How to Encounter the Negative Side Effects of Data Democratization?

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Click to learn more about author Daisy Ridley.

In recent years, data democratization has spread very quickly across the enterprise. It has brought with it, the slogans from end users all over for an expansion in access to the self-service capabilities. The companies are now evolving to understand that offering line-of-business users with access to data they desire cause great benefits. However, the access to cross-enterprise data is not the only aspect to this. The end-users require Self-Service Analytics tools to deliver insights that will impact the bottom line. The end users can use these tools on an ad-hoc basis so they answer major questions on the fly.

There are many advantages of democratizing data across the enterprise. But, as a result of this, we can also have few negative side effects. For example, if all the users have access to extremely important business data, the businesses run the risk of damaging their vital data stores. This can occur in the form of poor Data Quality, disorganization, and even data loss (worst case scenario). An evolving threat to data security also remains, as is observable by the number of government organizations and large retailers who have been compromised this year. Thanks to Data Governance (the process by which data assets are handled across the enterprise), these risks are being mitigated across the enterprise.

The IT department used to play the Data Steward role in the past, overseeing an organization’s complete data pipeline, starting from collection to migration and to BI. But, with the much wider adoption of self-service data democratization becoming apparent, the traditional role of IT is in flux. With large and small organizations now taking action to establish stringent Data Management, the Data Governance protocols have now surfaced as the new guardian of significant data. With user autonomy becoming the new normal, the organizations must make sure that their highly significant resource, Big Data, follows industry regulation and remains in the right hands.

Companies that reside in public sector, finance or healthcare verticals are being regulated more than ever due to widespread data access. Hence, the planning and implementation of Data Governance must be taken with much more than a grain of salt. Big enterprises have more to lose than what they lost when IT was running the show, even though the ad-hoc capabilities are offering help to them in answering questions that demand immediate attention with more accuracy than ever. In the same breath, the auditing and compliance controls must be taken with greater responsibility, and data access and rule-based security controls must be positioned in certain circumstances.

Putting analytics and data tools in the trusted line-of-business users’ hands has proven that the IT-led Data Management era is long gone, but without powerful Data Governance in place, the data chaos threat is very real. In a world where anonymity and privacy are treasured commodities, the businesses cannot lose their customers’ trust over non-existent or lax data governing.

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