Five ways to build a data-driven culture within your organization

Posted in: Advanced Analytics, Business Insights, eBooks

In this post guest blogger Jim Donnelly introduces some of the concepts in our latest eBook, Analytics for Everyone, discussing what it takes to drive a data-first culture across your organization.

Imagine that it’s been about a year since you embarked on developing a data-driven culture within your organization. How different would things be a year into this journey?

The answer would likely be something like this: Instead of relying on gut instinct or HiPPOs (highest-paid person’s opinions) for crucial decisions — something you did in the past that, admittedly, didn’t always go well — your executives and business groups now depend on razor-sharp insights derived from high-quality data. And while there were no obvious arrival signs, at this point you’re confident in saying it: you’re now a data-driven organization, with a change in company culture that helped make that happen.

We know it wasn’t always easy, this shift to a new mindset, new methods, and new processes. Old habits sometimes die hard. But by stressing the right things at the right times, you were able to gradually evolve your organization’s culture towards being grounded in data and analytics.

Here’s how you did it:

  1. You rolled out your analytics program gradually. When selecting the first business group to trial your analytics approach, there were more than a few naysayers. Some thought analytics got in the way of “real work.” Others were nervous about highlighting performance weaknesses. But empowering that initial team with data-driven insights, which inevitably led to higher efficiencies and increased margins, gradually won hearts and minds.
  2. Your leadership team embraces data and analytics. You knew from the outset that your strategy had no chance of success without major executive buy-in. Lucky for you, the leadership team saw the benefits of analytics right away, becoming early adopters and champions within their business units. The fact that your CEO gamified the data by offering employees prizes for hitting performance milestones didn’t hurt, either.
  3. You created an Analytics Center of Excellence (ACoE). A year ago you didn’t even know what an ACoE was, but now it’s hard to imagine life without this group of business and technical experts from across your organization. They’re the boots on the ground who helped plan and execute your data enablement strategy, facilitating cross-functional, multi-level engagement while prioritizing use cases that benefit the entire organization. They put your strategy into action.
  4. You’re always talking about analytics. Okay, maybe not always. But consistently communicating analytics success stories within your organization, to various teams and through a range of channels, was crucial in building and keeping momentum in your journey to becoming a data-forward culture.
  5. You didn’t forget the importance of training. You recognized that even the most insightful analytics program would be sidelined quickly if it had them so confused after their first time logging in, they never came back. Self-service data visualization tools abound these days, but you ensured both user engagement and return on investment for the organization with wide-spread training.

Changing your culture is just one, albeit important, aspect of putting analytics in the hands of more users throughout your organization.

To get the rest of the story, download our ebook, Analytics for Everyone, to keep learning how data analytics can help build value and improve performance.


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About the Author

Lynda Partner is a self-professed data addict who understands how transformational data can be for organizations. In her role as EVP of Data and Analytics, Lynda focuses on Pythian’s services that help customers harness the power of data and analytics and holistically manage their data estate.

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