Becoming a data-driven organization should be on the top of your list. Data provides the lifeblood to a company—data analysis should be the primary foundation for decisions and offers perspectives that ensure business survival. Lots of advice focuses on what tools you need to become data-driven, but there’s a more important element to consider.
Leading your organization to data-driven status is like building a primitive community. It connects each part of your organization and makes data domains “family members” rather than a static assets. With this fundamental shift to building a community rather than adopting a tool, companies have a much better success rate in their digital transformation. Here’s how to become data-driven by building a community and why it matters.
What is the meaning of data-driven?
Before communities can form, they need a common idea to unite them. Data-driven means that a company collects data, uses it intelligently, and data becomes the center of all operations. Data-driven advantages mean companies have complete insight into what’s happening in the business environment and can make operations more efficient.
So, what is a data-driven business? It’s a business that embraces data to make decisions. It understands that data domains aren’t static, but living, moving resources designed to uncover insights and help businesses deeply understand their customers. Even more importantly, a data-driven business establishes a community culture of data. Here’s how this community forms.
Establish an identity
A community has a driving identity—we belong to the same family, for example, or we all love to collect stamps. So what is a data-driven business? A business knitted together by everyone’s appreciation and dedication to listening to the data.
This is the most important step. Companies need to shift their entire workplace culture toward one that:
- Embraces data as a daily practice: Instead of working with insights once a quarter to forecast potential paths, data should operate as another team member, giving daily insights.
- Encourages data literacy: Working with data is no longer just an IT feature. Instead, all departments need to get hands-on with the data relevant to their operations.
- Takes a “good enough” approach: Data-driven businesses don’t operate on perfection. Instead, everyone understands that small changes and experiments build into something big.
In the same way, teams must understand the identity of their data domains. Data domains are groups of data coming from the same source–think product data, sales data, or manufacturing data. These “family members” have clear identities and can drive team decisions through specific input.
Companies may be tempted to skip this step because they already have management and C-suite in place. However, data-driven businesses also need a different type of leadership.
Data leaders exist in all departments of an organization. They’re closer to the action and can be data’s “biggest fans.” They help create a feeling of excitement around this new approach to operations—one that doesn’t rely on a top-down approach but instead embraces the expertise already in each department.
Leadership like this shifts the entire culture of the business to one of closer collaboration and more agile innovation approaches. It ensures that all team members understand the value data bring to their work. Once team members see that data benefits everyone and not just the top echelons of leadership, a data community forms.
Stay in touch
You can’t remain close to those you love by ignoring them. A relationship to data follows the same rule. Not only should you reach out to your data to gain insights, but you should collaborate and share with other members of your organization.
Think of two families competing on a game show. Family A only speaks to each other once a quarter, sometimes once a year, while Family B checks in every day. When it’s time to answer questions about each other, which family has the right answer? Family B, of course.
Data is the same way. Teams need to relearn how to approach analytics. The historical act of looking at data that’s three to six months old to make forecasts about what’s going to happen in six months won’t work out. The answers will be inaccurate because the data is old.
Instead, checking in with data pipelines in real-time ensures that answers are as transparent as possible. Data domains become part of a regular conversation. Then regular collaboration with teams and other departments ensures no one has “old” answers and everyone’s up to date on the latest activities. This builds a critical component of collaboration.
Making data FAIR encourages this vital collaboration:
- Findable: Release data from storage and silos
- Accessible: Establish intelligent governance so that all members can access the right data for their queries and tasks.
- Interoperable: Data tools and data types should work together because it allows collaboration across departments.
- Reusable: Data isn’t a one-and-done project. A data culture makes use of its full potential.
Just as people grow and change, a data solution should also. You can’t expect the same data solution to work after new stages of business life. Adaptability allowed early communities to thrive during humanity’s path, and it will provide a foundation for innovation in business operations.
People change. Families change, and data changes. This culture of adaptability allows teams to try new things and fail. It encourages departments to play with what data offers. Since there’s no one path to digital transformation, adaptability within your community helps establish data at the heart of everything the organization does.
What is a data-driven business? It’s community-based
A company with a strong community culture of data turns to data domains to form plans and make changes as necessary. Instead of relying on gut feelings alone or continuing to do what’s always been done, companies have a closer understanding of what’s happening in their business environment. They can rely on their community, i.e., team members, to make the right decisions.
Data is a connective tissue, a unified idea that unites the business community. Organizations need to build and foster this strong culture of data to succeed in digital transformation. With nurturing and commitment, even the most traditional teams can become members of this new culture.
Solutions for becoming data-driven in business and culture
InsyteGlobal’s data analysis helps clients get the most out of their data. It confirms conclusions teams see with their own analysis and offers unique perspectives from data experts. Discover how these advanced analytics can cement your digital transformation and put your teams on the path to becoming data-driven.