The 3 Pillars of Data Democracy

In order to promote the use of data within the enterprise, we need to provide a collaborative environment which gives people the freedom and incentive to try new things.  This gives everyone the chance to prove great ideas, or at worst to fail quickly.  We may all understand the benefits of democratizing data, yet without an environment to foster that exploration it will remain just a great idea.  It is much like a unicorn.  We all know what it looks like, but no one has actually seen one.

Therefore I propose 3 pillars that are essential to encouraging this environment:

Searchable Metadata

We can provide a powerful framework for mining all sorts of data, but if users cannot inspect data elements easily from a trusted source, we will be perceived as unintuitive and difficult to use.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ? Leonardo da Vinci


The gallery showcases works that others have done and springboards innovation by providing rapid provisioning of data.  Infographics and supporting worksheets can be linked into the gallery and tagged so that others may search for it.  Did someone already perform margin rate analysis?  Let’s go to the gallery first to find out.

If a person finds a relevant workbook, they can easily provisioning that insight for their own use.  This is a powerful feature that allows others to build upon and extend new insights without reinventing the wheel.


We are wired to appreciate feedback loops.  We post on Facebook and Twitter not because we like to type, but we enjoy the recognition in the form of comments and followers.   As of 2011, the global video game market is valued at $65 billion.  People spend hours in front of a screen because it leverages their natural desire for competition, accomplishment, and status.  Adopting this mindset in our analytic platform not only encourages participation, but it gives us yet another set of metrics for self-assesment.  Which infographics are most accessed?  How many times is a worksheet copied for further analysis?  The ‘Like’ and ‘Friend’ button allows Facebook to catalog over a billion active user profiles – all to sell you stuff.

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