Welcome to ‘How to Foster a Data-Driven Organisational Culture’. Post 1 of 5.

Perhaps you’re someone who has been tasked with building an analytics function or starting an analytics project.  Maybe you’re already an analytics champion but you’re struggling to weave the value of analytics into the strategic decisions of the organisation.  If so, you’re in the right place: welcome to the first blog in our 5-part series on fostering a data-driven culture in your organisation.  It’s not easy to grow a successful analytics function, but armed with knowledge of the concrete steps you can take, and the pitfalls you should avoid, you’ll get there. We’ve been helping organisations to create data-driven cultures for a few decades now, so this series will bring together what we’ve learned over the years – hopefully for the benefit of you and your organisation.

What does is it really mean to have a data-driven organisational culture?  It means that:

  • Data-driven insights are knitted into decision processes across the organisation
  • Everyone is on-board and data literate
  • There is a business strategy that incorporates analytics
  • There is an innovative culture within the organisation

Addressing the Biggest Blocker

Before you embark on becoming data-driven though, first note the blockers to your success. We hear these blockers listed at every meet-up, at every conference, and every analytics event we attend:

  1. Addressing a Skills Shortage (Blog 3)
  2. Building a Data Environment (Blog 4)
  3. Getting Organisational Buy-in

Of these three, the biggest blocker that The Analytics Store has seen when working with our clients is the third one – getting the organisation to buy-in to the use of analytics.  One dynamic person can create a strategy within an organisation, but getting the business buy-in can be difficult.  This applies to all sorts of organisations and sectors – public bodies, government departments, manufacturing, finance & banking, or retail.  To senior executives and business leaders the analytics team can sometimes seem like a separate function, like IT.  Unlike IT, it can also seem abstract, its work-product intangible, or worse, incomprehensible.  The reality couldn’t be more different – it is the organisation, after all, that needs to implement the decision making based upon the insight.

Over the years, we have seen analytics functions commissioned by organisations in the belief that they would somehow stand apart from it – reporting and generating without any input from the organisation itself.  They were without the understanding that the analytics function is supposed to fundamentally alter and inform the organisation’s decision processes, and that it is an integral part of the applying analytics within an organisation.

If you find yourself in this position you may need to display the results of analytics (maybe even from a pilot project) to get the buy-in. We find that this is best done through small, well defined pilot projects with clear, measurable outcomes.  We will talk about measuring again later on in the series. Without buy-in though, you will not go forward.  The business need to be intimately involved in specifying the focus of an analytics project, the business objective, explaining the concrete business question, outlining the decision process (how and where the output will be used to make a decision),  and the testing of your analytics project.  Its buy-in is a prerequisite to your success.

How will you know you have buy-in from your organisation?  When it has clearly been acknowledged that the executives and leaders of the organisation are part of your process.  This can be displayed in a number of ways – they may have agreed to invest their time in specifying analytics projects, in testing output, or in looking for and communicating organisational processes that could be improved through data-driven decisioning.  What you are looking for is evidence that the organisation understands itself as being an active stakeholder in the analytics process.

Becoming Data-Driven

Once you’ve got that, you are ready to start your analytics journey.  There are four key steps to getting there:

  • Design a strong data and analytics strategy
  • Move from strategy to decision implementation
  • Embrace a questioning culture
  • Always be measuring (close the loop)

Over the next few weeks, we will examine each of these in turn.  We will arm you, the analytics champion, with enough theory and practical advice to be able to start and grow the analytics function within your organisation.  This is, after all, what we do.

 

The Analytics Store is the leading Analytics Training and Consultancy service in Ireland.  Leveraging decades of industry experience, our dedicated consultancy service enables organisations to effectively grow their Analytics capabilities. Trusted by many of the biggest brands in Analytics, we deliver customisable courses covering all major technologies, in techniques from visualisation to advanced machine learning, from Business Intelligence through to Analytics Strategy Development.