Four Tips to Improve Data Democratization & Get the ROI Everyone Wants

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
November 15, 2022

Is your company’s data analytics practice up to snuff, or are there things you could improve? During Adobe’s virtual summit, two analytics experts teamed up to offer tips and tricks on bringing a “data-driven, decision-making culture” to your organization, starting with democratizing your data.

One of the breakout sessions, “A Clean, Mean, Actionable Data Machine: A Deep Dive on Data Democratization,” noted four main pillars that comprise an organization’s data analytics practice: “organizational readiness, data collection strategy, data health, and data democratization,” but it homed in on the fourth pillar specifically.

Data democratization—according to Stephanie Burton, Adobe’s senior consultant for digital strategy: analytics and optimization—focuses on how you both use and share data throughout your company.

Accordingly, in order to be a “truly data-data driven organization,” Burton explained, you need to be able to “create trust in your data,” which you can then use to “drive actions.”

“This, in turn,” she said, “will give you the ability to actually show value from both the data and the tools.” Focusing on analytics, Burton chatted with Jacquelyn Wegmann, manager of digital analytics and insights at Thomson Reuters, to outline how the media conglomerate has done just that, having invested in a “scalable democratization process” without “exponentially” growing their team.

Over the last year, Thomson Reuters has seen a 66% uptick in data consumption and 347% increase in data tool usage. Notably, the company has also saved 1,000 hours of analysts’ time, thanks to self-service reporting.

So, what are their strategies for data democratization success? We’ve outlined four of their approaches, which you can put into practice regardless of your specific martech stack. (Note: Wegmann also happens to be an Uptempo customer! However, we had no influence over this conversation, and she speaks only about the overall tech stack of Thomson Reuters.)

  1. Adopt the right tools

Beyond just Adobe Workspace, Thomson Reuters is using a whole suite of tools to “marry data together,” said Burton.

Indeed, according to Wegmann, within just the Adobe platform itself, the company combines paid search data with Adobe Analytics data, telling a “much richer and more complete ROI story than either dataset alone would be able to tell,” she said.

Additionally, for users who need to examine the information at an even more granular level, data is integrated with tools such as Tableau or Power BI, providing a “higher-level view” of numerous data sets altogether, Wegmann explained.

Lastly, they make sure their tools enable users to share information via PDF or CSV to those who don’t have access to the data.

How Uptempo can help: No need to replace your CRM, MAP, project management, financial or data warehouse tools; Uptempo comes with integrations to those applications, bringing all of the data into one view and enabling you to share PDFs externally. You can also send a nightly feed of all your Hive9 data to an SQL-based data warehouse for access from your own BI tools, such as Power BI, Tableau, Qlik, Business Objects, Domo, or Birst, to name a few.

  1. Use automated, customized dashboards for reporting

Marketers need a single solution that gives them the information they need to measure ROI—and makes both their jobs and analysts’ jobs easier.

“As all analysts know, dashboards will answer some basic questions, [but] they generally lead to more questions for deeper analysis,” said Wegmann. Marketers want to know, she explained, why or how something is happening: e.g., What’s driving form conversions? How is my campaign performing?

In turn, Thomson Reuters has implemented what it calls a “marketer self-service portal,” which is made up of an Adobe Workspace report that links out to separate reports, providing the data marketers are looking for. Wegmann says the portal answers roughly 80% of the questions analysts used to get, negating the need for them to build out individual reports outlining, for instance, campaigns or conversion data. Instead, it’s all in one place in a customizable portal, making reports easily accessible for marketers.

How Uptempo can help: An automated system of record eliminates spreadsheets and reporting errors, providing one place to plan your campaigns, manage to budget, measure what’s working, and optimize the results. Dynamic views and filters can drill into the details or keep it high-level. Additionally, scorecard configurations can help you visualize which campaigns are most effective, and built-in intelligence will help guide you to your goals. Finally, with its origins in planning, Uptempo’s reports and dashboards provide the context that most analytics platforms lack.

  1. Tie performance to established KPIs

To enable better performance tracking, Thomson Reuters underwent a reorganization. Previously, Wegmann explained, the company’s business units were essentially operating as separate companies with different priorities. Everyone’s end goal was ROI, of course, but how they tracked ROI differed across units.

Now, Thomson Reuters uses company-wide objectives and key results, or OKRs, that “the entire company is focused on,” according to Wegmann. All business units have to “level up in a very clear manner” to the OKRs, which can be tracked through “high-level metrics” through the previously mentioned dashboards. In turn, marketers can know “how they’ve actually contributed to our company’s key results.”

“Having those KPIs clearly defined across the organization makes it so much easier to ensure that all of your efforts are tying back to the company goals,” noted Wegmann.

How Hive9 can help: We help marketing leaders demonstrate their value and align themselves with corporate strategy so that everyone is rowing in the same direction. With integration from your financial system for actual investment data and support for nine different simultaneous attribution models, you can tell the complete story of your efforts within the context of your company’s overall plan.

  1. Focus on user access

Before the reorganization at Thomson Reuters, the company had “pretty tight access control” for its data, which posed a problem: There were “hundreds of marketers,” said Wegmann, but certainly not hundreds of analysts to help them. 

In turn, to enable a better spread of data access for marketers, the company decided to set up users according to different product profiles (e.g., marketer, marketer-plus, analyst or analyst-plus), providing tiered levels of access to metrics and tool capabilities.

For example, basic-level marketers are not able to build out segments or calculate metrics, eliminating potential confusion or preventing “different groups from reporting on different things.” Instead, Thomson Reuters ties user accessibility to training: Once basic-level marketers pass a training course, making sure they “understand how to work with this data,” they’ll be given more access – in turn, saving time for analysts.

On a similar note, Burton highlighted the importance of regularly performing audits of users.

“If people aren’t staying literate with data or if they’re leaving the company,” she explained, “go through and clean permission settings.”

Accordingly, focus on accountability, she added.

“If it isn’t already clear who the owner of the data is or who’s being held accountable for data being reported, then you need to identify and assign responsibility,” added Burton.

How Uptempo can help: Our software enables advanced permissioning for complex environments, including multi-agency participation. On the other end of the sharing spectrum, you can share unlimited slices of your data via PDF, Google calendar, or Outlook calendar without additional user licenses.

We’ve highlighted four successful data democratization best practices outlined by Thomson Reuters, but the conversation didn’t stop there. Watch the entire breakout session here to learn more about the other key components of data democratization.

And, of course, if you’re looking to make more data-driven marketing planning decisions, we can certainly help!

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