What is the democratisation of data and analytics?
In my previous blog post, I discussed the appeal of crowdsourcing analytics. However, crowdsourcing analytics is part of a larger trend, which is the democratisation of data and analytics. Arguably, the newest trend in the data economy, democratisation refers to the opening up of big data and analytical tools to all, instead of hiding them behind patents and high costs. You may have heard about data democratisation in relation to several industries because several tech companies are developing new technologies to take advantage of this new trend.
The benefits of democratisation
The democratisation of data and analytics occurs because it brings several benefits that are not found in conventional analytics systems. The world is becoming more data-rich with each passing year. By 2020, annual data generation will grow by 4300 per cent within the year alone, while Google stores over 10 exabytes of data (1 exabyte equals 1 billion gigabytes) in their warehouses.
The amount of data generated is growing each year and this data can close the gaps that organisations have in their own data collection. With these gaps closed, it will become easier to generate more useful findings. For example, healthcare organisations can handle ‘dirty’ and unstructured data with the democratisation of data and analytics.
There is so much data available online and most organisations cannot take advantage of the information – this happens because most data is stored in silos. However, if data and analytics become more democratised and the silos are broken down, then the data can generate much value for both nonprofit and for-profit organisations.
According to a study by IBM, executives spend over 70% of their time collecting data and just 30% of their time analysing it. This means there is a huge portion of data that is not analysed for valuable findings. This is where the democratisation of data and analytics come into play. With this trend, professionals across the board have access to data and can bring their expertise to the field to improve the rate of analysis. The breakdown of information silos leads to other benefits, like the creation of more agile and responsive teams as no professional is locked out from data and the organisation’s tools.
How to democratise data and analytics
Organisations should employ a multi-pronged strategy because it is not just about working with new technology, it is about changing attitudes towards data storage and analysis.
Maintain data quality with data profiling
As the volume of data grows, maintaining data quality becomes a huge concern that needs to be addressed. Organisations need to have systems and processes in place to balance scale with quality. One such method is data profiling.
Data profiling determines anomalies, redundancies and inconsistencies in data relationships, structures and content. Defining data quality is the first step in setting KPIs and business rules, which is crucial for setting goals and objectives down the line, after the democratisation of data and analytics.
Change data governance methods to integrate data
Data governance plays a huge role in the democratisation of data and analytics. Organisations have to maintain a balance between data security and open data sources. There is always a security concern when it comes to democratising data and analytics because sensitive data can go public. Hence, data governance rules should be adjusted to reflect this change. Data governance means two different aspects: Downstream data processes for usage and consumption of data and upstream data processes consisting of data storage, transformation and sourcing.
Develop a cross-functional business resource
Building a cross-functional business intelligence resource helps democratise data and analytics. The business intelligence resource should grant enterprise-wide access, so different departments within the organisation can access the information – this allows different departments to collaborate on the same project. Organisations must have a series of resource connectors, which allows employees to connect resources on all levels to increase collaboration and democratise data and analytics.
Why implement data and analytics?
With the volume of data and analytics growing with each passing year, organisations have more to gain from the democratisation of data and analytics. Opening up data and data analysis allows organisations to close gaps in their data collection and even expand their findings by having professionals on all levels of access data. The democratisation of data and analytics is one of the biggest trends that will transform an organisation’s operation in the years to come.