Becoming a truly data-driven organization takes time, and lots of it. That’s because, in addition to the right protocols, systems, infrastructure and skill sets, becoming data-driven also requires that you seed, foster, and maintain a genuine data-centric culture and business stategy. This can (and should) continue throughout the lifecycle of your business, which makes getting started feel daunting.
That’s why we’ve put together the following list of 5 things you can do right now to take steps toward making your team more data-driven.
#1. Democratize your data
Gone are the days when data “lived” in IT departments, leaving only at the specific request of specialized divisions like marketing or executive management. The size, volume, diversity, and potential of data today means that data is everyone’s business – regardless of their level of ownership or responsibility. So-called data “democratization” encourages everyone to think of organizational data as an asset and tool at their disposal. The goal is the allow anyone in the organization to use data at anytime to make decisions with no barriers to access or understanding. Data democratization can also help enrich your data ecosystem by bringing in and engaging domain exports from other areas of the business.
To start moving toward democratized data, it is essential to invest in data integration and analysis tools that offer the same usability and performance to everyone from developers to the end-user with limited technical knowledge.
Pro Tip: Tech tools like cloud storage and data virtualization platforms help facilitate this access, while data fluency and visualization training can help foster the necessary understanding.
#2. Invest in data visualization
The basis for investing in data visualization is simple: Data visualization is the bridge between your data’s complexity and your team’s ability to comprehend and learn from it. While most data visualization tools are designed to help analysts gain deeper insights into the data they work with every day, they also allow more people across the firm to see, understand, and use those insights in their day-to-day work as well. Visualization tools also allow new queries and insights to take place more rapidly, clearing the way for even deeper and more creative analytics moving forward.
Get started by perusing industry shopper reports that compare features and pricing of different visualization tools like this one.
#3. Write a data strategy statement
Let’s start by defining a data strategy statement: A comprehensive and actionable foundation for an organization’s ability to harness and leverage data. Your strategy should define your data analytics goals and details plans, tactics, and a roadmap for accomplishing them. A well-articulated data strategy provides and clear set of data management guidelines for everyone to follow, regardless of division or role. This, in turn, facilitates clear communication, transparency, better standardization and more tangible results for data projects across your organization.
Elements of a written data strategy include:
- Business vision & context
- Index of data and analytics tools, software, and other technologies and corresponding scope and uses
- Statement of data security and protection protocols, procedures and relevant regulations
- Statement of data analytics goals
- Detailed plans, timelines, and tactics for goal achievement
- Statement of data security and protection protocols, procedures, and relevant regulations
#4. Perform a data fluency assessment for your entire team
A data fluency assessment can help you identify skill gaps and areas of weakness – with the aim of paving a new path toward improvements in data fluency. Data fluency is one of the pillars of fostering and maintaining a data-centric corporate culture. The goal, of course, is not to make everyone on your team fit to serve as a data analyst. Instead, it is to reach a point where everyone on your team is capable of having quality discussions about relevant data, with common use of measures, and shared appreciation for the meaning of your unique data. If you are interested in performing a data fluency assessment for your team, contact us today.
#5. Change the way you think about data
There’s a good chance that for most non-tech people on your team, the default is for them to think of data as information about past action, which tells you about what happened in your organization, and perhaps why. Instead, encourage your team to think of ways data could help answer questions like “what might happen,” and “what should we do next.” This shift in thinking might encourage domain-specific team members to think of new data points to begin collecting, or new data queries to initiate. This can also help make data and data-driven thinking an integral part of strategic decision-making for the firm as a whole.
Harnessing data and the ability to make data-driven decisions is becoming increasingly important in refining your company’s competitive edge. As such, the time to invest in transforming your team to be more data-driven is now. If you’d like to learn more and explore ways you can make your data work for you, contact us today.