“In God we trust, all others must bring data”
– W. E Deming
In a world where companies – big or small have invested big money in multiple systems – ERP, CRM, POS, Social Media, Sales Force Automation, etc. to collect data, very few have a strong data-driven culture and data is rarely the universal basis for decision making.
Becoming truly data-driven requires changing mindsets, attitudes, and habits — embedding data into the identity of the organization. People have to want to use data and encourage others to do the same.
A shift in mindset presents a daunting challenge. And it takes more than just technology to truly set a data driven culture. In this article, I list down seven data commandments to help us create and sustain a culture with data at its core.
- It starts from the top
Company culture is always set Top Down. Leaders of companies with strong data-driven cultures tend to always take decisions anchored in data. This is routine or normal and not exceptional. Remember employees always emulate or display the culture set/demanded by their leaders.
- Choose KPI’s and Metrics with care
Leaders can exert a powerful effect on behaviour by artfully choosing what to measure and what metrics they expect employees to use. These can be quantitative or qualitative, meaning that, depending on the leader’s and the types of KPI’s chosen, they can both numerically evaluate the processes and measure their quality.
- Fix basic data-access issues quickly
By far the most common complaint is that employees in different parts of a business struggle to obtain even the most basic data. Curiously, this situation persists despite a spate of efforts to democratise access to data within companies. It’s impossible for a data-driven culture to take root, let alone flourish. Grant read access to your employees for the data that they need…make it easy for them to access the same.
- Impart Training
Train your employees in management of their data so that they can better handle data. It will be more effective to train staff in specialized analytical concepts and tools so they are capable to do self-analysis and not wait for their MIS/IT teams to share reports with them. This will make them pro-active and help them to take data driven decisions.
- Develop Talent
Organizations should prioritize data skills in recruiting, developing, and retaining talent. At the end of the day, a Data Culture is made up of data people. Even with the best technology and processes, if people don’t understand how to work with data, they can’t be data driven.
People support each other and develop a sense of belonging. Most problems worth solving with data aren’t limited to a single team or line of business. They require data from multiple systems and collaboration across many teams. In a Data Culture, people have a shared purpose—using data to better the organization. Together, people amplify the impact they can have with data.
- Invest in Dashboards
Business dashboards can be a powerful tool for leaders. Dashboards summarize information and present an easily digestible view of business performance to help decision makers. Effective dashboard use can have a dramatic impact on business performance. Dashboards keep everyone on the same page and put the most important facts about your business where they can have most impact.
When data is viewed as a source of personal growth and career development, people are curious and willing to challenge their own assumptions with data—and they’re open to being challenged by others. As all of these data-driven practices become habits, perceptions change, and people start to associate data with improvement, success, and growth.