The huge amount of available data is now fueling innovation across the entire business spectrum. Thanks to big data and the many specialized tools to harvest, clean, and analyze it, you can now make more informed business decisions to steering your company into a growth’s way. That way, you can use a lot of that data to streamline your operations, solidify a winning strategy, and better serve your customers.
But for all that to happen, you need to develop a data-driven culture across your organization. Naturally, doing so is easier said than done. It’s one thing to carry out individual data-led initiatives to boost specific processes. But extending that to your whole organization is far more challenging, mainly because it implies changing your mindset as well as your operational methods.
That’s a tall order, alright – but nothing you can’t tackle. In fact, you can use the suggestions below that we gathered at BairesDev throughout the years as a leading software development outsourcing company. They have helped us grow with solid foundations and have transformed us into a data-driven organization that takes the most advantage of the available data.
Without further ado, here are some of the keys to foster a data-driven culture in your organization.
1. Management should lead by example
Something as profound as a change in corporate culture should obviously start at the top. But that doesn’t mean it’s just a decision for others to follow. If you truly want to become a data-driven organization, you need to lead by example and make all your managers do the same, too. That’s why you need to start making your business and operational decisions using data to support it. When you start adopting that practice, encourage everyone to do the same and be relentless about it.
2. Define relevant metrics
When you deal with data, there are many metrics you can use to measure your success, so you have to be sure that you’re using the ones that are relevant to your efforts. To do so, you’ll have to clearly define your goals and analyze the factors that play into them. For example, if you want a better customer experience, don’t just settle for a customer satisfaction score. Examine it further, identify the multiple aspects that make up that customer experience, and make sure to track it consistently to ensure the quality of the results you’re getting.
3. Ensure universal data access
For a company to be truly data-driven, it needs to have data at its core at all levels. In other words, you need to make sure that everyone in your organization has proper access to the available data. The biggest enemies in an effort to embrace a data culture are data silos that prevent proper collaboration between different teams. Start with a small, centralized system that hosts key metrics that teams in your company definitely need for their job. Over time, you can increase the amount of data you provide but the crucial thing is to ensure that all teams are getting relevant data from the get-go.
4. Offer ongoing specialized training
Culture isn’t built in a day or through a one-off training program. You need to be consistent in your efforts to implement data-driven processes across your organization. That means you need to institute training programs that prepare your workforce for the changes brought by the new practices – and beyond. There are 2 keys to those programs. On one hand, they have to be ongoing, as that’s the only way you can be sure that the data-driven mentality will seep into the mindset of your employees. On the other hand, training has to be specialized, mainly because data-centered processes deal with complex and technical aspects.
5. Use data for employees as well as customers
While using data to boost your sales and find new business opportunities is naturally a great goal, you should see beyond it. Sure, you should use data to better serve your customers, but you also have to use it to take care of your workforce. That doesn’t just mean you should implement it to make operations faster and more efficient. You should also use data-driven processes to make your employees’ lives easier. In fact, the way you get to the hearts of your workforce with a data initiative is to show them the many benefits that come with implementing it.
6. Explain your data-related decisions
Even if you’re using data to make your business and operational decisions, you need to make your reasoning visible to all of the members of your team. Explaining why you’re choosing a certain path or why you change a process in a certain way is paramount for everyone to get on board – and data can help you do that. You can show the data you’ve considered, the different paths you could’ve taken, and the metrics that led you to pick the solution you’ve chosen. When your employees see that data can provide sound reasons for changes, they’ll be more likely to imitate your process.
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Spring into action
Becoming a data-driven organization isn’t something you can do overnight. It takes a lot of hard work from everyone involved, from the executive team all the way down. And it’s not enough to adopt a couple of tools or instituting some new processes – you have to have a firm belief about what you’re doing and lead the shift with commitment and consistency.
Corporate culture stems from the values and forms you embody, so you should put data at the center of your operations for a data-driven culture to emerge. Fostering new habits by example is one of the best ways to do so, as are all of the other suggestions in this article. Be sure to try them!