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How to Build a Data Culture in Your Company

How to Build a Data Culture in Your Company

No matter your industry or company size, data can be one of your most powerful assets, offering key insights that help evaluate and grow your business.

Data is an important tool in any business, no matter your industry or company size. Whether you’re forecasting product needs, measuring your latest email campaign, or reviewing your operations budget, data can be one of your most powerful assets, offering key insights that help evaluate and grow your business. Furthermore, a data-based culture can help your team embrace and influence hard-targeted business decisions.

And yet, the cold, hard numbers of data and analytics aren’t always an easy, sexy sell. If you’re looking to build a data culture for your company, you need to carefully plan your approach — especially if you sense any hesitation within your organization.

Below, learn why data is essential to your operations and how you can get your team on board.

What is Big Data?

First, let’s break this down a bit.

Data is a collection of analytics and other insights. It can consist of both internal and external sources, such as customer email addresses and client purchase history, or online ranking data and public records. “Big data” refers to larger or more elaborate datasets. For example, big data from a customer loyalty program or an IP address can help a retailer discover information on a customer from their homeownership status to their online habits to their purchasing preferences. These datasets can help you analyze past business moves, influence your services and offerings, and plan accordingly for future decisions.

And, in case you were wondering, data isn’t going anywhere: The volume of global data creation is growing and expected to explode in the years to come. In 2025, the amount of data created, consumed, and stored is expected to reach 180 zettabytes.

Not only are companies increasingly pouring resources into data and related job roles, 92.1 per cent of businesses reported that they are seeing returns on their data and artificial intelligence investments, according to the “Data and AI Leadership Executive Survey 2022” from NewVantage Partners. This is no trend. Businesses are leaning into data, and for good reason: It’s becoming more sophisticated, and therefore, useful for their organizations.

Why Data is Important to Your Business

A “data culture is a decision culture,” according to “Why data culture matters” by McKinsey Quarterly. It’s not about racking up datasets for the sake of doing so, but rather collecting, reviewing, and acting on this data to fuel better decisions for your organization.

At a high level, this data collection can help your business in several ways. It can:

  • Open your eyes to what’s working — and what’s not. No need to guess or rely on anecdotal feedback when you have hard data to refer to.

  • Serve your customers better. Data gives you a detailed portrait of customer behaviour. You can cater to your clients with personalized product recommendations, marketing, and more.

  • Forge a path forward with your business. The information you collect can forecast opportunities to expand or pivot, if needed.

But for this information to be truly useful, you need to figure out why and how to use it. At a glance, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Figure out which metrics you want to track. And get specific. Don’t decide to “just” track your social media efforts — choose which specific channels you want to track and what that will look like.

  • Form a plan — or plans — to track your progress. Establish SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals and weigh your progress over time.

  • Decide on a reporting method and schedule. Choose what you want to report on and how often you’ll review your results.

After you tick off those boxes, plan to address the results from your data. If something isn’t tracking correctly — or you’re seeing results that surprise you — investigate it. With key data on your channels, industry, and market in your hands, you’ll be able to improve your company that much more.

With all of that said, a data culture can still be tricky to build and get people to rally around — sometimes the concept seems too vague or big to tackle. However, with the right approach and messaging, you can make data a mainstay in your workplace.

7 Ways to Build a Data Culture

Here are steps you can take to get your company on board with creating and embracing a healthy, data-centric setup.

  1. Share the why. Don’t keep it a secret — let your organization know why data is integral to your operation and success. Show the why and how of what data can do for your company, staff, and customers. Consider using data stats and visual aids to help get your point across.
  2. Set the tone. If the C-suite and top executives embrace a data culture, the whole team will recognize its importance. Get buy-in from the top, and then make it known across teams that embracing a culture focused on data is where your organization is headed.
  3. Mindfully build and equip your team. Decide who you want to bring in on the ground floor of your data collection, analyzing, and reporting efforts. Bring together colleagues across departments who are versed in or work adjacent to data. Make sure they have the training and tools they need to succeed to be data literate as well.
  4. Educate your remaining staff. Share information around big data, the tools you’re using, and any dashboards you’re building. You can also suggest or provide free and low-cost resources for any interested employees — maybe even budding data analysts — to increase their skills in this area. Pull back the curtain, so to speak, so your entire organization can get on board.
  5. Explain the benefits. Beyond serving your customers, data can inform you of your internal operations and improve them, too. If having access to more data will help workers streamline reporting or eliminate mind-numbing tasks, let your team in on the details. Employees who understand a clear benefit to their day-to-day tasks will have an easier time getting invested.
  6. Disclose the results. Back up your investment and share how turning toward a data culture is impacting the business. Show how the data tells a story, and connect your processes to performance. Set up a timeframe to assess and distribute your findings, and do so regularly.
  7. Encourage experimentation and feedback. Give your team the freedom to experiment and learn when working with big data. Ensure everyone feels safe to offer ideas, provide critiques, and share their experiences working through this information.


It is essential to set up a workplace where people understand the importance of big data and are invited to participate in how it’s carried out, whether they’re on the sidelines or on the ground floor.

Proactive and predictive data collection and analysis can help your business. With this information, you can get clearer on your customers’ wants and needs and your industry overall. With the right data collection, tools, and procedures, you can plan ahead, adjust, and pivot as needed.

You can ease into integrating data — begin by getting buy-in at the top and start to educate your team before hiring a dedicated staff of data scientists, for example. But being data-driven should be part of the fabric of any organization that wants to expand and evolve.

If you’re looking to grow, make more informed decisions, and stay competitive, then making data a part of your company culture is a smart move.

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