During the Business Intelligence Symposium presented by Lucrum in conjunction with the University of Cincinnati, College of Business, Filippo Passerini, Group President of Global Business Services and CIO of P&G, promoted the idea of an Information Democracy. He is not the first person to use this phrase, only the latest to try and specifically define what is meant by the term. The power of providing an Information Democracy to the data consumers enables similar freedoms to the citizens of the U.S. democracy.
LIFE: the growth of an organization using data driven decisions (a company that is not growing is dying)
LIBERTY: the ability to quickly make the appropriate decisions based on data (a company is less suppressed by competent data driven decision making)
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: the ability to improve profits (what company is not happier with more profit??)
Since there are many types of democracies, the term Information Democracy is not easily refined. Mr. Passerini discussed his idea of Information Democracy as providing the same information at the same time to all that should view that data. This Lateral information exchange has enabled P&G unprecedented access to data propelling their decision making to be quicker and based on current data.
The purpose of their Information Democracy is to provide not only one version of the truth, but the same version of the truth to everyone. This might sound like the same concept, but there is a subtle difference and it deals with the latency of the data and ability to massage results. It tries to eliminate the “My data shows…” statements made by many because the data is owned and seen by all people at the same time. There is no delay to anyone in receiving data, no standardized reports to be re-issued, no side data to be pulled into Excel to get a different look, just the data received in a dashboard/cockpit environment.
The delivery of the data in Mr. Passerini’s Information Democracy is prolific. The same pieces of information are delivered via mobile devices, traditional PCs or P&G’s Business Sphere environment (a conference room of walls with electronic displays filled with information). The same data provided at the same time to all parties involved using multiple delivery devices allows the entire P&G managerial structure to evaluate data wherever they may be. This pervasive data culture is another example of P&Gs increased ability to adapt their business more quickly in a team environment.
The Information Democracy has not come easily at P&G as they have had to overcome obstacles. It has taken a huge effort to change the culture to embrace data for data driven solutions. Security issues make the delivering of data to all the necessary people difficult. The technology to do this is available, but the governance was generally lacking. These issues must be addressed, as P&G has, prior to successfully implementing the idea of an Information Democracy.
Transparency of the data (showing the same data to all necessary parties), timeliness of the data (getting the data to all parties as early as possible), and transportation of the data (delivering the data in multiple formats for easy consumption) make the three branches of the Information Democracy much like the executive, legislative and judicial branches make up our democracy. With these branches and the appropriate data governing processes, there truly can be an Information Democracy allowing data “…of the people, by the people and for the people.”