The Gartner Chief Data Officer Survey has found evidence taking companies a step away from the traditional belief of being secretive about data and indulging in more collaborative data sharing. The survey found a three-time increase in economic growth for data and analytics leaders who shared data externally than those who didn’t.
Companies are shrugging off the traditional manner of treating all data as the same with the increasing sophistication of methods protecting some information while releasing the rest to the right audience.
“Data sharing is the way to optimise higher-relevant data, generating more robust data and analytics to solve business challenges and meet enterprise goals,” says Lydia Clougherty Jones, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. Thus, there is the need to change the idea of “don’t share data unless” to “must share data unless” to enable trustworthy data.
Trust is an important factor in building a healthy work culture. The trustworthiness of data is the essential factor in establishing a worthy culture that aligns with business goals, both inside and outside the given organisation. Gartner had emphasised the importance of trusting the quality of the collected data; most importantly, trustworthy data, here, is collecting data from reliable sources, using and sharing data that matches the requirements of the business; followed by appropriate resharing of data.
While the awareness of data culture has increased, Accenture’s study of 9000+ people found that data literacy is low, and 80 per cent of individuals are unhappy to work with data. According to Chelsea Wise, marketing director at an AI-powered data analytics platform, getting people to use data in their processes is not as straightforward as it sounds.
The data-sharing culture
One of the essential manners to overcome resistance to data sharing is communication. However, according to Clougherty Jones, the risk is increasingly becoming those of not sharing data with impacts ranging from extremely small to game-changers depending on business planning and data. For Jones, the correct way of going about successful business outcomes is to think about the desired outcome, its impact on innovation, and lastly, how data can be leveraged to enhance the outcome, i.e., data sharing vs data security.
Another critical step in improving data literacy throughout the organisation is to ensure everyone is on the same plane to make informed data-driven decisions and add value. CDOs need to work on breaking down traditional notions and emotional barriers towards sharing data. The first step of data literacy is breaking down the fear related to data risks.
The data-sharing culture is still developing, and for new employers, it may become overwhelming; thus, according to MIT, it is essential to set priorities within the initiatives. These initiatives are to prevent poor operational or financial decisions made due to a lack of available data. For Clougherty Jones, these initiatives are internal cost savings, net new revenue or other outward-facing business value, or risk mitigation.
One of the best ways for organisations to leverage a data-driven culture is to ensure buy-in from the top. Even Harvard Business Review found that it is advantageous for organisations to have a chief data officer and a CEO to ensure a ‘company-wide transformation’. This report is supplemented by Wise, who believes that data is the daily consumption to make better work decisions every day.
The buy-in from the top approach is complemented by data adoption among employees as well. The chief data officer gets the data culture going, but it is further executed across various organisation sectors by its employees. The working is smoother when all employees are leveraging data to simplify work.
Clougherty Jones, a lawyer, also believes that the legal team should have the most enhanced data literacy since the department plays a huge role in creating contracts, defining business goals, and preventing data-related risks.
Expanding access to data is a step to allow more employees to draw insights of their own from data, and helps companies maintain a competitive edge. Sharing data with a broader audience will also quickly filter out content that is valuable and help weave a clear narrative around the findings.
Companies can also leverage BI tools and application softwares to collect trustworthy unstructured data from both internal and external systems. These assist the employees in creating simpler ways to collect data, including documents, CRM, images, files, email, videos and other business sources. Microsoft Power BI, Google Analytics, Tableau, Qlik and Sisense have commonly used BI tools.
Starting a data-driven business culture may be daunting, but so far, it has been proven to be a step that can ‘make – it’ for an organisation.
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I am a Liberal Arts graduate who enjoys researching new topics and writing about them. An aspiring journalist, I love to read books, go on a drive on rainy days and listen to old Bollywood music.