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What is Data Enablement and How to Get Started

2024-04-11 // Tom Ward, Software and Analytics Consultant

Data enablement is a newer trend in organizational data strategy. When you think about organizational data strategy, data governance is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. Data governance is all about keeping data secure, private, available, and of high-quality. These are all noble pursuits and data governance is no doubt an important part of an organization’s data strategy. However, data governance has a newer counterpart in organizational data strategy that you might not be as familiar with called “data enablement.”

While data governance evokes images of policy and procedure documents and meeting requests that a large part of your organization may try to find an excuse to decline, data enablement is warmer and friendlier, evoking images of easy access to spreadsheets of data with the answers to all of your business questions and coworkers making data-driven decisions by all looking at the same metrics. Data enablement is an important part of data strategy because it focuses on deriving value from your data. You can have a perfect data governance structure and not derive any value out of data initiatives because people in your organization aren’t actually using data to make decisions. Data enablement shifts the focus to ensuring your organization can reap the benefits of data by making data accessible and making sure data consumers know how to use it effectively. For more information on data governance, check out our thoughts on data governance. Continue reading or jump to specific sections using the index below.

  1. What is data enablement
  2. Features of data enablement
  3. Key strategies for data enablement in organizations
  4. The role of data governance in enablement
  5. Conclusion

What is Data Enablement?

Data enablement is the process of empowering an organization to realize the full value of their data assets through making data accessible, using data effectively, and using data-driven decision-making. Data enablement is largely about reducing organizational friction and barriers to using data effectively.

It’s a more proactive approach to facilitating effective use of data in your organization. Rather than just setting up the right policies and procedures around data, data enablement is about reaching out to data consumers to make sure they have the access, knowledge, and tools required to put organizational data to good use.

Features of Data Enablement

There are several core features of an effective data enablement strategy, including data accessibility, self-service analytics, data literacy, and collaborative data platforms.

Data Accessibility

A logical first step in enabling people in your organization to use data effectively is making sure they have access to the data they need. This means understanding all of the data sources in your organization and making sure that data from these sources is properly collected, combined with other data where necessary, and presented to data consumers in the form they need to use it effectively.

Presenting data to data consumers in the form they need is really where tools like Row Zero can help organizations with data accessibility. Often business intelligence tools, particularly those focused on “big data,” present data to the data consumer in static reports or visualization-heavy dashboards when this often isn’t the type of access to data they really need to make effective decisions. Row Zero provides a familiar spreadsheet user experience that allows data consumers to conduct their own data exploration, even for very large datasets, unlocking data accessibility.

Data Literacy

Once data consumers have access to the right data, they need to be able to understand the data. Data literacy is about training and communicating with data consumers in your organization to ensure they know how to find data, how to interpret it, and how to work with it to derive value. Training programs and regular communication about data definitions, key metrics, and data sources and lineage are all good ways of promoting analytics enablement through data literacy.

Data literacy also includes making sure that data consumers have the right skill set to understand and work with data in the format provided to them. This is where giving data consumers a tool like Row Zero to work with data in a familiar spreadsheet format can help increase data literacy and remove organizational barriers to getting data consumers to truly understand their data.

Collaborative Data Platforms

A third feature of effective data enablement is offering collaborative data platforms. If data consumers have access to data and a good understanding of the data, but all of the data is siloed along departmental or hierarchical lines in your organization, it’s really difficult to get alignment and allow

Modern data platforms and “data lakehouse” architectures paired with data management platforms provide a solid backend to a collaborative data platform that ensures everyone is working from the same data, with shared data lineage and definitions. However, you also need collaborative BI tools that allow users to collaborate on the “frontend” of the data platform.

Key Strategies for Data Enablement in Organizations

There are several strategies that an organization can implement data enablement:

  • Create a data-driven culture
  • Invest in technologies that match the needs and skill sets of data consumers
  • Promote data literacy within your organization

The Role of Data Governance in Enablement

Data enablement is by no means a replacement for data governance. The two concepts are closely linked as part of an effective organizational data strategy. Data enablement is about making data accessible and usable, while data governance is about ensuring that data is managed, protected, and used appropriately according to established policies and standards. Both aspects are crucial for effective data management and leveraging data as a valuable asset for an organization.


Again, the advantage to data enablement is really about bringing the focus of data strategy back to deriving value from data within your organization. The best strategies for enabling an organization are creating a data-driven culture, investing in tools that match the needs of skill sets of data consumers, and promoting data literacy within an organization. If these strategies are deployed properly, your organization can achieve data enablement.