Today, most businesses know that to stay competitive and succeed in an evolving business environment, they need to use their data more intelligently across the enterprise. But a company’s data is only as good as its people’s willingness and ability to use it to make informed business decisions. Beyond having the data to draw from, and the technology that supports it, establishing a data-driven culture is the single most important thing you can do to propel your business on a trajectory of growth that’s fueled by fact-based decisions.
With that said, a vast majority of businesses do not yet have a data culture in place. They know their data is an important business driver, and they know they need to get buy-in from their people to use the data. What many don’t know, however, is how to get there.
While establishing an enterprise-wide data culture may seem like a daunting undertaking, it doesn’t have to be. At the end of the day, it comes down to influencing the mindset and shifting the behaviors of your people around how they view and use data.
Four steps to establishing a data-driven culture
- Start at the top: Business leaders with the strongest data-driven cultures are those who lead by example. They set the expectations for themselves, the business, and the employees that comprise the organization and demonstrate behaviors that are consistent with those expectations. The example set by the few at the top can have a profound ripple effect that cascades down through your organization, which will create a profound shift in your enterprise-wide norms.
- Articulate the relationship between data and business operations: Data touches every employee in your organization—regardless of function. The common perception, however, is that data is only important to data techies or IT staff. By showing team members how data solves problems at all levels, you correct the misconception that data is purely technical—and give them a reason to care about why and how it should be used to power business decisions, support their respective functions, and even power their professional success. In essence, you’re creating the “why” behind the data for team members.
- Boost data-related knowledge and skills: With an intrinsic understanding of the value of data, employees need to become data literate on how to access, use, and interpret data to make those decisions. This does not mean that every employee needs to be a data expert. Boosting data literacy across your organization will mean different things to different people. It’s all about establishing a certain level of knowledge about how data should be used by employees according to their respective roles.
- Have the right tools: Employees’ willingness and ability to embrace data and use it to power decisions is largely dependent on how easily they can access, manipulate, and make sense of the data. Use technology that offers a single version of the truth, with automation capabilities, interactive dashboards, and easy-to-read reports that make data accessible and understandable for even your non-technical team members.
With a data-driven culture in place, you will empower employees to make decisions based on fact and not a gut feeling—which will ultimately improve outcomes, give you a stronger competitive foothold in the market, and support sustainable business growth.
If you’re curious about how to establish a data culture, J2 can help. We are experts in all things data, and we can help you infuse data into every aspect of your culture and processes.