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What is a Data-Driven Culture—and Why do You Need One?

Data and analytics is the future of business innovation and growth and a key contributor to digital transformation. In fact, according to Forrester, insights-driven organizations grow at an average of more than 30% annually.1

Your data is a treasure trove of insight that can help you spot trends, uncover correlations, and make more profitable decisions. And though as many as 90% of businesses have incorporated data into their corporate strategies,2 many fail to use it to affect meaningful business growth.

Where is the disconnect? What differentiates those that are using their data to drive profitable business decisions and those that are not?

They don’t have a data-driven culture in place.

What is a data-driven culture?

For an organization’s data to realize its full potential, it must be infused into every aspect of the business. For that to happen, everyone in the organization—regardless of role or hierarchical level—must be data literate and embrace a strong belief system around the value of data. Having the data and the software tools to process and harness the data are not enough. It’s up to the people to bring that data to life, using it to make day-to-day decisions in all facets of the business.

Why is a data-driven culture important?

Building a data-driven culture has been shown to help businesses succeed in the age of digital transformation. By viewing data as a strategic asset, making it available and accessible across the enterprise, and actively promoting its use, businesses will be poised to fuel their growth with decisions that are based in fact and evidence, rather than assumption and past experience.

Research from Forrester revealed that organizations that use data to inform their decision-making are almost three times more likely to achieve double-digit growth. And according to IDC, data-leading organizations who embrace a strong data culture realize:

  1. Greater competitive differentiation
  2. Faster time-to-market
  3. Increased profits
  4. Greater employee satisfaction3

With the power to speed up the decision-making process consistently across the organization, a healthy data-driven culture fosters better collaboration across teams, boosts productivity, and drives greater efficiencies—all of which contribute to business growth. The consistent use of data takes the guesswork out of decisions, helps close data gaps, and ensures decisions are aligned with the business strategy.

It’s important to note, however, that having a data-driven culture doesn’t mean that everyone in the organization needs to be a data scientist with a mastery of deep analytics practices. But they do need to be able to think and act with data in a way that is relevant to their function to support the overarching success of the business.

Data is everywhere—and it’s growing more ubiquitous every day. It’s the new currency. But that currency won’t hold much value until everyone in the organization embraces it, understands it, and uses it. By building a culture where the people are willing to act on data—and not gut instinct—your business will strengthen its core competencies, minimize costly errors, and ultimately power innovation, transformation, and growth.