Democratization of Data

What’s Democratization of Data?

Data democratization is the ability for information in a digital format to be accessible to the average end user. The goal of data democratization is to allow non-specialists to be able to gather and analyze data without requiring outside help.

Digital Age

As we’ve entered the Digital Age, data has emerged as the new purple of modern business. Companies have never had as much data as they do now. It has become the lifeblood of many digital businesses-creating new opportunities, driving higher profits, and fueling lofty valuations. As more organizations seek to decentralize decision-making and increase responsiveness, they are seeking to empower more workers by putting meaningful data at their fingertips-essentially democratize the data. A plethora of analytics and data visualization tools has opened up new possibilities for sharing data across a business, but it has also introduced its own set of challenges for business owners and analytics teams.

Remember data driven is different than report-driven.

If you’re responsible for managing business data, you may be initially excited about the prospect of sharing data more widely within your organization. However, you soon succumb to the fear of how people will use and interpret the data. You don’t want to see people making flawed interpretations and bad decisions based on the data. This fear typically leads analytics teams to clamp down who can access the data and how much individuals can see. As a result, more business questions end up funneling through the analytics team for answers. Unfortunately, analytics teams often can’t scale sufficiently to handle the increasing volume of data-related questions coming from internal users.

As these business users grow frustrated that they can’t get answers when they need them, they may give up waiting and revert to flying blind without data. Alternatively, they may go rogue and introduce their own analytics tool to get the data they require, which can create a conflicting source of truth. In either scenario, our new purple (data) loses its potency.

Why should there be data democratization?

Proponents of data democratization believe it’s imperative to distribute information across all working teams to gain a competitive advantage. The more people with diverse expertise who have the ability to access the data easily and quickly will enable your organization to identify and take action on critical business insights. There are many professionals who believe data democratization is a game changer. When you allow data access to any tier of your company, it empowers individuals at all levels of ownership and responsibility to use the data in their decision making.

Democratization of Data at iCare Benefits

In my last post I introduced two of our important products at iCare Benefits; following figure shows the total picture of all products being managed under engineering portfolio:

These products are coming from following industries in our iCare Benefits ecosystem:

  • e-Commerce with 3 revenue streams: self-service (app), telemarketing (internal portal) and field sales (internal app)
  • Logistic (internal app and NetSuite)
  • All backend systems NetSuite ERP and CRM
  • Microfinance
  • HR Portals and B2B Portal
  • Bank Integrations

Can you imagine how much data is flowing around? It’s a big challenge for us, how do we democratize our data so every colleague of us can use data properly in order to define experiments and monitor the result (data-driven vs report-driven). Together with our great engineerings in specific Jackie Khuu we built a new system called iCare Bots (FYI we use Workplace as internal communication tool).

iCare Bots have 3 main functionalities for us which are:

  • Access to our data from all above products (we call it SLA)
  • Monitor our Field Sales on Google Map
  • RFM ( I won’t share much about it in this post)

Following figure shows anatomy of an SLA which is measuring revenue in last 24 hours and bucket it per channel. As you can see it’s very easy to used by almost anyone. Hence our data is democratized.

You can see the result of this SLA in following figure:

Finally following figure shows our field sales distribution and their traveling areas:

It’s very easy to be used by almost anyone. Hence our data is democratized.

Originally published at on August 31, 2017.



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Chris Shayan

Chris Shayan

Scaling Up, Growth and Digital Transformation guy.