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How to Create a Data-Driven Culture in Your Business

October 12, 2018

Technology improves exponentially each year, making data-driven culture increasingly mainstream. Learn how you can build a data-based culture in your company.

The importance of data as a business asset is increasing exponentially. It’s imperative that companies adopt a data-driven business culture.

Data-driven cultures have generated impressive results and high ROI. For example, the NBA recently set all-time records for total attendance. The ticket sales and service department teams used data-driven strategies to achieve this result.

But despite the evident benefits of data-driven decisions, few companies employ this approach. Most explanations have conventional reasons, such as hierarchical decision-making, and the cost of data collection and storage. Recently, trickier issues have emerged, such as data-protection policies and the complexities of Big Data management processing.

Cultural Impediments to Big Data Business Adoption

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Although tools such as AutoML simplify tasks for most businesses, they cannot make your business practices more data-driven. Furthermore, the ROI of data analytics depends more on the culture of the business than the tool’s purpose.

Therefore, a sound data-driven culture must serve as a building block for data-driven success.

Create a Data-Positive Environment

To establish unanimous acceptance for the data-based cultures, you need to create a data-positive environment with smart data and the right strategy.

If data-based decisions are rare in your organization, you have to take the initiative to introduce more data in executive meetings. You can also ask your colleagues to support their ideas and suggestions with relevant data.

The difference between the failure and successes in a data-driven environment is significant. Ineffective strategy and poor-quality data can prevent companies from getting the most out of their data investments.

But many companies falter at the initial stages of adopting a data-driven culture. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, only 4% of 1,800 surveyed companies attain any significant long-term advantage from investing in data analytics. All the remaining surveyed companies were either ill-equipped or constrained in one way or another.

Often, the reason is more specific than general resistance to change. Executives may also find other companies’ failures intimidating and will shy away from the approach.

This mindset exemplifies why creating a positive environment should be the first step in your journey to build a data-driven organization.

Create the Right Strategy

Adobe’s 2018 Digital Trends report demonstrates the importance of data-driven marketing. Worldwide, there are 13,000 marketing agencies and in-house digital professionals. The sector represents one of the most exciting opportunities currently available to businesses.

Areas Companies Can Use Data in 2018

Source, Chart

According to Sean Donnelly, senior analyst and researcher at the publishing agency Econsultancy, the most successful companies focus on their digital side. Donnelly also stated that marketing strategies should pay special consideration to leadership, budget, and technology stacks. The integration of these factors contributes the most to data-driven cultures.

Treat Data as a Business Asset

Since data is the most important part of the data-driven culture, it is extremely important for organizations to treat data as a business asset.

Data will then create value and subsequently will impel businesses to maintain it and make strategic decisions. In turn, these techniques compound data’s value and relevance to the company. What’s more, delegating workflows and resolving gaps will also streamline as data becomes more integral.

However, this approach is still unconventional, and the biggest issues arise with leadership in high-hierarchical organizations. To work around this resistance, all employees must have some access to the relevant data because every resource plays a part in decision-making.

Establish and Extend Technology and Data Infrastructure

An organizational culture with data-based decisions requires a technical infrastructure that can properly harvest and process both internal and external data.

To achieve this infrastructure, companies should synchronize their strategy and technology stack to automate smart data collection. In-house field experts can also provide insight to streamline processing with CRM or ERP applications.

In fact, for any data-driven culture, these applications formulate the very foundation. A study by Research and Markets explains the connections between machine learning-based data analytics and CRM broader data across organizations.

However, security concerns are still a deterrence for businesses to use data-driven solutions. The chart below shows that security is the major concern for many companies, which keeps them from adopting a data-driven culture.

Adobe's 2018 Digital Trends report shows how businesses use data.

Source, Chart 

As a resolution to this concern, organizations should foster an environment where all the members are comfortable requesting access to relevant data. Access can be revoked after each task completion to prevent compromised security and confidentiality.

Training sessions are also crucial safeguards for security. Employees at each level need data skills. This investment will increase efficiency and promote best practices for analytical tools. In addition, businesses should train employees to make data-based decisions.

The whole company, not just the leadership, will need to understand how data-based decisions leverage specific procedures to yield a more effective output.

The Bottom Line on Data-Driven Cultures

Adopting a data-based culture is a huge commitment. A reshuffle of this magnitude will take a long time and require every team member, to ensure high ROI on data investments.

Furthermore, data-driven companies need a proper infrastructure with authorized access protocols, to keep information secure.

Although all of these steps are necessary, what’s more important is that you, as a leader, start the shift yourself. Encourage other executives as well to include more data-based insights when making decisions.

Once you’ve accomplished those steps, infrastructure-related implementations will become easier. It’s not unrealistic to expect unanimous support from your team as well as an overall conducive work corporate environment. 


About the Author

Headshot of Sandeep YadavSandeep is Business Development Manager at Dotsquares, an UK-based business consulting which has been serving Fortune 500 companies, SMBs and startups since 2002 by delivering state-of-the-art websites and mobile apps. He has successfully helped many organizations increase their productivity and revenue by identifying the problems and suggesting right solutions and marketing strategies.