Decoding the recipe for Data-driven Culture

With the advent of the internet and technology, data has been growing at a tremendous scale and has become a pivotal factor in business decision-making. Organizations worldwide are adopting data analytics for their business growth, increasing customer experience, and employee satisfaction.

“Data will talk to you, if you’re willing to listen to it”
- Jim Bergeson

According to New Vantage Partners 2021 survey report, 96% (out of 85 Fortune 1000 firms) say their organization has benefited from Big Data and AI — up by more than 25% from 2020. Despite generating tremendous amounts of data, are the organizations able to utilize it completely to its full potential? Many of them accept that they are struggling because they lack culture of data.

Organizations produce huge amounts of data, but the ones who master the recipe of exploiting this data for themselves attain a competitive advantage in the industry.

Alan Duncan, Vice President Analyst, Gartner says, “The benefit of a data-driven culture is to examine and organize the data with the goal of better serving one organization’s customers and consumers. It also bolsters and speeds up business decision-making processes.”

Let’s define Data Culture
Data culture is the ability of an organization to use data for better decision-making. Companies with strong data culture rely on data for forming business strategies and in return business advancements. Imagine the world without data, where decision based on gut feeling and assumptions could adversely impact the business.

Data culture is not an option anymore; it is critical to the business

What’s new? Why Data Culture is important?
A data-driven culture embraces data consumption practices for decision making, it treats data as a strategic asset by making it accessible and available for the organization. The culture also catalyzes more frequent and frugal experimentation with data and unearth some fresh use cases for investigation.

Data-driven transformation can make organizations more efficient by enabling business strategies with data. For instance, a Voice of Customer analysis can help product companies to understand their customers better and address their expectation. Similarly, companies can build product launch strategies based on demographic data.

Internet giants like Google, Amazon, Netflix, and many others ensure all decisions are backed with metrics, data, and analytics. Be it board meetings or product discussions, the culture is to discuss questions with data and not the answers.

How to build data-driven culture
The data leadership responsible to transform data culture often struggles to get the right recipe. With an assumption that the organization aspires to be data-driven and has positioned a Chief Data Officer to build data-driven culture, let’s have a look at four simple techniques to kick off data driven journey.

 1. Shift the mindset – Changes are tough and depend a lot on the mindset. If the senior leadership of the organization do not believe in using the data, then it becomes difficult for other employees of the organization to adopt a data-driven mindset.

 How to shift the mindset?

 Leadership align on the use of data and act as influencers

  • Onboard business stakeholders on data-driven practices
  • Identify and communicate the business value of data

2. Strengthen the skill sets: In order to extract value from data, the organizational workforce must have the knowhow about the data, systems, and how to access. In addition, they must have knowledge to indulge in data exploration endeavors and interpret data insights.

How to strengthen the skillset?

 Upskill employees on data analysis and interpretation

  • Data Literacy programs to learn about organizational data, build community of practices, and cultivate the culture of collaboration.
  • Data Storytelling: The employees should learn the art of communication insight through data to the customers and stakeholders.

3. Selecting the right toolset: There are a variety of tools available for data management, data analytics, data visualization, etc. Every organization should understand the requirement and should select the right tools. Regardless of how many data systems an organization has there must be a common data language.

How to select the right toolset? 

  • We can automate some labor-intensive tasks such as data cleansing, exploratory data analysis, etc. by using automated libraries. So, we can align people in a more productive way.
  • By having an adequate amount of knowledge about the tools available in the market, an organization can select the optimal tool. 

4. Stronger data set: The relevance and the quality of data will determine whether it will be used to provide value in the organization or not. The organization must ensure that the data they consume is trusted, useful and secured. With data going out to multiple hands, a layer of strong data governance becomes a key ask that keeps a watch on data quality, authentication and authorization principles, and compliance on data exposition.   

According to a survey report of 2021 by New vantage Partners, where 85 data intensive firms participated, 81% of respondents have mentioned that they are optimistic about the future of Big Data and AI in their firms. 99% of firms have reported active investments in big data and AI and 91.9% have reported about the accelerating pace of investments. Below are some key insights –

 Only 24.4% have forged a data culture

  • Only 24.0% have created a data-driven organization.
  • Only 48.5% are driving innovation with data
  • Only 39.3% are managing data as a business asset
  • Only 30.0% have a well-articulated data strategy for their company
  • Only 29.2% are experiencing transformation business outcomes 

Data culture starts at the top and the leaders must be willing to invest and align expectations to use data in driving decisions. While it relies heavily on collaboration and trust, the decision-making priorities should align well with the data initiatives. Data-driven transformations essentially ask for change in habits, mindset, and even communication. It’s not a race, but a marathon. A culture that encourages data democracy, will enable the workforce on data-centric practices, make data-driven decisions and valorize data to kick off a longer-term growth.

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