Great Data Stories Will Always Be About People

How to Build a Data Culture

How to build a data culture for the greatest return on your data investment

Earlier this year, business management consulting firm NewVantage released a report looking at big data and artificial intelligence. According to the report, while investment in data is at an all time high, some companies aren’t seeing the desired results from their data investments.

NewVantage’s annual report includes the results of a survey of more than 60 tech executives. Ninety-two percent of respondents said they are increasing the pace of their investment in big data and AI. However, only 62 percent say they have seen measurable results from their investments in big data and AI, a decrease from NewVantage’s 2018 report. Additionally, only 48 percent say their organization competes on data and analytics.

The report indicates that company culture could be responsible for meager results at some companies. Many respondents who participated in the survey say they still don’t see a companywide commitment to data-driven organizational processes and cultures. Only 31 percent have a “data-driven organization,” and only 28 percent have  a “data culture.” The report’s authors speculate that these survey responses illustrate that technology isn’t the problem—people are.

Cultural challenges remain the biggest obstacle to business adoption. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said that business adoption of big data and AI initiatives remain a major challenge. Ninety-five percent of the executives cited cultural challenges as one of the factors holding them back.

More than other things in the business world, data strategy relies on support and sponsorship. In order for a data strategy to be successful, it’s important for companies to promote a data first culture and mindset. Here’s what you need to know about building a data culture within your organization to ensure you see the greatest return on your data investment.

Top Down

There must be a diligent and concerted effort from those in leadership positions to ensure your data strategy doesn’t fall by the wayside. Those companies who have the most demonstrable data success stories are those with someone working behind the scenes to guide that effort. In order to get the most value from your data strategy, it’s important to have someone driving it at the highest level. 

Your organization must have someone either from an executive sponsorship standpoint or someone with a data first mindset that is evangelizing within the company. That person can have a background in technology and data or not, but either way, this employee will be responsible for ensuring data is a part of everyday business activities, whether it’s collecting information, analyzing data or using it to inform decisions.

Company-Wide

Having a data evangelist spearheading your data efforts isn’t enough to ensure success by itself. When initially launching a data strategy and culture, many companies find themselves with plenty of team members that don’t really have a lot of experience with data or share the right mindset. However, in order to really be successful, your organization must see company wide adoption of its data strategy. While change is always hard, your success depends on how much people have embraced the data strategy.

If you don’t have that collaboration and employees embracing the concept and approach fully, you won’t end up with a great data story. However, in-order to ensure the most buy-in you must take the appropriate steps to implement employee training and learning opportunities so that every member of your team has the tools they need. Employees must have a full understanding of those data processes integral to their job and the benefits data will have for them.

If you want to begin implementing a new data strategy and building the appropriate culture around it, contact Treehouse Technology Group today. We specialize in producing great data stories and helping companies make the most of their investment.

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