Overcoming Challenges to Enhance Data Enablement in Your Company

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Published
January 12, 2024
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Data has become the lifeblood that fuels informed decision-making and drives strategic initiatives. Companies today recognize the critical importance of data enablement – the process of making data accessible, usable, and actionable across all levels of the organization. However, despite the widespread acknowledgment of its significance, many companies face formidable barriers in achieving optimal data enablement. 

Drawing insights from a recent study conducted by our team, we explore the key challenges hindering progress in this domain.

barriers in data enablement at a company

Usability of Data Tools for Non-Technical Stakeholders

One of the foremost challenges identified in our study is the usability of data tools for non-technical stakeholders and teams. Approximately 55% of respondents expressed frustration with the complexity and user-unfriendliness of existing data tools. In an era where data literacy is increasingly crucial for decision-makers at all levels, bridging the gap between technical and non-technical teams becomes imperative.

Companies often invest in sophisticated data analytics tools, assuming they will empower users across the organization. However, the reality is that these tools frequently require a level of technical expertise that non-technical users find intimidating. This divide hampers collaboration, stifles innovation, and limits the democratization of data within the organization.

To address this barrier, companies should prioritize investing in user-friendly data tools that cater to a diverse audience. Establish a dedicated team focused on developing data literacy courses, providing training to non-technical users, and facilitating access to data. Their role is to empower users by building their data skills and helping them understand the connection between their analyses and the working product.

Business Users Don't Know Where to Find Data

The study revealed that 45% of respondents faced challenges related to data discovery – a scenario where business users struggle to locate the relevant data for their needs. This obstacle points to a critical issue: the lack of a centralized and intuitive data catalog or repository.

In many organizations, data is dispersed across various systems, databases, and departments, making it challenging for business users to pinpoint the information they need. This not only hampers productivity but also leads to missed opportunities for data-driven insights.

To tackle this challenge, companies should prioritize the implementation of a centralized data catalog that is easily accessible and searchable. Investing in metadata management and data governance tools can ensure that business users can quickly and confidently locate the data they require, fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making.

Underutilization of Self-Serve Analytics

Despite the availability of self-serve analytics tools, 35% of respondents in our study highlighted the underutilization of these resources. Self-serve analytics empower users to explore and analyze data independently, reducing the reliance on data specialists and fostering a culture of data-driven autonomy. The underutilization of these tools can be attributed to various factors, including a lack of awareness, insufficient training, and organizational inertia. 

To overcome this barrier, invest in self-service analytics tools and teach users how to explore data independently. This empowers them to access the data they need, reducing dependency on the data team and fostering a culture of self-sufficiency. Creating a supportive environment that encourages users to experiment with data analytics can lead to increased adoption and proficiency among non-technical teams.

Poor Organizational Adoption of Data Products

Our study also uncovered that 32% of respondents struggled with poor organizational adoption of data products. Despite investing in advanced data solutions, these organizations faced challenges in integrating data products seamlessly into their daily operations.

This barrier often arises from a lack of alignment between the goals of data initiatives and broader organizational objectives. Resistance to change, cultural barriers, and a failure to communicate the value of data products contribute to this challenge.

To enhance organizational adoption, companies must prioritize building a data-driven culture from the top-down. Leadership should champion the use of data for decision-making, and clear communication about the benefits of data products should be disseminated throughout the organization. Additionally, establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) related to data enablement can help track progress and demonstrate the tangible impact of these initiatives.

Lack of Cross-Team Collaboration

Collaboration is a cornerstone of successful data enablement, and our study revealed that 32% of respondents identified a lack of cross-team collaboration as a significant barrier. Siloed departments and a lack of communication channels hinder the sharing of insights and best practices across the organization.

To overcome this challenge, companies should invest in fostering a collaborative environment. Implementing cross-functional teams, encouraging regular knowledge-sharing sessions, and leveraging collaborative tools can break down silos and encourage the free flow of information. Additionally, recognizing and rewarding collaborative efforts can incentivize teams to work together towards common data-driven goals.

In the quest for enhanced data enablement, organizations must confront and overcome these barriers head-on. Addressing the usability of data tools, improving data discovery mechanisms, promoting the effective utilization of self-serve analytics, ensuring organizational adoption of data products, and fostering cross-team collaboration are essential steps towards building a culture where data is a strategic asset that empowers every individual within the organization. By acknowledging and addressing these challenges, companies can unlock the full potential of their data, paving the way for smarter decision-making and sustainable business success.

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