Having data culture in place allows company leaders to rely on facts and shifting market and industry conditions, since evidence is more reliable than human “gut” instinct.
Culture – it’s a common word within the workplace, most often conjuring up images of pizza Thursday, dress code standards and team building events. But there’s another type of culture that should be on the radar screen of every business…data culture.
Data culture is a principle whereby all staff members and decision-makers in an organization share a commitment to focus on information conveyed by existing data and then make decisions and changes according to these results. Having data culture in place allows company leaders to rely on facts and shifting market and industry conditions, since evidence is more reliable than human “gut” instinct.
A thriving data culture starts at the top; without executive leadership, the business will fall back to default behaviors, such as siloed information and distrust in the value of data.
There exist five elements for building a strong data culture, starting with trust in the data. In the absence of trust, forward movement is undermined.
An organization must also consider relevance when sharing data, since data culture empowers employees at many different levels. Each employee may have a varying timeframe for information. As an example, finance professionals might prefer monthly updates, while those in the operations team need information in more real-time. Data cultures recognize the need for flexibility and plan for data delivery accordingly.
Secure access to information for all must be established. This requires partnership – data and technology leadership working together to ensure that databases, data discovery tools, reports and analytics are all managed under a common security framework.
A data culture requires data management tools to meet specific business needs. Two “must-have” tools are a Metadata Catalog (or a system that describes the location, attributes and use cases for company datasets) and a Self-Service Reporting platform. These essential tools are in broad use throughout a data culture due to the need for collaboration and discovery.
Participants in a data culture must have analytical skills; this is often overlooked, yet critical. Those involved must be prepared to interpret information and gain insights for the common good of the organization.
So you see, culture is not just about casual Friday and free fitness trackers – building a data culture may take time and a strong commitment to the usefulness of analytic information, but once established, it can give a company a strategic advantage and help position it for future success.
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