Big data is a familiar term to everyone in the world of IT but now it’s becoming known as a topic in our everyday lives. Big data is forecast to continue impacting all aspects of our lives, especially at work.
For better or for worse, 90% of the world’s data was generated within the last two years. But that data is only useful when anyone and everyone who needs to can access and understand it. This is why traditional business intelligence tools are being superseded by easy-access software solutions that don’t require initiation into some high priesthood of data science, or a PHD in statistics.
The rising tide of data has necessitated that everyone have familiarity with data analysis, not just experts with “analyst” in their titles. Organisations that make better use of data to make decisions are more successful, while those that don’t will begin to fall behind.
The democratisation of data has emerged as a consequence of several trends – proliferation of devices and the consumerisation of IT in general – and signs point to it becoming an ever more prevalent trend. We are moving to the pervasive use of data, through online and real-world tracking and the internet of things.
In a world where people are drowning in data – from information on the Web, on spreadsheets, and in databases on tablets and devices – people need a lifeline, and that lifeline is data analytics.
A recent Teradata survey found that about 90% of organizations report medium to high levels of investment in data analytics solutions, and about a third call their investment “very significant.”
The study underlines this shift in thinking, as businesses see a return on their data-analytics investment across sectors and across areas of the business – from marketing to sales.
With increased data across various parts of today’s businesses, familiarity with data analysis is now an essential skill across roles and levels.
Unfortunately, most business analytics products are built to centralise and control data, not democratise it. As a result, the majority of companies are reliant on specialists just to answer basic questions. They stumble through Escher-like spreadsheets to work around inflexible business systems. Or they’re being stonewalled by enterprise-wide business intelligence platforms that spend more time in development than helping anyone.
There's no power in that approach. The power is in giving people the ability to think, act and deliver – and a self-service delivery means the IT department concentrates on their strategic role – not helping users work out how to generate reports!
When a company empowers employees with self-service analysis tools, they are shown to be capable and respected. People start to drive their organisations forward in ways that senior management could never anticipate. The environment fosters their ingenuity and creativity, and people are able to tell stories with their data.
Top tips for driving a data culture within your business:
- Get buy-in and excitement: think of data analysis as a story, and use a narrative
- Find the story first: explore the data
- Write out the story to guide your audience through the journey
- Supplement hard data with qualitative data, and add emotion
- Be visual: use pictures, graphs and charts
- Make It easy for your audience: stick to 2-3 key issues and how they relate to your audience
- Determine what you want people to do as a result: write your happy ending
- Encourage data uptake by demonstrating the benefits to the business and your colleague’s roles – data empowerment can make business heroes!
About the Author, Edouard Beaucourt (Tableau Software)
Edouard Beaucourt is Regional Director for France, French Speaking Switzerland and North Africa. Edouard Beaucourt is responsible for reinforcing and growing Tableau Software presence driving sales of Tableau’s products within the region. Edouard Beaucourt, 35 years old, joined Tableau Software in December 2013 as Enterprise Account Manager for France and French speaking Switzerland. Previously he fulfilled roles at IBM Business Analytics in Geneva, and at Clarity Systems, Paris and Geneva. He has a background in major account enterprise sales in the business intelligence and analytics software space and a wealth of industry insight. Prior to roles at the organisations above, Beaucourt also managed sales teams and channel partner programmes for Microsoft and Hyperion.