In my role at RevGen, I’ve worked with many organizations that want to be more data-driven but don’t know where to start. My experience has also taught me that becoming a data-driven organization requires an ongoing focus on enabling people to be successful in achieving this goal.
Benefits of a Data-Driven Culture
Organizations that are data-driven realize many benefits including:
- Greater business value realized from data assets
- Deeper insights leading to new revenue opportunities or cost savings
- An empowered workforce that thrives on leveraging data for their jobs
Key Principles of a Data-Driven Culture
- People play a central role in driving business value from data assets. Sure, technology is essential, but people actually drive the value by taking action with data. Empower your people by defining a common data lexicon within your organization. This means defining key data sets by domain; and clearly, with agreement from all stakeholders, identifying key metrics by domain. Removing uncertainty in language allows all employees to speak a common data language. Lastly, encourage employees to utilize data when making business persuasions. Don’t accept actions on hunches, require cases to be made with data. Your next generation of employees are already wired this way.
- Driving business value from data assets is a top organizational priority. Many companies, established before the current era of digital/data native organizations emerged, make the mistake of underestimating the value of their data assets and thus treat data as just another technology, not something key to success. That may have been true in the days of old, but today advances in technology let companies large and small mine data that drives business value through deeper insights, automation, or compliance. This makes data a key business asset with the power to benefit the organization similar to Intellectual Property, Brand Image, etc.
- Understand that the data is yours so get to know it. Make understanding and appreciating data a priority for all employees. Frequently educate and demonstrate how the company is making data a mission critical element and share quantifiable examples of how the organization is getting more from data. Champion and celebrate the wins, successes, and impacts on the business. For example, share how your financial data was leveraged to build machine learning models that identified fraud and put a stop to financial losses.
- Identify, designate, and empower data champions in your organization. Data champions help everyone adopt the language of data, cite data, use data, and promote data. This expands on the “train the trainer” concept and incorporates change management techniques into evolving your organization into a data-driven organization.
There’s no doubt that building a data-driven culture takes an all-inclusive approach. Time and effort are musts, and executive support is essential for success. The benefits far outweigh any drawbacks because the power of data has been proven. Start your transformation into a data-driven culture today…your competitors certainly are.
Ian Foley co-leads RevGen’s Analytics and Insights practice and is passionate about helping his clients along the journey to build a data-driven culture.