Data has become a core asset in nearly every enterprise. Most businesses are keen on collecting, processing and storing valuable information to get accurate and timely answers to some of the big commerce questions. Thanks to intelligent analytics, virtually unlimited cloud data storage and concepts such as Big Data, companies can truly leverage the value of data to inform business decisions, explore new opportunities and refine their operations.
A report by Forrester shows that data-driven businesses are growing at an annual rate of 30 percent. What’s more, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts 103 zettabytes of data to be generated worldwide by 2023 due to the proliferation of 5G, IoT networks, video media and autonomous systems. Automated machines will produce about 90 percent of this data. Such innovations are quickly redefining how businesses perceive information, creating an even greater need for companies to build data-oriented business strategies.
The Problem with Utilizing Data
Exploiting business data to its full potential is no easy feat. A recent global survey by Splunk found that 55 percent of the data collected by companies is “dark data” that goes unused. Some companies process as little as a quarter of the data they gather. The main reasons for this poor data utilization rate include:
- Inadequate infrastructure to process data
- Clogged data repositories
- Lack of data science skills
- Use of incomplete and unstructured data sets
Many companies are also struggling to establish and foster a data-driven culture. The 2019 Big Data and AI Executive Survey revealed a disappointing 16.4 percent drop in data-driven organizations over the last three years, with 72 percent of the respondents saying their organizations had yet to develop a data-driven culture.
On the other hand, taking full advantage of data systems pays off abundantly. A recent Harvard Business Review study found that 70 percent of organizations that deployed business data analytics reported increased productivity, faster decision-making, reduced risks and improved financial performance.
The Tricky Business of Culture
Culture defines the inner workings, core values, philosophies, interactions and expectations of an organization. It is built on a multitude of shared experiences, beliefs, attitudes and unwritten rules accumulated and developed over a long time. A strong, distinct culture has a great influence over how things are done and the effectiveness of support structures geared toward accomplishing the organization’s goals and mission.
Culture is integral to designing business strategies and seeing to their success. Any principles merged with the culture resonate strongly throughout the organization. However, the introduction of new methodologies requires some persuasion and time to take hold.
Steps to Creating a Data-Driven Culture
A data-driven culture plays a major role in digital transformation. Changing the organization to be more data-conscious is not a one-event affair, but a journey following a series of steps. Here is what you should do to create a data-centric culture.
1) Change the Organization’s Mindset
The hardest part of the process is convincing shareholders, associates and staff members to shift to a data-focused business approach. Take your time to demonstrate the economic and competitive value that a data-driven culture presents. Acknowledging that certain changes must be made, work closely with affected individuals and departments to adapt strategical and behavioural adjustments. To get everyone on board, make them face facts and involve key representatives in making critical decisions.
2) Sharpen Your Data Skillset
Data illiteracy is a prevalent problem in the current IT labour market. In a survey by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, only 24 percent of senior decision-makers passed a standard data literacy test. Shockingly, even digital natives lack essential data skills.
Before moving forward, train your employees on the basics of data analysis, manipulation, security and handling. You may need to bring in a qualified data scientist to do all the heavy lifting and provide expert guidance during the cultural transformation.
3) Invest in Data Infrastructure
At this point, you should have a clear picture of your data goals and the path that gets you there. Build a robust technical infrastructure that meets the logistical requirements to enable a data-driven culture. There is a wide variety of digital data tools; you just have to choose the right combination that aligns with your data processes. Determine a standard version and source of “true data” and design the IT framework around these principles.
4) Establish Data Accessibility
Open up all the available channels and tools to collect, analyze and access data. To be truly data-driven, every department must play its part in exploiting accessible data and supplying insightful information to a centralized data pool. For instance, product and service developers could use data generated by the sales and marketing teams to optimize delivery and design. Keep an open information pipeline with built-in feedback loop systems that collectively benefit every aspect of the enterprise.
5) Utilize Your Data
Encourage all departments to draw insights from data, and be a leading example by making executive decisions that reflect facts and figures. Sometimes it may seem counter-intuitive to follow new patterns and ideas, but accurately interpreted data can never mislead. Besides, this is the whole point of shifting to a data-driven culture – to unlearn old ways and embrace new decision-making techniques based on indisputable knowledge.
Developing and implementing a data strategy is pointless if your organization lacks the determination, know-how and capacity to capitalize on data. A data-driven culture brings everyone on board, and empowers the organization to extract and leverage helpful insights from information systems, propelling the business to new heights and digital standards.
To jumpstart your transformation, Softlanding can help you put data at the center of your organization by building your data foundation and empower your teams with analytics.
Contact us if you want to learn more.