Citizenfour or Citizen Data Scientist?

One of the major concerns for modern businesses is how do enable everyone across an organisation to have access to the data they need to do their job while still maintaining its integrity, security and repeatability.

The term citizen data scientist has gained recent traction through most notably the recent Gartner Business Intelligence and Analytics summit, the definition of which is the regular Joe in an organisation with access data analysis tools who performs jobs previously reserved for highly skilled data scientist and business analysts.

Citizenfour is a documentary about former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and the unauthorised release thousands of classified NSA documents detailing illegal wiretapping and mass surveillance in the USA and abroad.

In previous topics we dealt with unlocking data potential and enabling self service analytics but how far does an organisation go to enable every user to self serve and tap previously unrealised data potential. Through consumer driven storage and collaboration tools, like dropbox and google drive, that are permeating businesses we are starting to get a glimpse of how organisations are solving role and user based access to information. The concept of saving a file to a folder and providing access to that folder to a team member is a simple yet powerful concept.

What if a Business Intelligence solution worked the same way? A report, dashboard or discovery is just a document within an organisation that needs privacy, security and repeatability, it has a business context, an engaged user and an business objective. Instead of static dashboards and reports we can rather imagine business intelligence as a series of discoveries in an ever cycling analytics workflow, our questions always change and a business seldom remains static.

By providing business intelligence we are providing answers to questions, we are moving away from the need to extract data so that a user can build spreadsheets with their own context and have mini versions of a business database on their local machine. There is no need to compromise security by having sensitive data residing on local machines, by providing access to the answers we are allowing information to be transient and only exist in that context when we ask the question, providing access to the database in a “just in need” scenario all governed by access control.

If you’d like to find out how we can enable citizen data scientist in you company please contact us at