I was having a conversation with a co-worker of mine about the way we should be using data. Like most large companies, data is managed by a few gatekeepers who will let that data out to the consumers. The consumers of the data often don’t have a say in the data, but what if they did?
The issue I run into all the time is, I would love to just play with the data and see what is in there. But I can’t. The gatekeepers keep me from it. So I have to take what is offered. If what is offered doesn’t tell the story about my product or market, too bad. This is great job security for the person in the gatekeeper role. They often talk about how important it is to have them there and if they didn’t, the data would get out of control, or would it? What if instead of having gatekeepers, we let everyone play with the data in the way they want to. How many unknown, unknowns would become knowns?
The fact of the matter is, nobody knows my product like I do, I live it every day. Let me play with the data and find what is out there. Often I get the high level info but that’s not where the meat is. Today, I talked with another product manager who saw some odd movements in the numbers for their product. The data didn’t tell them anything. So what if they could play with the data and tell the real story behind the mainline numbers, wouldn’t that be better? Frankly, I think so. I would love to see what the number say that never get to see the light of day. But with data democracy, that might change.
I am not saying gatekeepers will go away with data democracy, there will always be those who will want it served up to them. But others who will embrace the DIY model. In fact, the nice thing about data democracy is that it is far more scalable.