How to Establish a Successful Data-Driven Culture

According to NewVantage Partners’ 2019 Big Data and AI Executive Survey, researchers found that 72% of survey participants have yet to forge a data culture, 69% have not created a data-driven organization, and 53% are not yet treating data as a business asset. The consideration of data when making company decisions and the tendency of employees to seek out and understand this data is what forms a data-driven culture. As one Forbes article puts it, “A data-driven culture can be defined as an operating environment that seeks to leverage data whenever and wherever possible to enhance business efficiency and effectiveness.” 

The role of data in businesses has sky-rocketed in importance over the past few years. Companies have more information at their disposal than ever before, but struggle to successfully integrate  data into their day-to-day operations.

Why do so many companies lack a data-driven culture? 

Several factors can potentially stand in the way of introducing a data-driven culture at your company. Overcoming the challenges that come with constructing a data-driven culture can require a great deal of time, planning, and organization!

Persuading an entire organization to change the status quo is tough. Convincing your superiors and leading by example is often the first step, but it takes more than that. In order for this transition to be successful, it is important to have everyone across your company committed to the changes that lie ahead. When creating a data-driven culture, it’s key to have the support from people at each department and level. 

Another challenge in building a data-driven culture is ensuring that everyone in the company has the ability to work with data. Data literacy encourages those at every level to access company data, allows them to interpret that data correctly, and sheds light on how to use company data to power decisions. This promotes organization-wide collaboration and information sharing. When management prioritizes data literacy, members of the executive suite can be confident that employees will be able to adapt to the changes that accompany this culture shift.  

Many companies fall short in their endeavor to create a data-driven culture because they lack top-tier management and a logical strategy needed to lead this complex company shift. Management must understand the steps needed for the successful creation of a data-driven culture and start with a well-defined plan. A good strategy will outline how management intends to encourage a data-centric culture, identify achievable goals, and define key performance indicators for each goal. These elements help hold management accountable as they make alterations across the company and lets leaders analyze how effective the current strategy is (and what might need to be refined). While a great deal of time and effort is required to guide these changes, it is worth the effort to transform your organization and empower your employees.   

As this shift toward a data-driven culture is managed, it is important to listen and monitor how things are progressing. Pay attention to every department. Where are people struggling? Have the data literacy education materials been helpful? How can your management strategy be improved as these changes take effect? This ensures that the instituted solutions are effective, defined goals are being met, and the established vision is being followed. 

Data: Your Biggest Asset

Many today describe data as an asset, but not everyone knows how to properly take care of and invest in it. Each company has its own unique data stack and strategy, and the more regularly a company makes use of their data, the more valuable of an asset to the company it becomes. In fact, researchers at Gartner predict that by 2022, companies will be appraised by their information portfolios.

Data is most valuable when it has been refined and organized in a way that it is accessible, free from errors or duplicate entries, reliable, and relevant. Each company has different priorities for refining data. Some may prefer to focus on relevance more than reliability while others prefer looking at how to make their information more accessible. As long as your business clearly defines what profitable data looks like and adheres to that definition, it will foster the growth of a data-driven culture within your company. 

The Benefits of a Data-Driven Culture

Creating a data-driven culture takes a great deal of patience, but yields many benefits for an organization. A data-driven culture aids your business by enabling informed decision-making at every level. When data is available company-wide, employees can ask critical questions across departments that allow them to notice connections that beforehand they might not have seen.

Another benefit derived from integrating a data-driven culture is an enhanced efficiency throughout the business. Efficiency can take a variety of forms such as inter-department collaboration, or using a set of data to identify where operations can be improved. 

Finally, fostering this kind of culture increases revenue. This goes hand-in-hand with the ability to use data to make informed decisions. After all, that’s what it’s there for! Across the company, everyone can use data in new ways and discover patterns and trends that pre-data-driven culture may have gone unnoticed. 

What would a data-driven culture look like for your business? Our team here at VanData can help create a vision, identify a plan, consolidate your data, and so much more. Have questions? Message us and set up a consultation today.

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