Big Data

Think Like a Data Scientist: The Importance of Building a Data-Driven Company Culture


We’ve all heard that data helps businesses make better decisions. The good news? This isn’t just speculation: research shows that companies who use data to drive decision making increase revenues by an average of more than 8%, are 23 times more likely to attract new customers, and are 19 times more likely to be profitable as a result. 

Most modern companies have access to rich and varied data sources embedded into their daily operations. Many of those data sources may be accessible to employees throughout the organizationnot just tech and data specialists. But unless staff at every level grasp the power of data and have the skills to wield it properly, it becomes a wasted resource. That’s why organizations should focus on creating a culture of data. 

What can a data-driven culture help organizations accomplish?

Maximize the impact of every employee

Each employee has a unique perspective, and every individual within the company serves a valuable role in supporting corporate goals. While a social media coordinator might glean valuable insights into consumer trends on a daily basis, an office manager might uncover opportunities for cost savings while analyzing purchasing data. 

By empowering employees at all levels to understand data, to integrate it into their workflows, and to make data-driven decisions, companies enable individual contributors to drive impact that senior leaders and middle management can’t see, and that’s exciting.  

Trounce the competition

Data and predictive analytical tools are widespread and easily accessible: do you know how your competitors are using them? Data-driven insights help businesses get the jump on their competition, enabling them to predict trends in customer sentiment, build superior forecasting models, and expose market opportunities for competitive advantage. 

Why not spend a Friday afternoon researching the business use cases that companies in your industry are solving with data and analytics technology? Are you more or less data-driven than they are? 

If you’ve got ground to make up, begin by democratizing data. Make unrestricted data available far and wide but govern it. That’s very important. The enterprise needs to be singing from the same hymnal. Often that requires a centralized data engineering unit who manages data for everyone. With architectures like data mesh, that may change in the future.   

Future-proof the organization 

Agile companies are successful companies. When you limit data and data tools to certain departments, you limit organizational outcomes. By continuously investing in employees to upskill, increase data literacy, and embrace new technologies and perspectives, businesses not only strengthen the capability and power of their teams, they insulate themselves from the global shortage of technical resources. 

With new technologies and tools hitting the market at a rapid pace, embracing the power and potential of data helps future-proof their workforce and keeps companies looking forward.  

So how can organizations create a data-driven company culture and ensure they’re making the most of the tools at hand? 

Unify the entire enterprise 

Data-driven companies unify the entire enterprise around data. Here’s how. The C-suite evangelizes corporate objectives: everyone knows what they’re fighting for. Middle managers reinforce and decompose them into function-specific objectives: individual contributors understand how they make a difference. Everyone is aligned with a common purpose. When employees see how their work contributes to top line/bottom line growth and customer experience, they ooze pride. Ooze! Then they double-down on loyalty.

Elevate data literacy

Aligning to corporate objectives is just the beginning.

“When people begin to believe in the data, it’s a game changer,” said Ted Colbert, executive vice president and CEO, defense, of Boeing. “They begin to change their behaviors, based on a new understanding of all the richness trapped beneath the surface of our systems and processes.” 

How can an organization help bring its employees on board? As early as in a 2018 McKinsey report on the importance of data culture, industry leaders outlined the importance of identifying “data translators” within an organization. 

A data translator is someone who can “bridge both worldsdata science and on-the-ground operations.” They already work with staff on a day-to-day basis, and are a trusted partner. A good data translator will convey the importance of a data-driven mindset with lower-level and non-technical staff, and help train them on how to use the tools at their disposal to achieve results.    

Data is here to stay

Data is existential to organizations today. Tomorrow it will be more. Those who embrace a data-driven culture and empower their staff at all levels to make impactful data-driven decisions will be well-positioned. Those that don’t will get left behind. 

Interested to dig deeper? Watch this on-demand webinar to learn more about the foundations of a data-driven organization.