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Monday, July 18 2022

How to Become a More Data-Driven Organization

July 18, 2022

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: Every company needs to become a data company in order to survive. In our interview series, How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level,” I interviewed over 100 leaders and heard this trend on repeat. I also heard interesting insights around the challenges that companies face when making a shift to become more data-driven.

Don’t have time to read all 100 interviews? I’ve summarized the top two challenges and the top two solutions to becoming a more data-driven organization.

The Top Two Challenges

Company-Wide Data Literacy

You have a data team — great! But does your customer success team use data? How about your creative team? To be truly data-driven, every member of your organization should understand how to use data to make decisions within their role, and have some ability to do it themselves.

Traci Gusher, EY Americas Data and Analytics Leader, explained that upskilling needs to extend beyond your data team to your entire organization:

Jay Franklin, Vice President of Enterprise Data and Analytics at First Tech Federal Credit Union, added:

Investing in data-literacy doesn’t mean that everyone needs to know Python or SQL, but everyone should know the basics of data and how to ask data-minded questions. Kristopher Lazzaretti, Executive Vice President at FMCG Direct by Deluxe, shares more on this, saying:

Information Silos & Disorganization

The data engineering team keeps their data here, while the analytics team does their work there, and the leadership team needs the results in another place. Data is everywhere. The good news is, you’re leveraging data across your organization. The bad news is, when data is disorganized at scale, context breaks down and there’s no single source of truth.

Yaron Morgenstern, CEO at Glassbox shares the challenges of getting different departments on the same page:

John Cheng, CEO at Baotris adds that disparate access and tools also create challenges:

In addition to different teams using different tools and operating with different priorities is the issue of the access itself. Raanan Eran, the Founder and CEO of FORTVISION, addresses this point, saying:

The Top Two Solutions

Data Access & Understanding for All

Giving employees access to data, and providing resources for them to understand that data was the top solution that 100+ leaders shared in order to become a more data-driven organization.

To break down silos, Shama Hyder, Founder and CEO of Zen Media, advocates for more data-driven collaboration across technical and creative roles:

Santhosh Keshavan, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Voya Financial, Inc., also believes in empowering everyone with access to data, but reminds us that it’s important to keep data management more centralized:

Will Yang, who leads growth at Instrumentl, adds that showing is more powerful than telling, and that by educating more of your team to use data, they will see the benefits for themselves:

Leverage your Leaders

Driving change requires leadership and trust. Leaders should talk about data often and repeat the message across all communication channels. If leaders set the expectations around data — and follow those expectations themselves — your team will follow suit.

Verl Allen, CEO of Claravine shares how the C-suite can be an example and provide an environment for success:

Leveraging internal champions is another strategy that Nasim Khoshkhou, SVP, Analytics and Data at Synchrony has used:

In addition to walking the talk, leaders also need to invest in solutions that foster cross-functional collaboration. Ishaan Nerurkar, Founder & CEO at LeapYear, shares more on this, saying:

Get Your Team on the Same Page

Making the shift to becoming a more data-driven organization takes deliberate effort and time. Leaders across all industries and sizes agree on a few tips to help set you up for success:

  • Treat data as a skill for all: Whether it’s providing training opportunities for your current employees or changing the way you hire, treating data as a respected and needed skill will more quickly get your team on the data train.
  • Take a top-down approach: Lead by example and make data part of every conversation from the top. The more your leaders rely on data and less on gut instinct, the more likely your team will follow suit.
  • Invest in technology that enables data-driven collaboration: Collaborative data platforms like Noteable can help make data a more transparent and collaborative experience by bringing together everyone in your organization on the same page. Break down silos and create an organized data experience by investing in technologies that enable data-driven work.