The pressure on organizations to make accurate and timely business decisions has turned data into an important strategic asset. The key challenges are to determine which data to use, whether the data is valuable, and how to derive actionable value from it. 

In today’s dynamic marketplace, businesses’ ability to use data to identify challenges, spot opportunities, and adapt to change with agility is critical to survival and long-term success. It has become an absolute necessity for businesses to establish an objective, data-driven culture that empowers employees with the capabilities and skills they need to analyze data and use the insights extracted from it to facilitate a faster, more accurate decision-making process.

Contrary to what many people think, cultivating a data-driven culture is not just a one-time transformation. Instead, it is more like a journey that requires efforts from employees and direction from both managers and executives. Data scientists and management consultants have come up with five different ways businesses can accelerate their transformation into a data-driven enterprise, all of which are crucial to the long-term viability of the data strategy – and the business.

Establish a Clear Vision

Establishing a clear vision is essential for putting data to work and ingrain working with data into every process of the organization. An executive, preferably the CIO or CDO, should present the vision to the workforce and provide the rationale for this shift in culture and in benefits. This, in turn, will set stage for the work ahead and provide an opportunity to clear misconceptions.

Just like with every important strategic decision, it is important that data-driven culture changes have the support of the C-suite. A management team removed from the daily data operations will ultimately lead to the erosion of data-driven culture, lower profitability, and threaten the survival of the organization.

Ensure Easy and Secure Access to Data

Data can only be considered a real asset when its accuracy is trusted, its provenance is well established, and its complete security is ensured. On the other hand, optimal utilization of data requires governance and openness. To ensure this, you should consider a layered approach to make data available in a manner for which its security, governance and confidentiality are not compromised.

Keep Your Data Clean and Up-to-Date

It is very hard to analyze and extract something valuable from poorly organized, inaccurate, dated information. Therefore, you should develop clear mechanisms regarding the collection, storage, and analysis of data. Make sure all your data inputs are centralized in a single location for easy integration and regular updates. This way, your employees can gather the most recent information from a single place and make more accurate decisions.

Create Agile Multi-Disciplinary Teams

People, not tools, drive the culture of a company. In order to create a fact-driven work environment, businesses should invest in the skills of their people. Make sure that each team contains at least one member who is skilled and experienced in data analytics.

Develop Reward Mechanisms

Sharing data successes is important to inspire others and develop a healthy, competitive, data-driven culture. To share the results achieved by a team or an individual, you can use a variety of different communication tools, such as videos and blogs, organize special gatherings, or share the results on your company portal.

Make sure that you choose initiatives that are in line with your company’s long-term strategy. For example, if your objective is to penetrate new markets or gather more information about your target customers, you should acknowledge and reward the initiatives that help you make progress towards these strategic goals.

Unless communicated across an organization, data remains worthless. To extract the right information and insights from structured and unstructured data, it is important that you focus your efforts on cultivating a data-driven culture that empowers employees with the resources and skills they need to leverage data and obtain the right information at the right time to make more accurate decisions.