Today data and data analytics strategies are becoming an integral part of all businesses.
Being data literate, i.e., having the ability to understand, share knowledge and have conversations about data becomes an essential skill for all organizations. Collecting data is no longer enough, we need to understand it and use it.
Building data literacy across the organization thus has risen the priority list. While organizations continue to collect, store and analyze data,
- Only 32% of the companies can realize measurable and tangible value from their data initiatives.
- Reports also reveal that only 21% of the global working population is confident of their data literacy skills with only a quarter of them prepared to use data when entering their current roles.
- 36% of employees are overwhelmed when using data and often resort to finding alternative methods that do not use data to complete tasks.
Low data literacy is holding organizations back and is impeding digital transformation goals. Not just organizations, employees as well, recognize that the power to use data in the workplace is now a critical skill. The absence of data literacy or limited data literacy is impeding the capability to build a data-informed culture and develop a data-driven organization.
Data literacy is the silver bullet that propels momentum and success but only when employees use this data to influence not just big-picture decisions but their everyday activities too.
With data literate employees, organizations empower the workforce and deliver enablement where work happens. It also eliminates the need to wait for data scientists to interpret data, thereby removing the bottlenecks that impede fast and accurate decision-making.
To ensure the effectiveness of data literacy initiatives successful leaders must:
Assess the Current Literacy Levels of the Organization
Organizational leaders need to first grasp the entire scope of data literacy and then throw the entire weight of their authority behind these initiatives to take them to fruition.
Before implementing a data literacy initiative, however, assessing the digital literacy challenges and identifying the current literacy levels across the organizations are important.
Assessing data literacy levels involves identifying things like the number of employees who can interpret straightforward statistical operations (like correlations or judge averages). It can also include estimating how data-driven business users and managers are when they build business cases or explain the output of their systems or processes. These and many such questions help in getting an accurate assessment of the literacy levels and literacy needs of the organization.
A data literacy foundation must also account for the different needs of the employees and must be relevant and contextual to their needs. It is essential to remember that not all employees need the same data literacy levels – those who have to wrangle with data will naturally need greater data literacy than the frontline business user. However, assessing how the data wrangler and business user leverage data and then designing data literacy initiatives after a thorough evaluation of the needs of the workforce and the organization will lead to greater success.
Communicate the Importance of Data Literacy
To drive successful data literacy programs, organization leaders also must communicate the value of such an initiative. Helping the workforce understand ‘why’ data literacy matters – how it helps them in their work, how it influences their work, and how it plays into individual and organizational success become imperative.
Only when we can successfully communicate the value of data literacy to the workforce are they enthused to learn the new skill and implement it.
Infuse Data Literacy into the Company Culture
Organization leaders need to ensure that they infuse data literacy into their company culture for data literacy initiatives to be successful. For this, it is first essential to democratize data and ensure that everyone can access the right data at the right time.
Organizations need to also understand that the answer to addressing the data literacy gap cannot be found in technology alone – it must be driven by providing employees with purposeful training and guidance. Assuming that a shiny new SaaS platform will assuage their data literacy challenges isn’t going to work.
Provide the Right Tools and Infrastructure to Drive Literacy
Along with the right training, organization leaders also have to make sure that they invest in the right technology infrastructure that helps business users become more data-driven. User-friendly, easy-to-understand software tools and data platforms can enable organizations and business users to leverage data without learning to code or turning to IT for help.
Democratizing data and setting up the tools and platform infrastructure that allows employees to access, wrangle and analyze data to gain deep business intelligence contributes towards developing data literacy across the organization.
Implement Measurable Data Literacy Training Programs
We can only manage what we can measure. Hence, to ensure that the data literacy levels in the organization increase, it is imperative to have measurable data literacy training programs. These programs must be contextual to the needs of the user (a sales professional will use data differently than those in product development) and need to be impactful enough to build data capabilities. Developing measurable data literacy training programs thus becomes essential to drive efficacy and make amendments to areas that are not working.
Along with this, organization leaders can enhance data literacy programs by setting up cross-functional teams and establishing internal data centers of excellence to promote learning and collaboration across departments and business units. They can identify change agents within the organization to implement these programs and motivate the workforce to improve their data literacy levels.
Given the world that we live in, the practice of using data to make informed decision-making has to move beyond the jurisdiction of data science teams. It has to percolate down across the different layers of the organization and become an organization-wide habit. Identifying early examples of measurable success of data literacy programs and sharing these success stories help in establishing a positive feedback loop that encourages other employees to also notch their own data-driven success.
Published on LinkedIn:- Original Source