The enterprises of this world and most unicorns or high-growth businesses are all performing data sorcery with their information. Deep insights, fast pivots and crushing their competition are all done with relentless number crunching using the latest AI tools.
But none of those efforts would work if the data was highly-restricted or not accessible to the right people. With some 55% of data classified as dark or inaccessible, businesses have a liability on their hands, one that grows as reliance on operational data, data lakes and broadening cloud services expand.
Every established enterprise should be pushing to use its data better, but long-standing rules or legacy applications can make encouraging data democratization problematic. As part of the solution, data provisioning can support these efforts, but some definitions are required first.
What is data democratization?
Putting data in the right hands enables leaders, analysts and developers to grasp the next big insight that could boost a business. That might sound like something straight from the Gartner or Deloitte playbook of grand business theory, but it does work in reality.
One example saw Airbnb make great progress by creating its own data discovery and self-service tool. This enabled anyone to find information and use it to improve their own team’s performance or create new products that delivered wider business benefits.
While all businesses must meet pressing security and compliance needs when it comes to data, there’s also the need to set it free to operational understanding and to enable innovation. As part of that process, data provisioning can help.
What is data provisioning?
Among the many facets of digital transformation, data provisioning plays a part in the wider scheme of data empowerment. By freeing up data for analysis and innovations, firms report a 15% revenue boost by taking the smart road when it comes to digital strategies.
Data democratization involves collating data and enabling access to data from a source system to a target system without the interference of a data warehouse. There are four types of data provisioning:
- Real-time provisioning
- Near real time provisioning
- Data federation
- Local data import
Data stored in the warehouse can be released at various speeds, or “lent” to the user depending on the need to access the latest business records. Alternatively, local data import allows good old borrowing of CSV or other flat files for remote study.
Leveraging your data through provisioning
By provisioning data business-wide, authorized users that are correctly trained in how to use the data securely can investigate and analyze it. Data doesn’t have to reside within the business; many markets are making data accessible, such as the energy sector, to help firms reach net zero goals. At the same time, open source AI tools and datasets are available to help businesses avoid AI black boxes where opaque analytics or recommendations can cause damage.
When it comes to delivering on data democratization and provisioning, the tools are available to help enterprises dig the data out of the vaults and into the light where employees can exploit it.
Quest’s Data Preparation and Provisioning services make it simple for the business and users to prepare and access data and maintain reporting to ensure data is used correctly and the value of insights generated is established. These processes can halve the time it takes to do the job manually, with data profiling, querying and transformation to support cross-team collaboration, application development and other ways to extract value from that data.
The future of data democracy
Gartner named digital democracy one of its top 10 trends in 2020, highlighting the value of data where democratization “would enable developers to generate data models without having the skills of a data scientist.” They would instead “rely on AI-driven development to generate code and automate testing.”
After the interruption of COVID-19, businesses are now in a better place to use data democratization - something more firms are becoming aware of as they create many ad hoc data streams while coping with remote work and other issues.
As the digital business trend becomes more widespread, democratized data can play a leading part in the overall realignment or restructuring of a business, as firms audit their data, get rid of silos and look to make their resources more accessible.
Democratized data can provide invaluable insights to improve customer relations, drive deeper knowledge of sales and aftercare services and build better marketing strategies – all while helping business leaders decide on their upcoming product or market evolution plans.
Whatever the objective, being able to understand and access your enterprise’s entire data ecosystem creates opportunities that make the modest challenges they create well worth the investment.
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