3 Ways to Develop Data Literacy and Drive a Successful Business Transformation
As more and more organizations evolve their ways of working, data and analytics are increasingly recognized as a critical component of their digitization and transformation efforts.
Recent research by Gartner anticipates that by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention data as a vital enterprise asset, and analytics as an essential competency. Enterprises across a spectrum of industries and of varying sizes have something to gain from its application; be it better management of supply chains, advanced process automation or enhanced decision making. However, while many of the world’s leading organizations are already wielding data and analytics as competitive weapons, there is still a startling number that are either a) discounting its potential, or b) unable to make the necessary cultural shift or commitment to introduce the analytical skills and technology investments to do so.
In order to derive true value from data, employees must first develop the skills to understand and analyze it. Data literacy is an essential part of developing a data-driven approach to transformation, and should not be limited to the immediate team that uses the data. From the C-level to those on the frontline, all employees should know what to do with data when it is shared with them and possess the ability to adequately analyze and interpret a standard table or data chart. On a more advanced level, employees must also consider how to process different types of data, what to do with it and how to identify the best way to store it, considering a variety of factors spanning from: security, scalability, format, translation tools, and location.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 50% of organizations will lack the sufficient data literacy skills to achieve business value. As today’s businesses gain access to more and more information about the people they serve, those who sit on the weaker side of that percentage will quickly fall behind.
Three Steps to Improving Data Literacy in your Organization:
01. Provide Widespread Access to Data
Access to data should be democratized throughout the company. This is not to say that everyone needs to have access to every single number, but they should at least be able to view up-to-date, easy-to-digest reporting that has the potential to increase the quality of their decision making. Providing widespread access to this information enables everyone in the organization do their jobs faster, better and smarter. Providing each team with dashboards that relate to their specific objectives, will make it easier for them to analyze information on a day-to-day basis so that, eventually, it will become second nature.
02. Lead by Example
When attitudes of doubt and dismissal toward data trickle down into the general workforce, creating an operationally excellent organization that is driven by data quickly becomes an impossible task. In order for a business to truly yield the advantages that data and analytics provide, those in positions of influence must lead by example and explain how and why they are doing so . When leaders, up to and including C-level officers, can demonstrate that they trust in data-driven insights during their own decision making process, other members of the workforce will quickly take note.
03. Assess the Capabilities
The first step of creating a data literate workforce is gaining a picture of the current capabilities in each area of the business. A company-wide assessment to identify each employee’s comfort level with data will help to develop an effective education program to make a data-led culture a reality. Gartner defines data literacy as the ability to read, write and communicate data in context; in many ways, becoming data literate is like learning a new language. Organization’s must acknowledge that while some may pick it up as easily as their mother-tongue, for others it will be entirely alien.