Becoming data-driven is about more than technology
One of the many consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic has been an increase in the awareness of the importance of trustworthy data, as well as a realization of the potential for effective analytics to improve the well-being of our people. As we move irreversibly towards hybrid models of working, the case that good data is essential to making better decisions has become even clearer.
However, the challenge of becoming a truly data-driven organization isn’t only technological, it’s cultural. Becoming data-driven is not just about the having the right tools to hand, it’s about the ability of people and organizations to adapt to transformation.
The barriers to becoming data-driven
Transformation is not something that can happen overnight. The effort by companies to become data-driven represents a change that needs to occur across all levels of the organization. This is no easy task and requires conscious action to overcome the organizational and psychological barriers.
A recent survey highlights the fact that cultural change is the most critical imperative when it comes to becoming data-driven. Often, the missing piece of the puzzle is the ability of people and organizations to adapt to change.
The amount of data that is created each day continues to increase exponentially. Companies now need to process massive quantities of data to generate answers, rather than rely on smaller data samples. Companies must also come to recognize that data cuts across traditional organizational boundaries, which means that top-down, hierarchical structures will find it harder to make better use of the data that flows through their organizations. Furthermore, the responsible and ethical use of data has become a central concern for organizations everywhere, so companies need to make an effort to place their data policy within the context of wider company values.
Understanding how these trends affect the culture of an organization can help companies make real progress towards their goals of data-driven decision making.
How to become data-driven
What steps can organizations and business leaders take to accelerate these efforts? Experience tells us that companies that successfully make the transition tend to share some common principles:
A different mindset. Organizations need to try and think differently. There is no shortage of analytic algorithms, but these need to be matched by emotionally intelligent leadership and human judgement with a view to creative innovation.
Fail better. Data leaders understand that individuals and organizations learn through experience, which often means a process of trial and error. Failure is often the foundation of innovation, so companies that are prepared to fail better will gain insight and knowledge to help them on the journey.
A long-term perspective. Becoming data-driven is a process that takes place over time. As experience grows and new analytical tools become available, data-driven companies need to keep on learning. Successful organizations focus their change strategy on the long-term.
See it as a people challenge. It may seem like a paradox, but the end goal of data is to create human connections. Data should be seen primarily as a way of driving positive change, like trust and well-being, at every level of an organization.
The data-driven world of the twenty-first century will give companies the opportunity to adapt to new paradigms both inside and outside their organizations. Becoming truly data-driven is important now, but increasingly over time, it will become the difference between failure and success.
Want to discover how TeamEQ can help you to become more data-driven? Take a free demo today.