A report from EMC predicts that by 2020, we'll create and copy 44 trillion gigabytes worth of data each year.

Data science was once meant solely for tech-focused units in companies, but now all departments can use organizational data to optimize operations and enhance decision-making.

What is your company prepared to do with it?

In our company, we encourage our team members to take a data-driven approach to improve their own systems and processes. The end goal is to help them increase efficiency and effectiveness.

This can mean tracking the amount of time it takes to complete certain projects, identifying the operational bottlenecks, and then employing techniques or tools to cut the time needed in half. Or it could mean measuring the number of questions asked during inbound customer service requests against each respective customer's satisfaction scores. That analysis can then tell us the optimal amount of questions we should ask customers to ensure high happiness rates.

Data plays many roles in a business: It aids in effective decision-making, it allows for objective analysis, it simplifies communication, and so much more. When you decentralize data management and teach employees in traditionally tech-light roles to employ it properly, you open the door for innovations at every level of the company.

Here are four steps you can take to empower your team members with better data.

1. Provide access and training for the right tools.

In order to effectively use data to enhance their performance and optimize their decision-making abilities, your employees need access to the right tools for the job. Not only that, they also need to know how to get the most out of those tools to thrive in a data-centric environment.

Make sure everyone has the required permissions, licenses and software to analyze the data that's important to their specific roles. Additionally, provide thorough training so they know how to read and analyze the data to identify opportunities for improvement.

2. Make data analysis a core part of their responsibilities.

Data management and analysis should not just be a cursory part of the job for your team members. Otherwise, they will never be fully invested in the process.

After providing your staff with the tools and training needed to manage departmental data, modify your employees' job responsibilities to include data-centric functions. Help them budget time within their work week to sit down and dissect the numbers to come up with meaningful ways to optimize their processes and output.

3. Demonstrate how better data management can directly help them.

Some employees may need convincing, especially if they are typically averse to operating with numbers. Provide them with examples of how an analysis of their department's work can highlight growth opportunities and how small changes can have a significant impact on their team's overall results.

With that perspective, most employees will begin to appreciate the potential data management offers them.

4. Show recognition for their accomplishments.

Data science is going to be an important component of your business going forward, so you need to demonstrate to your team it is a valuable part of the equation. Show recognition when the data proves your staff has accomplished their efficiency and optimization goals.

Make these goals a regular part of their performance feedback structure and incentivize exceptional data management practices the same way you would exceeding revenue targets or achieving outstanding customer satisfaction scores.