As businesses continue their path towards data democratisation, they still grapple with speeding up the adoption of effective data tools and practices. In this post, Data and Analytics (D&A) leaders offer practical steps to more effectively engage with business users and steer their organisations into the next phase of their data-driven journey.

Data Leaders members can read the full post and connect with peers via the Data Leaders Hub.

Approach data democratisation as an ongoing journey, not a finite programme

Data democratisation is still in its infancy. CDOs acknowledge that they are held back not only by a lack of tools, but also a lack of data literacy within the organisation to be able to advance at pace. This educational gap needs addressing before data ownership by the whole business can be fully embraced.

Maintaining this perspective helps sidestep the mistake of trying to tackle everything at once. Instead, start by consolidating the most important data first and collaborate closely with internal partners who have clear use cases and are ready to work together.

Be intentional when categorising data and defining user access

When applying data governance to sensitive customer data, being explicit and intentional about data categories and user access can expedite progress. Prioritise  the most sensitive data first and ensure that only a select few within the organisation have access to it.

Ensure data ambassadors and champions fit the right profile 

Critical to the efficacy of hub and spoke operating model is the quality of data ambassadors and champions appointed to the regions and functions. Ambassadors, who are responsible for identifying champions in the region should have the right balance of local market, team, and product knowledge as well as data management best practices. They also need to be able to recruit the right profile of data champion. To ensure business continuity, appoint more than one ambassador.

Build a centre of excellence but not an ivory tower

Creating a Centre of Excellence (CoE) is a common approach to advance data sharing practices, yet perfecting its operational model can pose challenges. D&A leaders advocate:

  • Focusing the Centre of Excellence primarily on complex data tasks and enabling self-service solutions.
  • Rotating staff between the CoE and other business units to facilitate the transfer of skills and knowledge between the business and data teams, and promote a data-driven culture.

Roll out self-service capabilities to basic and advanced profiles first

Catering to users who are neither newcomers to nor experts in data and analytics can be challenging. When introducing self-service capabilities, begin with straightforward solutions for less experienced users while equipping advanced users with necessary tools.

For those less experienced, the tools should be user-friendly, spark curiosity and motivate them to explore more about data and its possibilities.

Introduce a central data team certification for self-service reports to ensure adherence to governance and advance data literacy among business users.

Take a step-by-step approach to community building

Building successful data communities is a case of trial and error. Experiment with different approaches and learn from both successes and failures. Involve  business users in the rollout of the data strategy and create feedback loops between owners, ambassadors and champions through which needs, ideas and issues can be captured and collaboratively addressed.

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