus from the organization.
For too long, organizations have either been overly reliant on technical specialists to provide access to data insights or have relied on employees to spend their time pulling disorganized reports with metrics formatted in any number of ways.
By democratizing data, you can empower employees to make data-driven decisions, while keeping your company’s data secure by controlling who has access to what.