Democratizing data is a transformative idea for enterprises, but is it realistic to achieve in the centralized data architecture that currently exists? With a few fundamental shifts in how you manage data, the answer is YES. Here are seven building blocks that will help you deliver on the promise of true data democratization.

#1 Shape-shift how you manage data

Treating data as a product transforms how we interact with it and sets the stage for democratizing data. Think about the products we search for, access and purchase in our personal lives. No matter how big or small, the product supplier delivers something of value that matches our needs—a simple idea, but a huge payoff for both sides. In the enterprise, any data asset can be curated from a data lake, warehouse, or other source and converted to data products with names, descriptions, visualizations, terms of use and even a price if relevant.

#2 Empower self-service

Democratizing data is about everyone accessing information — no data science degree or experience required. The data should be easy to find, understand and use. Just like any digital shopping experience, when data is converted to data products, they can be displayed in an intuitive storefront. “Customers” can search, preview and do preliminary filtering and analysis of any data product to ensure it meets their requirements—without queues, support requests or middlemen.

#3 De-centralize data ownership 

The conventional paradigm for enterprise data management relies on centralizing data and its control with a single team. While this model makes data easy to govern, it makes it difficult and inefficient to use. To accelerate outcomes from data, leading companies are establishing data domains with discrete data product managers. This model eliminates the middleman (often corporate IT and data teams), red tape and delays that have stood between the data supplier and the data consumer.

#4 Facilitate collaboration

Bringing together data domain experts, who hold and understand key business data, and data consumers, the business stakeholders seeking new insights, creates a powerful force that can build trust, partnership and confidence in the information that is being exchanged. Data product managers see the value and purpose of their work to their consumers, and those consumers can understand the data context, construct and lineage and are able to apply that to their use case.

#5 Share the output of data and analytics efforts

Once collaboration is in high gear, you begin to see benefits not just for one project but in the ability to scale the output of those efforts as new, blended or refined data products that bring value across the organization. This creates cycles of value creation that accelerate business outcomes from data.

#6 Automate, automate, automate

Expanded data access doesn’t come without the back-end work to support that lofty goal. Data operations should be streamlined and automated for maximum efficiency. That means automating the processes to create, publish and customize data, as well as automated pipelines to deliver and refresh data for its users.

#7 Balance access and control

An essential part of data democratization is openness, but there also needs to be governance and policies to ensure data security and compliance inside and outside the organization. There should be multiple layers of access control, so collaborators have confidence not just in the data itself, but who it is shared with, the purpose of the data and its terms of use.

Democratizing Data for All Is Possible

Data democratization can be a powerful force to unlock value inside your enterprise, but it can’t happen without crucial building blocks to support it. From curating data assets as data products to increasing collaboration, expanding access to data drives more meaningful insights, improves decision making and accelerates data-driven business models.

Enterprise Data Exchange

Find out more about how an enterprise data exchange can help your organization to democratize data.