Data democratization is here to empower decision makers, fuel their creativity, and ultimately move the business. With all of the great end-user, self-service technologies available today, such as Tableau, MicroStrategies, and even PowerBI, why are we still writing reports through a centralized business intelligence team? Well, many companies are not – they are leading with data.
Democratization is complex word to describe the simple concept of making something available to all people. Within business and technology, democratization has become part of mainstream vernacular over the recent years. It’s hard to read an industry publication or listen to a TED Talk and not hear how a new company or product is democratizing their industry. From social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, to application platforms like Apple’s App Store, to web dev services like Squarespace, where this blog is hosted, technology innovations have enabled the masses to reach millions of people or monetize on their creations with ease.
I think we can all agree that democratization has led to tremendous advancements in the world and can be credited with countless innovations. But what about in corporate America? Why is corporate America still holding hostage its data from business users and siphoning business creativity through only a select few? Why has corporate America still not embraced a democratized data analysis paradigm?
I’ve been working in business intelligence field for over 15 years, working with companies to integrate software applications, build modern data warehouses, and implement reporting and analytics solutions for organizations of all sizes across nearly every industry. Organizations invest great amounts of time and money in technologies that collect data (CRM/ERP/HRIS/etc.) across their organization but do very little to push that data back to the individuals who can make decisions with it. Though most people in the organization are involved in the collection of this data, only a select handful of data scientists or business intelligence engineers can access it directly.
Just imagine how this would work with Facebook: we all post our pictures, relationship statuses, reactions and comments, only to have that filtered through a select few social scientists at Facebook who share what they deem to be important on our behalf? Or, what if all the software on your phone or computer was still created exclusively by Microsoft and Apple, and not a wide range of independent developers? Democratization in other industries has led to new opportunities and inventions; it’s time for corporate America to catch up.
Nancy Duarte once said, “The future isn’t just a place you’ll go. It’s a place you will invent.” Lead with data and invent your future.
Paul Ausserer is the President and COO of Marquis Data.