Successful businesses leverage data to create competitive advantage, inform decisions, optimize processes, and build customer satisfaction. But data-driven business cultures do not happen by chance. Data-driven cultures require both data democratization and data literacy.

Data democratization involves the process of making data available to everyone in the organization, regardless of technical skills or roles. Data literacy, on the other hand, refers to the ability of those employees to understand, communicate, and use data effectively.

Potential Roadblocks to Building Data-driven Business Cultures

Despite having more data available than ever before, uncovering data value can prove difficult. For instance, because of data silos, users often have access to partial data while missing key pieces of information. And data gatekeepers may create bottlenecks by restricting access.

At the same time, organizations need to balance data access with data security and privacy. Various laws and regulations mandate restrictions on who can access sensitive data and how they share it. To achieve regulatory compliance, businesses must be able to classify and track sensitive data wherever it moves.

Additionally, companies should create and enforce clear policies governing data collection and validation, as well as data lifecycle. Lacking such policies, decision makers may make critical decisions based on incomplete, outdated, or faulty information.

Finally, the users themselves need to know how to find data, how to evaluate data relevance and quality, and how to communicate with data. Without proper education, they can easily misinterpret or misuse data, resulting in costly mistakes.

Holistic Approach to Data Empowers Users

Overcoming these obstacles requires a multi-dimensional approach, beginning with a solid information governance strategy. Information governance involves locating and classifying data across the organization. It also includes managing access to information, controlling data lifecycles, and ensuring data security and privacy.

Next, establish a company-wide data literacy program to ensure that all data users have basic data skills. Desirable skills can include knowing where data lives, as well as understanding how to determine the relevance and quality of data presented. Users should also know how to work with Excel and other common tools to perform data analysis and create data visualizations.

Finally, users throughout the organization need to be able to access and use data on their own, without relying on IT or data teams. Enabling data self-service involves implementing appropriate tools and platforms to empower users to perform their own data tasks. Tools like Microsoft Power BI make it easy for users to analyze, share, and visualize business data.

Data Democratization and Data Literacy Deliver Key Advantages

Making data access and data literacy a business priority unlocks several important benefits, such as:

  • Greater innovation and growth – When users have access to quality data, they gain important insights and perspectives they might otherwise miss. Further, creativity blossoms when employees know how to ask compelling questions, test hypotheses, and generate solutions using data.

  • Increased transparency and accountability – By giving everyone in the organization access to the same data, companies promote open discussions about business strategy and performance. This fosters trust and collaboration.
  • Enhanced productivity and efficiency – Self-service data tools help users to quickly find, analyze, and present data. This saves time and resources while improving responsiveness and agility.

Information Governance Best Practices Pave the Way

Gaining control of business data and empowering employees to use it effectively happens one step at a time. Build a solid foundation for success with an effective information governance program. The data consultants at Messaging Architects can help. From data management to security, information access controls, and eDiscovery, we have the tools you need.

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