Five steps to developing a data-driven culture in your organization

Shiran Krasnov

2021-01-20

5 min read

1. Assessing the current state

Any cultural change should begin with an understanding of the existing culture or belief even before attempting the change. A key component in developing a data-driven culture is changing the way people think about data.

In many organizations the data collection process is complicated and ineffective. Many times it’s about filling out forms, complex systems that are inaccessible to the users and bureaucracy. All of this makes employees think of data as an inhibiting and even impeding mechanism. Therefore, the first step is to make it clear to everyone that data should be used to achieve a goal – and not be a goal in and by itself, as well as create a simple and effective process.

The top goal is that the decision making in a team/an organization will be based on existing data and not intuition (or the loudest voice in the room). And the first step in achieving this goal is to define the goals of the team and a way to measure them. In other words, what are the KPIs of the team?

2. Creating one central data storage

You should create one central data storage that will be the key source of data for the employees and analysts. By having one central place one can better ensure data integrity and recognize data anomalies or missing data easier. A common expression for this is “Single Source of Truth”. 

3. A professional team of analysts

Collecting data is just one step along the way. A team/an organization that wants to be data-driven must enlist the help of technical and experienced analysts who can support the process. The analysts team should be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the data storage, understanding the data, analyzing and visualizing it. Good analysts will act as mediators between the huge data collection and the decision makers. This can be done by analyzing and finding practical insights. Decisions makers can explore the possible alternatives available based on the data.

4. Sharing the data with everyone

The next step is direct and simple access to data and ensuring that everyone understands what the data is telling us.

A common complaint in many organizations is that employees in various positions struggle to obtain even the most basic information. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that there is a direct and simple access to the data (for whoever needs the access). But it is not enough, with the access to data must come good training that will help strengthen the data literacy. Every employee must be trained to understand the concepts relevant to the field, understand the data presented and understand the conclusions driven from it.

5. Motivation for action

After taking all the steps written above, it is important to make sure that any strategic decision or action will be data driven, literally driven by data. It may sound as a tautology but it is important to understand. Being data driven means that you are in the passenger seat, the DATA is DRIVING you.

And if I can give an extra bonus point – start small! any cultural change can (and even should) start small. with one project, with one KPI, with one small data source (sometimes a simple Excel file will do the work). 

Once you have one successfully completed cycle and you will see the success that has been achieved, it will lead you to expand this into more aspects, more and more projects, to the whole team and to the whole organization.

This is a guest blog post written by Shiran Krasnov, Data Analyst and a Blogger. Shiran believes in data’s power to make the invisible – visible.

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