min read

Data Democratization

September 5, 2023
June 12, 2024
Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Guest

Tim Tutt is a proven technical leader with over a decade of software engineering experience focused specifically developing and deploying large scale search and discovery and data analytics solutions in both the public and private sectors. Tim is currently the CEO and Cofounder of Night Shift Development, Inc., which focuses on helping organizations make sense of their data, and he’s here today to talk about democratizing data.

The Interview

Our talk with Tim about democratizing data began with an explanation of the term, what kind of data might be included, and technological barriers that come with democratization.

“When we talk about democratizing data,” begins Tim, “it’s about helping orgs with the massive amount of data, and making sense of it; users, buyers, internal sales data. The goal is finding out how to get that data into the hands of the right people.”

One of the barriers Tim sees often in data democratization is technical skills can still play an overt role in accessing and analyzing data sets.

“Highly technical users are able to drill into data, while subject matter experts may still be asking questions, not knowing where or how to get answers,” explains Tim. “You’ll see a lot of platforms that are trying to make data access easier, but still require a ton of technical expertise. I want to have the access and analysis of data be so easy that your grandma can use it.”

Another interesting paradox of data democratization is that when too many people without technical expertise in an organization have access to data, they can come to the wrong conclusion.

“One of the biggest challenges we see is you expose data to too many people,” says Tim. “And what winds up happening is you have individuals coming to the wrong conclusions which can tank strategies. The way we’ve always looked at it, there are a couple steps in data exploitation, how you find the data and how do you get it in the right format. Once it’s in the core data platform, it should be easy to extract insights. Technical experts get more access to systems, whereas SMEs are firewalled from that.”

We then pivot to talking about AI and its impact in both the business world, and everyday life, and Tim had some cogent thoughts about the positive potential and pitfalls.

“In the last 6 months we’ve seen LLM being more available, and all of the sudden, analytics and the ways you can leverage these platforms has skyrocketed, but again if you have too many hands in the pie, it can get dangerous. Speaking about the online world in general, we may run into a space where AI-supported disinformation campaigns can be misused, so there's definitely concerns here. It's about well-defined boundaries. We never want to limit tech, but what do the regulations look like and how can they help advance tech but also keep us safe?”

To hear a few Cinderella stories about data democratization gone gangbusters, insight from data democratization failures, Tim’s “one piece of advice” about data in general, and his thoughts about throw pillows, listen to the entire interview at the links provided above and below.

The Links






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