You want ROI on Data analytics? You need to promote Data culture

Gartner estimates that by 2022, 20 percent of analytic insightswill deliver business outcomes. 

Nowadays, the business is frustrated that they’re not seeing nearly any return on data analytics investments. 

Is this a failure of the data scientists? 

Maybe we couldn’t afford the “good” ones. Perhaps they didn’t do enough data visualization or data storytelling?

Perhaps it’s a failure of the executives? 

They didn’t invest as much as they needed to get the return. Or, perhaps they weren’t fully bought into the new data approach.

Perhaps it’s a failure of the business teams?

They didn’t value what the data scientist could bring to the table. Or, perhaps they didn’t listen to the recommendations and insights being generated.

Or worse yet, data science just doesn’t provide the value we thought it did.

People are actually asking all these questions.

And even if somehow the answer to every one of them could be partially a yes, the ultimate and very reason of the far less than a 20% return on the investment lies in not having a data culture.

With Data culture in place, everybody understands that:

  • Data is not a siloed activity

Separating the data teams from the business teams is a surefire way to never get value from your data.

  • Algorithms don’t add value, people do

The most accurate forecast model ever created adds no value if the business doesn’t do something with it.

  • Knowing what to focus on is key

Data can solve problems, but knowing which problems to solve is the real question.

  • Business teams must understand data

There’s no need to turn the marketing team into analysts. What is needed is to arm them with data and data culture for them to become comfortable with using the data they have and blending it seamlessly with what they already know.

  • Executives need to truly bought in

Executives need to live inside the data-driven mindset, building it into their plans and bringing their teams along.

So, What is Data Culture?

Data culture, that is, a more human approach to data, is the solution to Data Science’s woes.

The focus of a human approach to data is one that its focus is on alignment between the executive teams, the business teams, and the data teams.

Want to be successful with data?

Then you must first do the effort of ingraining the data into de core DNA of your organization.

Data culture needs to permeate how each employee thinks, that they have a voice in their heads asking “what does the data tell us about this?”. 

When everybody in the business has a fundamental understanding of data, that allows them to speak a common language, often referred to as Data Literacy. This common language builds trust and encourages collaboration between the business team and the data scientists.

It opens up the opportunity for them to ask bigger, more impactful questions because they know that they can even attempt to ask. 

It ensures that they are more comfortable with a sophisticated mathematical solution to their problem, even if they don’t fully understand it.

And most importantly, it allows the business to bring data to the table, combine it with their deep domain expertise, and make an even better decision than they would have otherwise.

Want to use data more effectively? 

Align your data science teams with leaders and business teams to make sure they’re all moving in the same direction, and basically aware of each other’s needs and capabilities. 

Create a culture of data, help your business team “speak the language of data”, and make sure the data team is tightly aligned with executive & business team objectives. Do this, and you’re all but guaranteed to see data project success rates well above 20%.


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