The democratisation of data has been a hot topic for a while — and it’s finally here. Business intelligence (BI) no longer rests solely in the hands (and minds) of IT. Today, all end users, from salespeople to marketers, can have easy access to data and tools that improve their daily decision-making. Cloud BI tools promise an unprecedented level of self-sufficiency to more or less an entire organisation.

[easy-tweet tweet=”The promise of easy access to data is certainly achievable today” hashtags=”BusinessIntelligence, data, cloud”]

The promise of easy access to data is certainly achievable today. However, despite the “democratisation” of BI, many organisations have yet to realise the benefits; organisations are not leveraging BI tools to unlock easy access to data despite it being technically possible. In fact, Gartner surveys reveal that 70 per cent of potential BI users in an organisation fail to adopt CIO-sponsored analytics tools. With 71 per cent of companies planning to increase their analytics budgets in 2016, it is imperative that users adopt new analytics tools and make sure that investment doesn’t go to waste.

If you’re not ready to implement cloud BI tools across your entire organisation, consider a Proof-of-Concept trial to prove value. Democratisation of data is a result of tools and capabilities that are incredibly flexible and readily available. Organisations are no longer locked into massive requirements gatherings before undertaking an analytics project — cloud BI tools allow you to conduct Proof-of-Concepts with your own data and just a few plug-and-play BI tools. Looking for predictive capabilities? Buy an app. Need an ETL tool for data migration? Just plug it into your existing CRM.  From data enrichment to report creation and data visualisation, third-party apps and tools will allow you to empower your teams with self-service BI tools now.

BI tools can revamp mobile, embedded analytics, rich visualisations, and data-driven workflow integration for your company

What you can do now 

While data democratisation may seem like a tall order, it will be a key differentiator for organisations moving forward. When you begin to plan how your organisation will make data more accessible, consider how the following criteria could (and should) come into play:

How data-driven decisions will become the norm for end users and their processes.

Data should be so abundant across your organisation that consumption is easy and automatic. Think specifically about how BI tools can revamp mobile, embedded analytics, rich visualisations, and data-driven workflow integration for your company.

How end users will be able to directly influence how data is presented and consumed. 

If it’s easy for them, they’ll adopt the tools. If not, your organisation will most likely struggle with poor adoption.

How your data visualisations are aligned to key business outcomes.

BI tools today are so powerful that they’re able to make large data sets immaterial. Only the most relevant information is served up at a given juncture in the workflow process, despite capturing every meaningful customer touchpoint, relevant structured or unstructured attribute, or new data source like IoT. Invest in the “art” of dashboarding to serve up key metrics that address issues and prompt a next step.

How your business will be enabled with self-service data preparation, data enrichment, and data integration capabilities.

Keep in mind, there will be a learning curve. Considering who the users are and what they want out of BI, then developing training for them, will improve adoption.

[easy-tweet tweet=”IT needs to be more involved in the business’ strategic goals and understand users need for #data visibility”]

IT and the business need to develop partnerships to make this new co-mingling of capabilities run more smoothly. Business needs to look to IT for insights surrounding data governance and security, while IT needs to be more involved in the business’ strategic goals and understand users need for data visibility. The path toward data democratisation can be disruptive, and for many there may be a turbulent road ahead, but the impact it will have on business outcomes like revenue growth, efficiency, and customer retention will be well worth the investment.