Speed and agility are vital in today’s dynamic economy. But moving fast in the dark is dangerous. Decision makers need the insights and guidance they can only get from reliable data. But despite massive efforts from their internal BI teams, getting that data when and how they need it has been problematic.
We’ve all heard of the data breadline – employees waiting for their company’s overworked analyst team to serve them the data analytics they need to do their jobs. Sometimes the data is late. Sometimes it’s incomplete. But when you’ve been waiting in the breadline, you take what you can get. Unless you take matters into your own hands and create your own database. But competing, conflicting databases popping up like mushrooms after it rains just makes things worse.
No company should have to choose between slow, inefficient data distribution and a proliferation of unreliable rogue databases across the organization.
Fortunately, companies have another choice. The data breadlines and shadow databases of the past are disappearing as we enter a new age of data democracy. Data democracy means that employees can get the actionable data they need when they need it – which is usually right now! That translates to quicker, data-driven decision making that keeps companies ahead of the competitive curve.
Top three drivers for data democracy
Over the last few years, three factors have come together to make data democracy viable and vital. The first is the sheer volume of data. Three years ago, The Economist declared that data had surpassed oil as the world’s most valuable resource; over the last decade, the amount of data generated jumped from 1.2 trillion gigabytes to about 40 trillion gigabytes.
The second factor is a seismic shift in commercial environments. Breakthroughs in ecommerce and digital media have fundamentally changed the way companies in retail, media and entertainment, and other industries go to market, and success depends more than ever on quickly turning quality data into action.
And finally, we have the technology that makes data democratization possible. Innovators like ThoughtSpot have advanced self-service BI applications that make it easier for non-technical users to get and interpret data. And developments in cloud technology are breaking down old data warehousing silos.
To maximize the value of their ever-increasing volumes of data – to fully transition from accepting whatever the breadline is handing out to creating an a la carte masterpiece that drives growth in today’s dynamic environment – companies need to assemble the right combination of technology tools paired with the expertise to get them working together seamlessly and efficiently.
The full stack solution
Building a data-centric, data-democratic company culture requires a full stack approach: a full tech stack of products overseen by a single team responsible for the entirety of data flow. With solutions like ThoughtSpot in the mix, companies have more options than ever to build analytics systems around data-driven business strategies, leveraging the best data collection tools, data warehousing, and analytics platforms available.
As your own business explores all the promise and opportunities of the new world of data democracy, there are a few principles to keep in mind.
- All companies are data companies. Everyone works with data. The best way to empower analysts, data engineering teams, and executives to succeed at scale is to give them modern tools that are agile and intuitive..
- Share data, don’t silo it. You need to work with your data holistically. Gather all of your data in one place and share it with decision makers throughout your organization.
- Create a reliable source of truth. Stop having discussions about the reliability of your data and start having discussions about the insights revealed within the data. That means creating a standardized and centralized source of truth for metrics and business definitions.
- Reduce time to insight. Modern applications let you create analytics that inform strategic thinking. Take full advantage of the opportunities they offer to initiate and analyze new strategies and quickly react to changing business and market dynamics.
Modernizing a business to readily access and understand its data is no small task. Data democratization is creating opportunities to unlock the power of analytics at scale. That’s a crucial competitive advantage no company can afford to pass up.