Although we often focus on the technologies that make big data possible, those technologies fail if people don’t understand the data behind it.
Unfortunately, as found in a large Accenture survey, only 21% of the more than 9,000 people surveyed felt data literate. Without data insights, the data deluge will drown us, rather than transform the way we serve customers or engage employees. So how can we increase data literacy?
Among other sources, Gartner offers a number of suggestions on how CIOs can build a data literacy program for their organizations. Other tips for increasing data literacy throughout the company involve focusing more on data than technology, especially in decision-making processes.
Focus more on data than technology
As an analysis from the MIT Sloan School of Management outlines, it’s important to understand the goal. Data literacy is the ability to read, work, analyze, and argue with data. The emphasis should be on understanding and using the data, and not necessarily on the tools used to ingest or analyze that data.
The foundation of any good data literacy plan is to focus on data, not technology.
Establish data training
With this in mind, the next step is to establish a data skills academy within the organization, preferably with executive support. Rather than trying to instill a general view of the importance of data, the program should be tailored to the particular needs and data sources of a given company.
Similarly, the business should use examples that are cross-functional in nature and make it clear how the data can be useful across the business. Although some of the skills, such as stats or quests, may seem daunting, emphasizing their successful use can make learning them seem desirable and achievable.
Include data in decision-making processes
Next, make sure that data is a key and obvious part of decision making. Data literacy is as much a cultural phenomenon as anything else, and when executives insist on interrogating their own decisions with potentially adverse data, it sends the message that data matters.
This is doubly true if the company puts the data in the hands of employees through dashboards and other means, empowering them to use the data to support or challenge the decisions that are made. In other words, the more managers and other executives demonstrate their reliance on data, the easier it will be to instill a data-driven culture across the board.
To ensure business success, now and in the future, it is imperative to maximize the return on your existing software investment, while innovating and adopting new technologies. Challenges to address to compete in a Hybrid IT world include DevOps, Security, Risk Management and Predictive Analytics. You can learn more about how to address these challenges and innovate at this link.