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Information As Second Language Can Bridge Data Literacy Divide In Organisations


Information As Second Language Can Bridge Data Literacy Divide In Organisations


As the world moves towards a more data-rich environment, the need for an organisation to understand and fully utilise the capabilities of these data is ever growing. However, as 90% of the data that is currently available is relatively new, one of the main challenges that organisations face is the inability of the workforce to understand, interpret and comprehend data.



According to a study by a prominent research organisation which observed the challenges faced by Chief Data Officers, one of the biggest problems large organisations face currently is information language barrier —that is ineffective communication related to data among various stakeholders.

"Most executives and professionals do not ‘speak data’ fluently as the new critical capability of the digital era. As a result, data and analytics leaders struggle to get their message across to them," the study states.

How To Overcome This Challenge?

As the pertinence of data in business keeps growing steadfastly, the organisation can no longer afford to maintain a workforce who is data illiterate. Hence, across enterprises, Information as a Second Language (ISL) has taken precedence to make workforce well-equipped to communicate and comprehend data.

"Digital society demands of its citizen's data literacy developed for competitive advantage and agility. Data and analytics leaders must follow the example of English as a Second Language (ESL) and treat information as the new second language of business, government, communities and our lives," the researcher states.

As stated by the researcher, here are the three steps that organisations can do to enable ISL in their organisational tiers:

  • Cultivate information as a second language (ISL) across business and IT stakeholders by first establishing the base vocabulary, clarifying industry and business domain “dialects,” and developing levels of proficiency.
  • Drive and sustain improvements to your organisation’s data literacy by identifying areas where data is spoken fluently and where language gaps exist and establish an ISL proof of concept for language development.
  • Change the way you and others interact with leaders, stakeholders and peers by “speaking data” in the context in everyday interactions, board meetings and as a basis for outcomes-oriented business cases.

A Challenge For Indian Organisations

In India, the situation is no different with organisations plagued with the issue of finding the right talent and skill set with adequate data literacy.

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In most cases, in order to help their existing workforce be well-equipped in data literacy and tools, enterprises resort to external data training centre's to help augment the workforces' skillsets.

However, claiming that these traditional data analytics training to be dead, Sayandeb Banerjee, co-founder and CEO of TheMathCompany, says that analytics training is just not enough to augment skill set, "The ubiquity of data coupled with its cheapness and evolving tech has now led to a creation citizen data scientist and it means that data training is not now restricted to small groups, rather it is becoming pervasive. Hence the traditional corporate five data training or online training isn't not going to work anymore."

Agreeing to the viewpoint, Gaurav Vohra, CEO and co-founder at Jigsaw Academy points out that, to overcome this challenge at the organisational level, ISL have to be a must at every organisation, "Knowledge about data cannot reside in silos within an organisation. Instead, the top-level players need to ensure that each and everyone has access to organisational data and make sure that everyone is part of the digital revolution."



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