Data is the core to business operations and strategy, making it the most critical asset for every organization. Management of the underlying infrastructure within which the data is stored, as well as the overall management of the data, are critical aspects to its use. As the sheer volume of data grows, including for its use in AI, managing data at scale across a global landscape continues to be a challenge due to a variety of reasons.

“Technology is an ever-evolving paradigm with artificial intelligence being the latest to take hold,” said Piyush Mehta, CEO of Data Dynamics, a company focused on addressing the challenges with data management. “AI leverages digital footprints, which need to be protected by empowering an individual’s rights to digital privacy and in turn enabling data democratization.”

Voting in democratic elections creates a digital footprint. According to Mehta, when individuals are confident their information is secure and used responsibly, they are more likely to willingly share data, participate in research studies and engage with new technologies. This fosters a collaborative environment to address macro societal issues in a far more expedited manner. For example, consider initiatives in health care, where anonymized patient data plays a crucial role in developing lifesaving treatments. If individuals lack trust in how their medical information is handled, they may be hesitant to participate in research, hindering progress in crucial medical fields. This is where citizen data ownership and control come into play, empowering people to manage their data assets within defined IT guidelines. This sets the stage for the next era of transformation: data democratization.

“This is a conversation we need to be having right now,” says Max Horwitz, Senior Director at BCIU. “Organizations are grappling with the challenges and opportunities presented by the data deluge, meaning that discussions surrounding how to make data more accessible, usable and secure—for a wider audience—are increasingly relevant.”

BCIU is partnering with Data Dynamics to engage with key stakeholders on the conversation surrounding data democracy. Below, Mehta shares a few of his thoughts on the topic, the challenges inherent to data ownership, and the next phase of digital transformation.

Breaking Down Barriers

Data democratization is the process of making data a shared resource that’s more available and accessible to a wider range of people within an organization. When data is accessible to a broader audience, it becomes easier to track and monitor performance metrics, goals and outcomes, improving both efficiency and accountability for an organization.

“This isn’t merely a feel-good initiative,” says Mehta. “It’s a strategic imperative, with companies experiencing higher profitability and faster growth through data democratization.”

If everyone can instantly access and analyze real-time data—with no waiting for reports for control requests—they can better see the bigger picture, understand how their actions contribute, and take ownership of their own performance. In addition, entities that effectively democratize data are better at adapting to market changes, identifying emerging trends and capitalizing on new opportunities, providing a competitive advantage.

“Data democratization isn’t just about internal efficiency,” Mehta says. “It’s about being in tune and leading the dynamics of an ever-shifting market landscape. Today, agility is king. By empowering everyone to access and analyze data, we become sensors attuned to the market’s pulse.”

At the same time, the data democratization conversation must include the challenge of data ownership. Determining ownership of data within an organization can be complex, especially when it is generated or collected by multiple systems. Questions around who has the right to access, use and control data can arise, leading to uncertainty or disputes over data usage. Establishing clear IT guardrails is essential to ensuring accountability.

The Road to Innovation

Software is a necessary part of the data democratization process, including an investment in digital infrastructure, tools and cybersecurity. As more people have access to data, it inherently creates a bigger security risk and more challenges in maintaining data integrity.

A leading industry software for this is the Data Dynamics Analytics Suite, which assesses stored data, generating metadata and content analysis that provide risk assessments for personal and sensitive business data while ensuring compliance and security. It extracts patterns and insights for informed decisions and uses artificial intelligence to transition data into a stored state, guaranteeing well-managed, secure and efficient data management.

“In essence, we ensure that your data, including sensitive and customer information, is meticulously classified, secured, analyzed and readily available for action—whether it’s containment and isolation, access control, audit, purging, archival or migration,” Mehta says. “All of this is achieved by empowering data owners with insight and actionability.”

Privacy also plays a role here. Democratizing data while safeguarding individual privacy is paramount to maintaining trust and compliance with data protection regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Balancing the need for accessibility with privacy concerns requires implementing robust privacy policies and providing individuals with control over how their data is collected, processed and shared.

Going Forward

Addressing data ownership and privacy challenges requires a dynamic approach that involves legal, technical and organizational considerations. Data democratization is a culture shift, reimagining the ways in which people view data as a whole. Companies like Data Dynamics, however, are working to ease the transition.

“Preparing for the next phase of transformation—a digital world where every data creator and owner feels comfortable sharing their data—becomes paramount,” Mehta says. “This trust hinges on full transparency and ensuring that data custodians handle information in a manner that allows creators to derive commercial value from its use.”

Software is only one aspect of the solution: Achieving data democratization requires fostering a culture of collaboration through a combination of technological, cultural and organizational changes. Success in this area mandates an organization-wide embrace of data governance, encompassing initiatives like innovative employee training and the establishment of new data storage policies.

“We’re including the data conversation in BCIU’s 2024 programming because we’re looking out on a data-driven future,” says Horowitz. “Meaning addressing the complexities of democratizing data is not just an imperative—it’s an opportunity to shape a more equitable, accountable and innovative workforce.”


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