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Blog Post

How to Foster a Data-Driven Culture

by Jessie Golombiecki
December 2, 2020

There’s a lot of buzz around data. Leadership wants to know what’s impacting revenue, marketers want to know where to invest their marketing budget, and sales wants to know where qualified leads are coming from. We all strive for reliable data, but it takes alignment across the entire organization to get it optimized. To become a data-driven organization, all departments need to make data the center of decision-making.

Having the Right Mindset

Before jumping into what to consider to create a data-driven culture, let’s talk about what it means to have an infinite mindset. 

Having an infinite mindset means embracing a mentality of always getting better, always innovating, always learning.

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It’s going to take time to get different teams aligned with what needs to happen to become a data-driven organization but over time, progress will be made. Understand that it’s okay to make decisions, like creating a goal, and realizing you need to adapt and change as you learn. The important part is that you’re making the effort and improving over time.

The Importance of Culture

In a survey of business intelligence professionals this year, data-driven culture was identified by survey respondents as the third most important trend, rising from fifth place last year. If you spend time in the world of data, you’re going to continue to hear about this. 

8 keys to becoming data-driven

A data-driven culture is important for so many reasons. The value of data has to be understood by employees at every level to invest appropriately into the execution of the strategy, to leverage the data for decisions, and to add deeper meaning to the data. Here are some key considerations to help foster a data-driven culture at your organization.

  1. Invest in the data strategy

    A strong data strategy requires an investment of resources, time, and potential hard costs. If data isn’t valued, having the support to invest what’s necessary to create an impactful strategy is next to impossible. 

  2. Leadership buy-in & alignment

    The end goal is to get all team members to see the benefits of being a data-driven organization but if leadership isn’t supporting and incorporating data into their decision-making, then all of the effort becomes pointless. Leadership needs to steer the way by encouraging, and giving everyone the resources they need, to make data a priority. 

  3. Quality data

    Many organizations are faced with less than ideal data - perhaps it’s inaccurate or maybe just incomplete or siloed. Identifying and filling those gaps is difficult but must be overcome. Before your organization takes the leap to base decisions on data, take the necessary steps to improve your data quality

  4. Accessible by all

    In order for employees from all departments and levels of your organization to benefit from data, they need to first have access. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to have access to all data, but they do need to be able to find information pertinent to their responsibilities. Mass.gov’s analytics dashboards are a great example. They give hundreds of site authors the actionable optimization data needed to create better content. Users will quickly become frustrated if they run into roadblocks when trying to access data so make sure you’re doing an inventory of what access each employee needs to properly do their job. 

  5. Alignment on terminology

    It can get overwhelming with so many different data fields and metrics to evaluate. As an organization, it’s necessary to take the time to create a glossary with definitions that are agreed upon and share these definitions company-wide. 

  6. Train your team

    According to a report Gartner published in 2020, data literacy is among the top three roadblocks for data and analytics leaders and being able to truly make data work for your organization. It’s not enough to have data highly accessible and supported throughout your organization if many don’t know how to properly read and communicate what the data means. In order to become a data-driven organization, invest in training, and support your users so they become more comfortable with data literacy.

  7. Leverage the data

    Decisions are made at every level, every day. Fueling these decisions with actionable data is how you make your data work for you. You can have all the data, but if it isn’t informing decisions, what value does it really have? That’s why you need a data measurement strategy. 

  8. Enrich the data

    All insight from the organization - customer engagements, industry insight, advertising results…there is insight in every corner that can shed new light and meaning on the data you have, making it richer, more tangible, and more valuable. 

Understanding the Role of Data

Before jumping into creating a data-driven culture, another consideration is connecting data to your business goals. Define how you plan to use analytics to create business advantage and then execute. Each department should identify KPIs that contribute to reaching company goals, and these KPIs and goals should be data-based. 

Once KPIs and goals are created and agreed upon, keep team members updated on how you’re performing over time. Creating a dashboard that tracks performance is one way to do this. It’s also helpful to review critical numbers in company-wide meetings. By putting the focus on the numbers, team members will naturally become more focused on data and the impact it has on your organization. 

Fostering a data-driven culture is a long term strategy and requires consistent effort. To shift the tides in valuing data, consistently bring it into the conversation. If you’re in a leadership role, encourage your team to back their recommendations and decisions with data and model the same behavior. As you back more decisions with data, start talking about the outcomes of those decisions. And remember having the right mindset, an infinite mindset where you improve over time, will set you up for success. 

If you are interested in fostering a data-driven culture at your organization but have questions about what your next steps should be, contact Mediacurrent and we can have a conversation about how to get started. 

Jessie Golombiecki

Meet team member, Jessie Golombiecki

As Marketing Manager, Jessie creates and executes marketing strategies and campaigns, participates in events, and initiates communication between departments. She uses data-driven results to develop and execute marketing plans that drive business growth and increase brand awareness.

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