At the start of a CRM project one of the topics which always comes up is data and reporting. There are often challenges, typically with the quality of the data leading to trust issues and data can be spread across different system and spreadsheets. Reporting is difficult with a multitude of reports which no one knows what they are for or how they are used. Often a single person is responsible for the data and reporting leading to delays in getting the right information. An organisation can be data rich, but they do not have a single source of the truth and have no clear 360-degree view of their members. Therefore, the ideal is to achieve data democratisation.

What is data democratisation?

Data democratisation aims to give all staff access to company data and empower them to uncover insights to make informed decisions.

Why is data democratisation important?

Democratising data can bring real value to an organisation, giving all staff the ability to access and use data has many benefits. Staff are empowered and feel an ownership of the data, they understand the value of accurate data and ensure it’s correct. Gaps in knowledge can easily be identified so that strategies can be agreed to fill those gaps and improve the quality of the data. Staff can identify opportunities to build the business and increase membership. Time is saved and frustrations minimised as instead of one person holding sole responsibility for data and reporting, everyone has a role to play.

Data mapping and migration are a key part of implementing a new CRM. Reporting is mentioned and considered but to achieve true data democratisation preparation and planning is vital.

Getting started – It’s all in the preparation

Carry out a reporting audit is a great place to start. Take time to understand existing reports, who owns them, how they are used as well as the key data points. Build an organisational reporting structure and understand what is needed and why. This will enable reporting to be streamlined, avoid duplication, identify gaps in the data and ensure quality data is being used for the right purpose. Agreeing data standards and putting in clear business processes with defined roles and responsibilities will ensure data sanctity in the future. Ongoing support and training for users on the system and how to interpret data is vital.

Working with users set up standard reports and user specific dashboards. These should form the foundation of the organisational reporting structure and provide the day-to-day information needed to make solid business decisions. Remember data is a team sport and it’s important that users can create and run ad-hoc reports to gain deeper insights and make full use the data.


Good data quality and to use it for great business decisions rests in planning and forward thinking. Put in place a reporting strategy and support staff with ongoing training and development. Understand who is using the data and why, identify gaps and find ways to fill them. Be brave and give everyone access to data, empower them so they can drive the business forward.

For more insights on data, join our free upcoming webinar event on ‘Building a single source of truth: Sorting out your data‘ on 11 May.

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