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Understanding Beyond Data Democratization

Years ago, people wrote about the democratization of technology as a phenomenon that would change people’s lives. Sure enough, today we all have pocket-sized computers that enable us to do things that previously only consultants and technology experts could do. And that’s only on the personal front—the effects on business are incalculable. The prediction that democratization of technology would transform how we go about our lives, connect with others, and conduct commerce was realized and has paved the way for another asset to be democratized: Data.

2020 opened the data floodgates

The onset of the global pandemic in 2020 forced marketers to make progress sooner rather than later. There was a nearly instant shift to almost entirely digital marketing. Many operations moved online. Live events were canceled or replaced by virtual conferences. And many businesses pivoted the way they delivered services to accommodate the new normal.

Businesses realized that making it easier to work with them was no longer a luxury but a requirement if they wanted to stay in business.

Customers who previously couldn’t access some goods or services now had the ability within their grasp. The year 2020 truly was a breakthrough year for businesses of all sizes when it came to eliminating data “gatekeeping” as a means to boost innovation.

Is data democratization enough?

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I would dare to say that data has already been democratized. An enormous amount of data is generated every moment, and more of us have access to it. However, merely having access means nothing unless businesses know how to extract insights from it. In fact, the data can become overwhelming if not properly managed.

It’s not enough to democratize data—we also must democratize the analytical tools that help process that data and turn it into the insights needed to make sound business decisions, especially in a volatile environment like we are in today.

Within reach for small businesses

And this is where data democratization becomes most meaningful. It’s no secret that the year of the pandemic brought unprecedented hardships on small businesses.

While stimulus bills and government programs provided stopgap funding relief, the innovation that emerged from the crisis will continue to pay off.

Deriving actionable insights from data is no longer limited to large organizations with a team of data scientists and a Chief Data Officer.

In the data democratization journey, the barriers to data have come down. Workplace cultures are becoming more data literate and data-driven. The next crucial step is to democratize the ability to quickly turn that data into intelligence; ideally, to make those tools as ubiquitous as the smartphones in our pockets. When self-service analytics tools are widely available to even mom-and-pop shops, it’s a giant leap toward helping small businesses thrive— both now and when the next unknowns take the globe by surprise.

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