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Data democratization: How a data-driven culture is key to organizational success

Jordyn Tetler

This past spring, the global economy shut down overnight. The pandemic struck the world, forcing businesses to close their doors and schools and offices to work remotely. This accelerated any digital transformation efforts to accommodate new operations and maintain a positive customer experience from a distance.

In the whirlwind of a shifting economy, businesses had to respond quickly to rapid transformation—and it starts with data. High-quality data is required for fulfillment, marketing, operations, customer understanding, and critical decision-making. However, for that to take place, organizations need to move data out of its traditional IT role and into the hands of users across the business.

This new trend is called data democratization. Many businesses were already working on this concept, but it becomes more pressing in the current environment.

Experian recently conducted a new study entitled ‘Data democratization: How a data-driven culture is key to organizational success’. The study finds that given the new importance placed on data, building a data-driven culture and workforce are more important than ever before. Organizations need to help share data insights with more people across the business, while also ensuring they are taking an agile approach to data management initiatives and are educating staff on how to read, understand, and argue with data.

1. Data democratization is key with a large number of employees working remotely.

Our study defined data democratization as the process of making data and insights accessible to a wider range of roles across the business. In fact, 57 percent of business leaders we surveyed were already underway with data democratization. 

It is important to get data insight into a wider range of people across the business. Nine out of ten businesses say data democratization is more important than even when large numbers of employees are working remotely, and another 87 percent say data insight is essential to managing the customer experience and operational efficiency in the digital environment.

It is easy to see that wider usage of quality data insight allows businesses to operate more effectively, especially considering the rapidly changing landscape. Our study finds that when data democratization is underway, business leaders see better and faster decision-making, better customer experience, improved operational efficiency, and way more.

However, it is important to remember that many businesses want to achieve a data-driven culture, but few have succeeded. Companies are challenged by a lack of trusted data, a lack of end-user expertise in using data insights, and a lack of data access.

2. DataOps helps bring agility during rapidly changing times.

With the majority of people still at home, businesses need speed and agility around their data practices to effectively shift their strategies. Enter: DataOps.

DataOps was defined in this study as the automation and monitoring at all steps of data pipeline construction, from data integration, testing, releasing to deployment and infrastructure management. DataOps aims at shorter development cycles, increased deployment frequency, and more dependable releases of data pipelines, in close alignment with business objectives.

With DataOps being such a new concept, there is a slight delay in recognizing the benefits. While many businesses have brought these practices to product development, many are not working with the same agility in their data management practices. DataOps can help organizations become more agile, accurate, and innovative.

3. Data literacy builds employee data confidence.

Once team members across the business have quick access to accurate data, it’s important to train staff on data since many do not even realize that they are leveraging data in their regular activities. Teaching data skills will empower employees with the knowledge and confidence to leverage those insights, which plays a huge role when shifting to a data-driven culture.

Data literacy was defined as the ability to read, write, and argue with data. When a workforce operationalizes data literacy across the business, 89 percent say it will help organizations leverage higher quality data and more quickly see ROI from data initiatives.

Half of the businesses we surveyed have a data literacy program in place today. Stronger data skills impact decision-making, operational efficiency, employee data confidence, and even compliance with regulations. These benefits are being recognized by those who have data democratization underway.

With a way to get users access to data and better data skills across the company, the shift to a data-driven culture is achievable. Businesses need to ensure their people are trained, that they have access to the right information they need to effectively perform their job, while also ensuring that information is properly governed and of the highest quality.

A business founded on trustworthy data can empower staff and inspire effective decision-making in the most difficult of circumstances.

Read the full report and learn how to get started with data democratization. 

Get the report now