Companies collect a ridiculous amount of data. But for decades, very few have been able to unlock its value. But that’s about to change thanks to data democratization.

Data democratization is the adoption of business intelligence (BI) software and data analysis tools for use by the entire workforce. By offering these tools, employees who aren’t in traditional data roles can grow their data literacy and act on data insights. 

“Thanks to BI software, business analysts can handle basic data science tasks,” says Ned Krastev, data science instructor for 365 Careers. Non-technical people can easily load data into a program and start playing with it right away, which allows self-service data discovery.”

Is data literacy the new computer literacy for modern employees?

Onboarding these tools is the first step for data democratization. To grow data skill sets, companies — especially executives and people managers — must enthusiastically prioritize data training for employees. 

Why data is everyone’s business

The democratization of data across all departments and roles is also beneficial to data science teams. How? Here are just two examples:

  1. Data self-sufficient employees can build dashboards themselves without distracting data scientists. 
  2. Data science teams can focus on complex projects rather than building dashboards. 

When a company becomes data-driven, it adopts the data science team’s mandate of using data insights to shape key business decisions. And employees who can interpret data, draw insights, and communicate those insights to stakeholders are invaluable to their organization. 

The data skills your employees need 

Data science instructor Jose Portilla sees a parallel between the need for data literacy and a trend we saw in the not-too-distant past. “Clear understanding of dashboards, visualizations, and analysis will soon become a default skill set required of any office worker, analogous to basic computer skills quickly becoming a necessity for workers of past generations,” says Jose.

Data literacy skills that saw growing popularity in 2020 include:

How to help your organization adapt 

A data literate workforce can give your organization a competitive edge. But if you’re worried there’s not enough time for employees to learn new data skills (or any skill, really), you’re not alone. More than half of the L&D leaders surveyed for the 2021 Workplace Learning Trends Report say that lack of time prevents their teams from upskilling. 

Innovative companies overcome this challenge by putting learning into the flow of work — even if your workforce is remote. Here are some suggestions to get started:

“In a world that quite literally runs on data, it’s time to start treating analytics as a core competency rather than a rare and specialized skill,” says data analytics instructor Chris Dutton. “To thrive in this landscape, companies must build a culture that values data literacy at all levels, supports data-driven decision making, and weaves analytics into every part of the organization.”

Make data a core competency at your organization

Data can no longer be relegated to one particular role or department. Making data a core competency for your organization benefits everyone. Employees will better understand their own work and impact. Plus, when they can self-serve with basic data requests, they relieve the burden from the data science team. This makes your entire organization more strategic and effective.

Download the 2021 Workplace Learning Trends Report for more insights into data literacy skills and tips on building a data training program for your company.