Democratizing enterprise data while trying to stick to a single trusted enterprise data source (i.e., the “single source of the truth”) is a quagmire. Actually, these are two almost opposing objectives. True data democratization is only possible by empowering business users — citizen developers — to author up to 80% of business intelligence (BI) applications; IT/data professionals will never be able to keep up with the onslaught of requests for new and updated BI applications. On the other hand, tightly controlled database access, semantic layer, joins, queries, data hierarchies, etc., render citizen developers powerless, dependent on IT/data professionals, or, even worse, forces them back into the world of shadow IT.

Is it possible to have your cake and eat it, too when it comes to data democratization? We at Forrester do think so. It’s not simple, but it is achievable. To attain this seemingly impossible objective, you need to have the right approach and the right tools.

  • Start by defining the methodology to empower citizen developers to author the majority of BI applications while establishing the thresholds and triggers where IT/data pros must step in and take over.
  • Use our risk assessment model to identify where and when these thresholds are for each BI application and when to pull the trigger to involve IT/data pros.
  • Finally, use BI governance as the overarching methodology to have the cake (empower BI citizen developers and democratize enterprise data) and eat it, too (sticking with the single trusted source of data when and where appropriate).

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