Is Your Company Actually Data-Driven?

Many organizations aim to become more data-driven, but it is difficult to know where to start. While having Excel spreadsheets and integrating business intelligence tools is a good start, it might not be enough to permeate through the levels of a company.

What do we mean when we say “data-driven”?

Data-driven leadership

How is your executive team currently making strategic decisions? Are there tangible metrics that they’re tracking to evaluate their performance and identify new opportunities? In order for a company to become data driven, it’s critical that top leadership champions the cause and prioritizes concrete results over hunches. While expertise certainly is valuable, many studies show that rudimentary predictive analyses can have similar, if not higher, accuracy. Last year, CaseCrunch challenged lawyers to predict the outcomes of court cases and their AI program beat their prediction accuracy by 20%. This isn’t to say that lawyers will be automated (context is still king, after all), but leveraging predictive algorithms can supplement strategy and improve accountability across an organization.

It’s no longer enough for top leadership to delegate the data responsibilities – executives have to understand how data science can be applied to their industry and how they can leverage it to gain a competitive edge. They have to set the direction of data collection and allocate resources to data storage and infrastructure. Without a good knowledge of the data landscape, it is difficult for the top team to build out a cohesive and current data strategy.

Questions your executive team should be asking

  1. Which decision-makers should be involved in planning a data strategy?
  2. Does your manager or leadership understand data science?
  3. Does your manager or leadership support data science?

Data infrastructure and tools

One of the best ways to bring data analytics to the forefront of your organization is through a company-wide data competition. A data competition is a great opportunity for your current employees to learn how to leverage the data they are familiar with. A data competition usually consists of identifying a business problem with a clear cut objective that teams then try to solve using their data analytics and business intelligence skills. It’s also a great way to identify some of your top talents, highlight the impact that data analytics can have, and improve cross-departmental collaboration.

Key questions your team should be asking

  1. Do we have a written data dictionary or data guidelines that we are using to ensure that our data is standardized and clean?
  2. Is our infrastructure built for scale and is it secure?
  3. What data tools will help us meet our objectives, and do we have staff who will be able to leverage them?

Data workforce capacity

Even if you build a flawless data strategy and have your infrastructure set up, it won’t run without a team of data professionals to execute it. This is typically one of the more challenging aspects for any company. Because data science is still a nebulous field, and it can be hard to determine which employees / candidates have the skills you need, it is imperative to understand your data science goals and data infrastructure in order to guide your hiring and training practices.

Key questions your team should be asking

  1. Do we have a written data dictionary or data guidelines that we are using to ensure that our data is standardized and clean?
  2. Is our infrastructure built for scale and is it secure?
  3. What data tools will help us meet our objectives, and do we have staff who will be able to leverage them?

Laura Nielsen

Laura has rich experience building and deepen the strong foundation in organizational learning and impact measurement. She thinks the learning and development strategy must recognize both employees’ individual talent development needs and the company’s needs in terms of functional team strengths.

 Not ready to talk?

We get it. Creating a swell around data takes a big commitment from everyone at your company. Because of that, we’ve created a toolkit to start a conversation around transforming the way organizations approach data transformation and data training — download it, and let us know if you have any questions. You can always find us at hello@datasociety.com