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How Your Company Can Establish A Data Culture

How Your Company Can Establish A Data Culture

Success is about establishing a data culture – where employees adopt consistent practices that leverage the full power of automation.

Taking a data-driven approach to running a business several years ago helped many companies improve their performance. Now, business success is about establishing a data culture – where employees across the organization adopt a mindset and consistent practices that leverage the full power of automation.

The distinction between a data-driven approach and a data-driven culture is easy to distinguish. When businesses shift to a data-driven approach, they are often recognizing areas in the company where analyzing information can reduce or eliminate friction for customers and employees. Data could boost the results of a marketing campaign, for instance, or increase the sales team’s win rate. In fact, McKinsey research shows data-driven companies accomplish goals faster and that their initiatives contribute at least 20% to earnings before income taxes.

A data culture reflects a more holistic digital transformation strategy that puts data at the heart of all decision-making, among all stakeholders.

This means working with data and realizing the value from data isn’t relegated to specialists, like a team of data scientists.

Instead, data informs the behaviour of everyone from the CEO to those on the front-lines who are directly delivering customer experiences.

A data culture is also less reactive. Rather than identify problems in a company and turning to data analysis to solve them, the use of data is introduced and emphasized from the very beginning. This makes it faster and easier to track the root cause of problems, or even anticipate and avoid them altogether.

Establishing this kind of culture involves going beyond a written commitment. You don’t necessarily have employees talking up their data culture to customers or partners. This is an exercise in training and reinforcing the organization in taking actions that integrate data into the fabric of day-to-day activities.

In that sense, the importance of data shouldn’t compete with a company’s existing culture. It simply becomes a critical layer that enhances the way everyone works.

Reaching this point may not happen overnight, but you can begin creating a data culture through explicit, visible actions that clearly communicate the change you’re trying to make.

Hold a data ‘offsite’ to establish the link to key business goals

Sometimes people need a chance to lift their head up from their workload to consider how they can do things differently. That’s why businesses have often held company offsites to gather employees together where they can dedicate time to connecting, sharing ideas, and deepening relationships.

Offsites are often powerful culture-building exercises, and they don’t require flying everyone to a tropical destination for an extended period. With more organizations adopting a hybrid work model, the offsite could simply be a time when everyone logs on from wherever they are or gathers in the office on the same day.

The important thing is to make the offsite a place where everyone can assess the current state of the business, how departments collaborate, and the values that underpin the work they do.

Use this moment to examine your use of data across the organization today – where are decisions still ruled by guesswork or gut instinct? What kind of qualitative and quantitative data are you working with, and how can this be improved?

More tactically, begin setting up a framework that ensures your culture encourages the use of data to:

  • Lower costs: by reducing errors, speeding up processes and freeing up employees’ time
  • Drive efficient growth: by using automation and data to enhance productivity and supercharge productivity
  • Exceed customer expectations: by personalizing experiences with data that shows you recognize their needs and are willing to work for their long-term loyalty and value.

Empower your data champions to incentivize their colleagues

There may already be employees within your company that are well-versed in the strategic use of data. They won’t need convincing that a data culture is critical for business success. In fact, they might be the ambassadors you need to help establish it.

Look for those in customer service, for example, who have already used data to provide faster resolution to customer problems by having ready access to account information or purchase history. Talk to the people in marketing who can slice and dice every data point about how their brand is being promoted on social media and other channels. Try to learn what ignited their passion and commitment to data at work.

Share these stories on your company intranet, or perhaps in a dedicated Slack channel with a title like, “The Data Culture Chronicles.” Highlight what their use of data has meant in terms of reaching business targets, retaining customers, or improving their employee experience.

Don’t forget to show the “how” in these stories as well. By offering the entire company a single, unified platform for managing data like Customer 360, everyone can trust that they have a shared view of what’s going on and what needs to be done. Provide everyday instances where this kind of platform could move the needle on essential key performance indicators (KPIs). Point them to resources like Trailhead to help upskill and reskill team members in data literacy.

Celebrate the data behind every success

You can open a team meeting by going around and asking for status updates–or you can provide a snapshot of data that shows how much closer you are to your goal.

You can coach an employee by offering your opinion–or use data that illustrates your point and gives them confidence in your advice.

You can try your best to treat all customers the same–or increase your share of wallet with your top customers by studying the data about who’s spending the most.

As your company’s data culture becomes more established, you’ll see that many accomplishments will ladder back to creative and ongoing efforts to make the most of the information at your disposal. Never lose an opportunity to share these wins with everyone in the company who will listen. Shout it from the rooftops, whether through digital channels like Slack messages or in video town halls.

Data cultures aren’t born. They’re built by business leaders who understand how data-driven decision-making can grow revenue and streamline operations, and take the steps to equip their teams with the right training and technology to put it into action.

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