By Casey McGuigan
Crucial business data cannot be utilized effectively without the proper analysis and interpretation to act on the valuable intelligence it provides. This has become a potential problem for many companies that struggle to harness their data’s full potential in order to remain competitive. Technology leaders who want to make informed business decisions must embrace a data-driven culture.
By adopting a data-driven approach, mountains of underutilized data can be transformed into valuable insights. According to the Reveal 2023 survey of software developers, the main reasons for using data analytics are to improve productivity (41.6%), increase sales/revenue (39.5%), understand business problems (33%), and make better business decisions (31.8%).
A data-driven culture is essential for any modern business. Here are practical tips on getting started and guidance on how to navigate the challenges for establishing a data-driven culture in your organization.
Understanding data-driven culture
To implement a data-driven culture, you must first understand what data-driven culture is – and educate the rest of your team and organization. A data-driven culture is about making decisions based on data insights and interweaving these insights into your business operations, your team’s processes, and your company’s decisions. When you employ data across all departments via tools that enable fast processing of metrics, you can begin to establish a data-driven culture.
But, more than anything, data-driven culture is a mindset – one in which data is used to inform decision-making at all levels of an organization. It’s not just about looking at numbers and graphs, it’s about using that information to guide strategic choices in day-to-day operations. Gone are the days where you use your gut to make decisions, or the person with the loudest voice in the room makes the calls. Everyone on the team should be using data to make informed, strategic decisions.
And even though some people might think that data-driven culture is just for big companies with tons of resources, even small businesses can benefit from being data-driven. After all, as the saying goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
Techniques and steps to creating a data-driven culture
A data-driven culture empowers everyone in a company to tackle challenges in a smarter way, by using data insights for day-to-day activities. Data can and should be a daily routine for teams because they can avoid risk, correct errors even before they happen and become more competitive overall.
So what are the techniques companies today use to create a data-driven culture? Here are some steps you can take right now.
Keep data top of mind: Always have quick and easy access to your data. Data should be top of mind and readily available for you to access whenever you need it.
Collaborate around data: Data is your biggest asset – and should be a point of conversations among teams. Help data flow organically, within the context of your work so you can enable your team to always have access to key metrics.
Base decisions on data predictions: It sounds a bit science-based, but yes, data can help predict the future. These predictions can then drive decisions on supplying inventory to meet customer demand or launching a new product, for example.
Data tools make data your friend: To create a data-driven culture, you must ensure everyone is comfortable using data. A big part of this strategy is presenting data visually and in terms that every business user can understand. Data analytics tools can transform raw data insights into beautiful dashboards and visualizations that are easy to understand and pull insights from.
Data-driven decision-making is everyone’s game
If you want to foster a data-centric ecosystem, you’ll first need to acknowledge data as an integral part of organizational performance. So, if you’re implementing a strategy for data-driven decision-making, it needs to come from the top down. For a manager, that means creating tasks and projects around data, including your team in data discussions that you deliberately create, involving data in big decisions, etc.
For team members, that means trusting data and learning to incorporate it in your work. Establish a process for viewing, sharing, and discussing data, and make it a priority.
Some steps you can take in helping your team incorporate data into their work:
Foster data visibility: Keep your company’s data in one place with the help of a data catalog, where dashboards can be categorized and easily accessed.
Share and tie data to decisions: You need to be able to easily share the insights and create discussions on a particular campaign, so data is always tied to the company values and goals and can enable team decision-making.
Go from insight to action: Guide your team to understand the need to go from data insights to action and bring these insights to the forefront of your processes.
Always keep data at the forefront and trust it to bring business excellence, because your outcomes depend on it. Cultivating a data-driven culture can improve outcomes, and drive trust and transparency across the organization. New software platforms have made it easier for technology leaders to incorporate a data-driven culture that can inspire innovation and allow businesses to make more accurate decisions and gain a competitive advantage in the current business environment. What matters most for businesses today is not merely collecting data but, rather, knowing how to use it in ways that allow them to achieve their business objectives.
About the author
Casey McGuigan holds a BA in mathematics and an MBA, bringing a data analytics and business perspective to Infragistics over the past decade. Casey is the Product Manager for the Slingshot digital workplace platform and the Reveal embedded analytics software. She is instrumental in Infragistics product development, market analysis and product go-to-market strategy.