The past 30 years are a testament to the transformative power of data and how it has enabled the rise and fall of corporations, multinationals and business empires.
In North America alone, multiple Silicon Valley-based companies have time and time again demonstrated game-changing commercial successes enabled by their data-driven methodologies.
According to Accenture and MIT research, 92 percent of high performing companies have experienced a significant return-on-investment by using data for decision-making. Globally, the race is on for organizations to become data-driven either to acquire market dominance or merely to survive in this rapidly changing business landscape driven by technology.
A data-driven organization has a well-articulated vision, an embedded data-based culture, high-quality and easily-accessible data located in a central platform, a data-literate workforce and well-defined decision-making processes.
However, despite the various literature, technologies and tools available out there, it continues to be puzzling why many companies, especially the ones with traditional business models, are still struggling to become data-driven.
Starting with your people
To me, for a company to be data-driven, the individuals within the organization must be invested in becoming one as well. As more organizations embark on or continue their transformational data journey, I have observed that very often not enough focus is placed on the most important component of all: people.
It is imperative that the mindset and the culture of the people within the company are ready to be transformed and that the whole organization understands the value of data and analytics. At the end of the day, it will be people who will use and operationalize the new processes and tools; it will be people who will have to learn new ways of working and getting into the habit of using data to support daily decision-making.
Collectively, it will be people, processes and technology which can bring competitive advantage for organizations to be able to successfully compete in the marketplace. However, change is never easy especially for humans. We are known for our lack of enthusiasm for doing things differently, for changing our ways, thinking and habits.
So how then can you become data-driven and help your organization grow?
Keep a flexible, inquisitive mind and be adaptable to change. Be curious about the world beyond your organization and do not be afraid to change the way you work. The world is changing fast and you need to change with it or risk being left behind.
Understand the value of data and know that it will not replace your own thinking but will rather support it. Learn from successful data-driven companies. Attend data and analytics courses to further enhance your data education.
Be aware of the data available around you, understand what they mean and how you can use them to support your evidence-based decision making.
Learn how to leverage the data discovery and visualization tools which can help you generate insights from data and apply them in your daily work. There a plenty of tools out there which are tailored for the non-technical crowd.
Contribute to data-driven initiatives. Document your projects, activities and update your data trackers regularly. Follow data governance rules properly as ample and quality data is needed to generate quality insights.
Share your lessons learned with people around you and help steer your organization’s data journey to success. Some people just need a little dose of inspiration to turn them into believers.
While data and analytics have progressed beyond just catchy buzzwords for the business arena to becoming essentials for business sustainability, the technology and methodologies are swiftly evolving as well. At the same time equal focus should be given to people, who will be the users of the tools and will be the ones who can ultimately transform data into insights, insights into decisions and decisions into action.
If you have any further thoughts on getting your people to be become data-driven, do share them with me.
Jamill Del Rosario is DKSH’s Director of Group Information Innovation based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is responsible for the Group-wide data and analytics strategy and implementation with a focus on business efficiency and growth through information innovation.