In our previous blogpost, we discussed the importance of fostering an impactful data culture in optimizing a company’s overall performance. While data is undoubtedly instrumental in sharpening key decisions and producing impressive results, it comes with its own specific challenges. A study conducted on Big Data and AI Strategy by New Vantage Partners showed that people and processes constituted about 95% of the challenges posed to a data culture.

Many companies tend to implement large-scale organisational changes in terms of recruitment and professional developmental practices. While these are certainly important, they also tend to operate on a macro-level, and therefore take a longer time to yield results. In order to develop a truly data-driven culture, one should focus on embedding small but effective steps that can be incorporated at every level of the organisation.

Here are a few pointers to tackle common data cultural challenges:

Ensure that data is secure and easily accessible to employees: It is vital for organisations to have a sound infrastructure in place where users can access quality data. According to Forbes, changing mindsets have enabled “IT and BI teams to become less transactional and more strategic”, thereby resulting in these pioneers becoming guardians of appropriate and secure data practices. Their knowledge can serve as the foundation of a solid data culture, whereby resources are readily available, safe and reliable.

Embed data into your company culture, one meeting at a time: A Harvard Business Review Survey found that 71% of senior managers found meetings inefficient. A typical meeting often results in employees investing a lot of time and effort in producing power points and charts, but a lack of systematic planning and coordination renders them unproductive. A solution to this would be a data-driven meeting, whereby all the data needed is fed to a common, shared dashboard. If built correctly, information can flow directly into the dashboard, thereby structuring the agenda for each weekly meeting. This not only simplifies the process, but also makes it clearer and more goal driven.

Encourage inter-departmental interactions: Employees often move only within their respective departments and do not collaborate with others. It is essential for there to be inter-departmental collaborative initiatives for people to understand and value the positions of other stakeholders. Having diverse teams with unique skillsets is of no use unless there is active communication among them. This would not only be instrumental in breaking barriers, but also useful in nurturing a data-driven culture where each department’s role is demystified to another, thereby oiling the company’s professional machinery.

Align data with business goals: It is crucial that data is not simply collected for the sake of it but put to good use by the organisation. It is vital that data-centric goals are set and the right KPIs are tracked. From conversion rates to other metrics, data should be used in a manner that is profitable to the organisation. From engineering to finance, sales and project management teams, data should be embedded into the very core of all departmental and organisational tasks.

Assess skillsets and discrepancies to take measures to educate employees: Employees need to feel comfortable using data to make decisions. It is thus critical for all employees across the company’s board have the necessary skills and expertise to study data and apply it. The right tools need to be provided for them to be data literate. By having a list of necessary metrics to track for each department and a system in place where people can feel free to ask questions, the company can normalise data to employees, thereby making them more confident in employing it.

Through the above points, it is evident that tackling challenges posed by a data-driven culture requires a long-term plan of procedures in place to make data native to the organisation. However, if implemented correctly, it can go a long way in driving a data culture with minimal roadblocks along the way.

If you require any insights on tackling the challenges posed by a data-driven culture in your organisation, do feel free to drop us an email: David.fitzpatrick@clearstrategy.ie