Infusing data culture into an organization

One of the biggest mistakes companies can make today is leaving the business value of their data on the table. According to the NewVantage Partners’ 2019 Big Data and AI Executive Survey of C-level executives, most corporate data is not being exploited to its full advantage:

  • 72% stated that they don’t yet have an established data culture
  • 53% indicated that they don’t treat data as a business asset
  • 52% admit they are currently not competing on data and analytics

Today, data no longer represents just a “nice-to-have” competitive advantage; it’s evolved to become a critical factor in the health of a business. As businesses have moved through a global pandemic situation, the ability to quickly and smoothly pivot based upon market and customer data has often literally made the difference between the life and death of a business.

Data-first gets results

In the past year, forward-thinking companies have been reporting significant gains as a result of their data-first business models:

  • 41% improvement in time to market
  • 89% improvement in customer retention
  • 45% improvement in customer retention

These organizations didn’t just flip a switch and have a thriving data culture, though. There are four distinctive stages on the road to data-first.

Stage I: Data-aware is where most companies start out –and some, unfortunately, remain. These organizations have an awareness of what data can do for them, but they’re not sure where to start. To move past this stage, it’s important to determine precisely what you want to do with your data.

Stage II: Data-adopting is a risky time when a company has begun to use data strategically—but often ends up with unsatisfying results due to data biases and errors. To avoid this, earmark a team of engineers and developers to review and monitor data collection processes to correct errors and prevent statistical bias.

Stage III: Data-mature organizations have become data-driven and have a full understanding of how they are using data and why. They’re no longer playing guessing games when it comes to strategy, and they always know what next steps should be.

Stage IV: Data-leading companies have fully embraced data culture and are moving faster and stronger—and with more success—than ever before. They’ve also become familiar with the limitations and pitfalls of a “data-only” mindset and can confidently incorporate human instincts into their strategies as well.


Roadmap for building a data culture:

There are building a strong, data-first culture in any company is a process. Upfront, it’s essential to align company leadership with the new data-first business priorities. Ensure that leaders from across the organization align on the most pressing business needs and identify where the organization should be focusing its resources around data.

This is achieved by:

  1. Building the business model: Creating a data leadership committee and prioritizing the highest-value business problems;
  2. Running the strategy: Developing accurate, unbiased databases to support guiding metrics; and
  3. Expanding the utilization: Redeploying and targeting data resources, and extending the visibility into metrics

Next, build data sources to address business-critical decision points. Let metrics guide prioritization of your data efforts and teams, and build data sources to respond to the most highest-priority business questions.

Now it’s time to grow value with specific use cases. This creates immediate value and builds engagement for priority use cases by sharing key data insights through dashboards and data visualizations.

The final step in the journey to data-first is to promote widespread data discovery.

The goal of this step is to ensure that people at all levels of the organization have the confidence and the knowledge to follow the data discovery cycle on their own. With little direction, they should now be able use data insights to drive business decisions.

Going data-first? Let’s chat!

Today, making your data work harder for your business is essential to remaining competitive in a dynamic, sometimes volatile marketplace. It helps you get the most from your strategies, and enables you to remain flexible and pivot when needed.

If you have a goal to moving toward a data-first business model in 2021, contact us for a free consultation. Our data scientists will assess your needs and help you decide whether an analytics solution can help you meet your strategic goals.

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