CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Souma Das, Managing Director – India Sub-continent at Alteryx
- What sets data governance and data democratization apart?
Data and analytics governance is the process of establishing rules and regulations, often called “policies”, for the use of data and analytics across an organization. Setting data policies means regulating how data is gathered, stored, processed, and disposed of. It governs access to “who” is accessing “what” kind of data. Whereas the democratization of data and analytics is the process of enabling employees with the necessary data resources and tools regardless of their skill set.
While data and analytics governance can be independent of democratization, the process of data and analytics democratization will thrive in an organization with a good data structure. An effective data policy setup is the foundation for the adoption of democratization and can make the process easier.
Governance is a critical part as we think about the process of democratizing data and analytics, where everyone who has access to the data they need has the right tools to turn those data into actionable insights. A lack of a central governance structure will impact how analytics are democratized for everyone.
- How can enterprises adopt data democratization and what is the first step? How does this affect the ongoing business?
Technology investments only work if the intended users know how to make the most out of them. Therefore, organizations must also prioritize workforce upskilling. That is, employees need to be equipped with the data and analytics skills they need to question, understand, and solve with data in order to make the most use of the analytics tools being provided to them.
- What are the pros and cons of shifting the approach to data?
There’s more data than ever before, and enterprises across the world are accelerating the digital transformation to capitalize on new opportunities to grow revenue, increase margins, and improve customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. This makes democratizing access to data and analytics even more important, and what we’re seeing is that organizations that are upskilling their workforce are achieving a higher return on their analytics investments and enhancing their competitive advantage.
It is also important to keep in mind that democratizing data and analytics and data governance cannot be achieved by technology alone. Organizations need a balanced technology and operating model that also takes people and processes into consideration.
- Which department(s) are responsible for data democratization?
Indeed, data and analytics transformation cannot happen for an organization in a few select pockets or silos. We believe everyone, regardless of skill level, should be able to participate in the data analytics process and drive value.
- How can workplaces bridge the skill gap? Does everyone in an organization participate in democratization?
Creating actionable data and analytics programs to educate employees is one of the most effective ways to bridge the skills gap. We have seen successes with executive-sponsored datathons or when companies gamify their learning experience.
We also think it’s important for technical data experts to act as mentors to knowledge workers with domain expertise and guide them through the analytics process. We believe this collaboration between technical experts and domain experts will help organizations achieve breakthroughs with their data faster.
Finally, analytics needs to be easy, not complex. Organizations should invest in technologies that move away from being highly dependent on writing code. The Alteryx analytics automation platform, which features the Alteryx Analytics Cloud, allows everyone, no matter their skill level or which department they sit in, to use data and analytics to drive better outcomes for their organization.
- Does democratization give ROI?
Data and analytics generate ROI in many ways. First are the time savings. Organizations that shift from spreadsheet-based processes save several hours per week, sometimes up to a third of their time per worker – multiply this by all the domain experts and knowledge workers still stuck in spreadsheets and you’ve got some serious time savings. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Democratized data and analytics also reduce the risk of being overly dependent on any single worker who may be the only person who can maintain a complicated analytics process. Automating the analytics processes in turn reduces the risk of manual errors.
Moreover, you’re taking on new challenges and delivering new data analytics use cases that lead to transformative outcomes. Globally, we’ve seen our customers make such a huge impact – from using data to prevent premature birth and promoting healthy pregnancies to estimating the structural damage from major hurricanes and speeding up disaster relief. For the organization, the ability to empower its workforce to use data and analytics to make a difference also results in higher employee engagement and increased retention overall.
- What do you expect to see in the future of data democratization?
Data and analytics are permeating every aspect of business, communities, and our personal lives. Organizations need to prioritize digital dexterity for their employees, which includes data literacy and analytics competency. Employees need to be able to derive insights and discover trends and patterns that are relevant to solving business problems. However, data literacy as a mindset shift cannot be an afterthought; it must be prioritized by leaders to instill the necessary skills into an organization’s culture.