While there is a surge of business intelligence and analytics tools in the market which has led us to a sea of data-driven possibilities, only 8% of companies who employ these achieve analytics at scale.

The trick to becoming an efficient data-driven culture is in realizing that it takes far more than just technology and about ingraining data into the pulse of the organisation through changing mindsets and practices. When it comes to developing a successful data culture, there are some things one may need to keep in mind:

While data may act as the cement to your organisational structure, people are still the bricks: If companies are creating products or services for humans, it is essential that data is understandable to people. Each email, presentation or meeting serves as an opportunity to communicate insights on data-driven wins. While this doesn’t imply that digital marketers need to turn into analysts, it does mean that they should be armed with the correct data to ensure better ROI. Ultimately, Hive and Spark are of no use if they aren’t demystified and presented to people in a manner that is easily grasped by them. It is important to keep in mind that while algorithms don’t add value, people do.

Data-oriented information should trickle down to the grassroots levels of the organisation from the c-suite: It is essential for top-level executives to be well-versed with the importance of data culture in the smooth functioning of the company. It is also crucial that their communication with the organisation on these subjects is not an occasional pronouncement, but a consistent flow of information. Through requesting or disseminating data to different industries, the c-suite can lay emphasis on its importance. According to Takehiko Nagumo, managing executive officer of Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting, “A clear understanding among the board is the starting point of everything. We provide our board educational sessions, our directors ask questions, and all that further deepens their understanding”.

If decision culture is king, data culture sits at its throne: Having huge quantities of data without using them accurately in decision making processes is futile. It is best to interact with leaders of key business units and assess what information they’d require to make daily decisions. Once departments start to leverage analytics specific to their most common decisions, they’d be able to derive other necessary insights. When key business decisions are derived from data, it contributes to more structured and driven strategies, thereby reaping better results.

If you wish to drive data culture forward, you need catalysts to spur the process: The Harvard Business Review found that 91% of business leaders surveyed agreed that data is critical to business transformation initiatives, yet only 20% rate their organisations as adept in this area. It is necessary for executives to identify and recruit data catalysts who can then relay analytics to other teams. An ideal data catalyst would consider various factors to drive data culture forward in an organisation: data, analytics, technology, people, culture. Through creating analytics experiences and shedding light on varying aspects of business intelligence for different groups, data literacy is sure to rise with time.

Uniting talent and culture help extract the best results: It is vital is that one ensures the right talent is employed to suit your data culture. It is for a company to decide how to strike a balance between onboarding employees and upskilling existing ones. It is imperative that individuals possess the right skills and business acumen. Rob Casper, chief data officer of JP Morgan Chase believes that it is essential to have people who bring different things to the table. Hence, notwithstanding which industry an individual may have worked in before, it is essential that they are hired based on their unique skillset.

The best way to operate is to keep the data within the walls of the company and share it sparingly: There have been discussions about a potential shift into digital ecosystems, a highly user-centric model, where one can enjoy an end-to-end experience of services through a single access point. The idea is to have an expansive range of the best data and analytics assets open and available to them. Most data leaders, however, believe that it is in their best interests to keep the processes in-house. While many of them are open to collaborations, they prefer to rely more on existing skillsets than contractors. Experts in the field value data as a company’s most prized possession, and therefore believe it is best to keep it within the organisation’s walls.

Through the above points, it is evident that bridging human relations with data-oriented knowledge is crucial. Education and communication serve as the pillars of an effective data culture in the twenty-first century.

If you wish to learn more about Clear Strategy’s experience in embedding a culture of data and look into some of our cutting-edge facilities, do reach out to us on david.fitzpatrick@clearstrategy.ie