Five Ways To Cultivate a Data-driven Culture for Your Business

Five ways to cultivate a data-driven culture for your business
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Ronald Van Loon

Last updated June 1, 2017


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The pressure on organizations to make accurate and timely business decisions has turned data into an important strategic asset for businesses.

In today’s dynamic marketplace, the ability for businesses to use data to identify challenges, spot opportunities, and adapt to change with agility is critical to its survival and long-term success. Therefore, it has become an absolute necessity for businesses to establish an objective, data-driven culture that empowers employees with the capabilities and skills they need to analyse data and use the insights extracted from it to facilitate a faster, more accurate decision-making process.

Contrary to what many people think, cultivating a data-driven culture is not just a one-time transformation. Instead, it’s more like a journey that requires efforts from employees and direction from both managers and executives. In this article, I am sharing five different ways businesses can accelerate their transformation into a data-driven enterprise.

1. Establish a Clear Vision

Establishing a clear vision is essential for putting data into the DNA of an organization. An executive, preferably the CIO or CDO, should present the vision to the workforce and provide the rationale for this shift in culture and in benefits. This, in turn, will set the stage for the work ahead and provide an opportunity to clear misconceptions.

2. Ensure Easy and Secure Access to Data

Data can be considered an asset when its accuracy is trusted, its provenance is well established, and its security is ensured. On the other hand, optimal utilization of data requires governance and openness. To ensure this, you should consider a layered approach to make data available in a manner for which its security, governance and confidentiality is not compromised.

3. Keep Your Data Clean and Up-to-Date

It’s very hard to analyze and extract something valuable from poorly organized, inaccurate, dated information. Therefore, you should develop clear mechanisms regarding the collection, storage, and analysis of data. Make sure all your data inputs are centralized in a single location for easy integration and regular updates. This way, your employees can gather the most recent information from a single place and make more accurate decisions.

4. Create Agile Multi-Disciplinary Teams

People, not tools drive the culture of a company. Therefore, in order to create a fact-driven work environment, businesses should invest in the skills of their people. Make sure that each team contains at least one member who’s well-skilled and experienced at data analytics.

The data-driven journey requires retraining of the job force in analytical skills as well as in mindset, so that the employees can understand how data-driven decisions are made and how they contribute to the growth and performance of the company. Put simply, big data and analytics training and education is imperative for establishing a data-driven culture.

The selection of right data analytics and visualization tools also drive the data adeptness of your employees. While Hadoop and Spark are the market leaders when it comes to big data technology, there are other analytics solutions available as well that can offer you great value. Some of these include SAS, R, Python, and Tableau. Regardless of the platform you select, it is important to provide your workforce training on how to make the best use of the available data analytics resources.


 

 

5. Develop Reward Mechanisms

Sharing data successes is important to inspire others and develop a healthy, competitive, data-driven culture. To share the results achieved by a team or an individual, you can use different communication tools, such as videos and blogs, organize special gatherings, or share the results on your company portal. Make sure that you choose initiatives that are in line with your company’s long-term strategy. For example, if your objective is to penetrate new markets or gather more information about your target customers, you should acknowledge and reward the initiatives that help you make progress towards these strategic goals.

Unless communicated across an organization, data remains worthless. To extract the right information and insights from structured and unstructured data, it is important that you focus your efforts on cultivating a data-driven culture that empowers employees with the resources and skills they need to leverage data and obtain the right information at the right time to make more accurate decisions.

About the Author

Ronald is named one of the 3 most influential people in Big Data by Onalytica. He is also an author for a number of leading big data & data science websites, including Datafloq, Data Science Central, and The Guardian, and he regularly speaks at renowned events.


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