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Why be data-driven?
Data-driven organizations are far more successful than their lagging peers. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, a data driven organization is 23 times more likely to turn prospects into customers, six times more likely to retain them, and 19 times more likely to generate a profit as a result.
So, if being data-driven leads to these results, you might be wondering why there are still so many organizations lagging behind in this area.
While many factors are involved, one significant variable that often leads to failure is the lack of a data-centric culture. Let’s take a look at why a data-centric culture is so important to the success of a company becoming data driven.
A Data-Centric Culture Gives People Purpose
A data-centric culture needs to be analyzed from three viewpoints
- The management
- The employees
- The organization
If all three of these levels aren’t aligned and there is a lack of understanding regarding the benefits of data science, you will fail.
It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at data science initiatives, or how much data you collect, if people don’t understand what you’re doing, they’ll make your life far more difficult.
What you need to understand is that it’s not necessarily a conscious decision to sabotage your efforts. Far from it, in fact. It’s simply a matter of people shying away from something they don’t understand.
For example, if you give someone the most menial task you can imagine – sorting thousands of straws based on colour – and just tell them to do it, it won’t be long before they’ll look for a way to get out of it. However, if you tell them that the sorting of all those straws is so that they can be sent to disabled children to make them happy and only a human can do it, suddenly, they’ll be incredibly motivated to get the job done.
It’s all about purpose. And building a data-centric culture helps everyone understand the power of data and how it can benefit the organization, the customers, and, of course, them. After all, everyone has a selfish side that wonders how they’ll benefit.
So, in other words, when you build a data-centric culture, you give people purpose, which will motivate them to adopt and support your efforts.
A Data-Centric Culture Energizes People
One of the cornerstones of a data-centric culture is that data is democratized so everyone in the company can access it to complete their daily work, and that the right data strategy is in place. The result tends to be far more energy in the organization as people get excited about what can be done in the innovation that can be achieved.
They begin to see how applying data to business problems can lead to innovation, and how they can now act on new ideas and create value in the process.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that data-driven organizations are far more efficient, allowing people to focus on higher level, value creating tasks, which leads to significant increases in employee engagement, and thereby motivation.
A Data-Centric Culture Speeds Up Adoption
When people understand what you’re trying to achieve with your data initiatives, when they have gained purpose and are energized by your endeavours, you will find that adoption speeds up significantly.
Instead of trying to find ways to avoid change, you will find that many people will rise up as champions to support what you are doing. These champions will help the laggards buy in as well, resulting in an organization that is far more effective.
The key to an effective data-centric culture is to make sure that there is true buy-in from top management. This means that senior management needs to go far beyond making a proclamation.
They need to not only act as role models, but also frequently interact with and show their appreciation for those who have achieved adoption and are leading the charge.
Adopting a data-centric culture might seem overwhelming, but it shouldn’t. To learn more about the value of a data culture and how to start building one in your organization, I urge you to check out mybook “The Decision Maker’s Handbook to Data Science”. I wrote this book to help entrepreneurs, business owners, and other non-technical stakeholders to better understand data science and how to capitalize on it, which is why it is completely non-technical. Also, make sure to check my executive education company, that helps decision makers with such challenges: The Tesseract Academy. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch with me.