We’ve all heard that data has increased, mainly due to the advancement, availability and high usage of technology. Being able to access and understand as much of this data as possible, already indicates the value that someone, or a business, can get out of it. Nowadays, there are a lot of tools available to analyse data, most of which offer Artificial or Cognitive Intelligence to help even further by automating part of the data analysis.
Now imagine, that for every important decision, instead of using gut feeling or experience, one investigates what happened in a similar scenario encountered quite recently or years ago, and also possibly at events happening over the world that might have a business impact directly or indirectly.
Although this is nice at face value, it is very difficult to achieve if one does not appreciate the value of data. Like all aspects of life, it all starts with education. Businesses need to learn how they can start arguing with data, and what investments are required to be able to do so.
What business owners need to understand is that using data to answer questions and build knowledge is not about C-levels only, it is about all levels of employees in the organisation. The more empowered each employee is, the better they can contribute to the organisation’s goals by taking the right decisions aligned with the company’s progress. This does not mean that each employee has access to all of the information. Part of a business intelligence strategy is the ability to govern the data so that only what is relevant to each employee will be accessible. Therefore, Data Literacy is all about using data to ask the right questions, build knowledge, make decisions, and communicate the right knowledge.
Once data literacy is in place, an organisation can exploit a business intelligence investment. By taking advantage of having all data cleaned, standardised, and ready to be easily consumed, analytics can be used to boost an organisation into a leader in its industry. Having the data as the universal language within the company, and maybe even with the customers themselves, an organisation ensures that a single version of the truth is communicated with all stakeholders.
So how can we be data literate?
Don’t worry, there is no need to overhaul your business. You simply need to evolve it by making data a second nature. Some tips to evolve into this is to keep things simple and use a data dictionary to assist users in understanding the data. It is important that data uses the same terms and phrases that the employees already speak. Each analysis should be transparent in what it is showing and its underlying data. Finally, as with anything else, the more you practice the more proficient you become, and do not be afraid to fail. Failing fast is the best way to learn from mistakes and always keep moving forward.
Another tip is to set up a data champion. A data champion can push and promote the data literacy culture within the organisation, and mentor employees with the knowledge that they would be building up through experience and training. The data champion will also be responsible to highlight what can help to make data-driven decisions, rather than those based on gut feeling in some way or another.
The more data literacy is gaining popularity, the more data literacy programs and literature are becoming available. In fact, at iMovo, we offer advisory services to help organisations transform their business and put them in the lead, by identifying investment opportunities in their employees so that everyone can be empowered to make data-driven decisions and contribute towards the organisation’s goals. At the end of the day, the higher the investment in the professional development of the employees, the more value each will give to the company and the more each employee will be assisted in making good decisions.