Democratization in business means more transparency and fluidity in the workplace. Formerly defined roles of the subordinate and the executive are becoming more fuzzy and malleable especially in the age of millennials. And in no area of business are these changes more apparent than in the area of data and content – our Digital Information and Assets. Data democratization in the digital age is an interesting and important anomaly that should be embraced rather than combated against.
In the new digital age of business, everything that was traditionally known and done in the business world has been called into question. Back in the days before the digital age, the hierarchy within a business was very pronounced with clear levels and discernment regarding what each participant in a business could do and have access to. The digital age has turned this former monarchical hierarchy on its head leading to an age of data democratization in the business world.
More Data and Content Than We Could Have Imagined
Once upon a time, the data that a business collected was limited and had to be carefully mined, sought out, and processed and managed. Only a select few people had access to that data including the uppermost executives and the analysts who processed and gathered the data. The rest of the employees in a company were kept largely out of the loop. However, with the rise of computers and the digital age, businesses are faced with an entirely new working environments. Today, businesses have access to more data than they could have even imagined in the past. The vast amount of information available at any given time is quite simply mind-boggling and demands data democratization.
Because so much information is so readily available, there is also more of a need to include staff members outside of the select few elite that would have previously been allowed to access the information before. Transparency and democratization has become more important in the business world than ever before, and many “old-school” executives may have a hard time with this concept.
However, it is vital to understand the importance of data democratization for the digital enterprise so that organizations can learn to embrace this change rather than fight against it. There is a notion that if more of a company’s staff and employees have access to the vast amount of data available, they will not know how to properly interpret or use the data in the context of their job function within the company.
Greater Access to Digital Information is an Advantage
Fears that employees may misinterpret the data or apply it incorrectly can lead businesses to try to limit or control access to a select few. This decision, while understandable, will only lead to frustrations within the organization as people who need access to information may not be able to get it and is against the principles of data democratization. What an organization can do is provide employees with gradually building levels of access to the data based on their needs and levels of training and competencies in the interpretation of data. Implementing brief training programs and providing easy-use analytics tools to sift through and filter the digital data available will help staff to be able to do their jobs more effectively and feel as if they have fair access to business information within the firm.
The democratization of data in the digital age is something that should not be feared and should not be cause for counter-measures. Instead, it should be embraced as a part of the inevitable changes that the digital age has brought about in the business world. The key is to ensure that the organization has eliminated legacy data silos, provided user focused and flexible access to data and content and developed a well-trained staff that is capable of using the available data to your business’s advantage.
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