For many years, organizations have seen the value in collecting ample amounts of data– even if they didn’t know what to do with it. In recent years, as machine learning and AI become more prevalent in everyday society, businesses are starting to determine how to apply that data to increase their success.
However, becoming a data-driven company doesn’t just mean changing processes to generate a trickle-down effect from the executive level; it necessitates a cultural shift. Here are some tips for creating a data-driven culture, and why it matters.
Why data reigns supreme
Data provides valuable insights about customer behaviors in a quantitative way that is otherwise hard to obtain. This information drives future marketing campaigns and helps optimize the approach for the best chances of success. Parserr wrote about it when identifying how data can be organized in a way to optimize a business’s email marketing strategy, and many other businesses have discussed how they were able to identify new markets and clarify dominant demographics using data.
Not only does collected data provide customer insights, but it also provides valuable information about what areas in business are lacking and which ones could become even better with a reallocated budget. Becoming data-driven removes subjectivity and encourages businesses to stick to the facts.
Tips to start today
As mentioned before, the best businesses have been collecting data for years; they just don’t know what to do with it. While it can take a team of specialists to convert collected data into useful information, there are specific things that organizations can do to start the shift toward becoming a data-driven culture. Here are some tips for starting today:
1. Get the right tools in place
Just because legacy tools have served a business well in the past, doesn’t mean they’re the best option for carrying it forward into the future. One of the main steps that businesses can get started on when creating a data-driven culture is to start researching the right tools for the job and prioritizing what should be in place.
This process should include an audit of everything that’s currently being used, as well as current processes which could be standardized or improved. Conducting a technology assessment is an integral part of Simplus’s advisory services when helping businesses modernize and grow; it’s a necessity for all businesses trying to become data-driven. From there, it’s identifying weak points and researching potential solutions.
It’s important to remember that this process doesn’t have to focus on primary research; secondary research provided by other sources can reduce resource expenditure for this project. For example, while looking into ways to improve online customer service protocols, those assigned to the task could look at this extensive research about best live chat tools by AccuWebHosting to narrow down the options from the get-go, cutting back on time and money spent recreating the wheel.
2. Aligning goals and objectives
New processes and cultural shifts need to align with the overall company mission for the changes to be successful. This means identifying the goals of this task at an executive level and finding alignment between the data and reaching those goals. Some of these tasks will include a focal point for initial data interpretation by setting KPIs and metrics.
The way data can be applied is as diverse and varied as businesses are. What works for one organization, may be entirely different than what works for another. For example, the focus on data for one business may be to create a sustainable infrastructure that carries the organization into the future. For another, it may be changing standard operating procedures to create a more efficient business. For yet another, the main focus could be on marketing and customer attraction and retention.
Aligning goals and objectives creates another important occurrence within the organization by shifting the focus to strategizing rather than hiring. Many organizations make the mistake of investing heavily in data specialists rather than considering the core strategy and business goals.
3. Focus on the people
Change management is challenging for all organizations, as employees often prefer the status quo and resent the disruption that change brings (even if it’s for the better). As soon as a business determines that these changes will be taking place, it’s time to start communicating with people and building an environment of transparency and trust.
While navigating the human resource aspect of change management, it’s beneficial to work with an expert in organizational change management. The Simplus approach to this task is to create a strategy, make the change easier for all involved, and make the change last. Working with an expert in this area allows key decision-makers in the organization to focus on the project itself.
From day one, be clear on how these changes will impact employees and what they mean for the company as a whole. Positive communication and continued focus on moving forward are essential for creating a cultural shift. Modern businesses know that having a great workplace culture is more than just a buzzword. While the organization may be focusing more on data, none of these changes will be possible without the people.
4. Encourage data literacy
Finally, to create a data-driven culture, a business must encourage data literacy across the board. That means that everyone, regardless of position in the organizational hierarchy, knows how to read the data and use it to make informed decisions. They need to know how to use the tools, how to understand the data, and how to apply their learnings to their job.
Again, the focus in this cultural shift can’t be on hiring new people to analyze data. The reality is that most businesses can’t afford to have a data analyst in every department, nor should they. By empowering employees and including them in the process, the data provided becomes a part of everyday life at the business.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Becoming a data-driven culture has tremendous benefits, but it will take time to achieve the end goal and technology is always evolving. The best time to start shifting toward becoming a data-driven culture was years ago; the next best time is today.