Creating a data culture – how hard could it really be? In an age of digital transformation, where businesses are starting to take advantage of new technologies, culture is key.

If you neglect to make your data and analytics relevant to the business, there’s no amount of funding or technology that can fix the problem. Embedding data use is the main ambition in creating a data culture.

Creating a data culture

Before we delve into the 3 best practices for building a data culture, let’s begin with why this is important. Data and analytics isn’t an inherently accessible source of insight for many departments.

You should foster the best environment for your data, so that it can be accepted and embedded into their everyday. Moreover, the more support that you generate for your data and analytics, the more funding you’ll garner.

Once you’ve established your data strategy, it’s natural to encounter some resistance to financial support further down the line. This hurdle becomes much easier to move past if you’ve already identified champions of data within each department.

people working in an open space office

Step 1: Define the vision

This first step is almost as important for you, as it will be for the business at large. Before you get bogged down by the details of the tech and platform build, consider why you’re investing in data and analytics. Think about what the future will look like when data has become embedded in the organisation. What do you hope to achieve in the long run?

Communicating this big picture to the rest of the business can be instrumental for creating a data culture. Get people excited! Data is an incredible resource. Once your teams can see past the trials of transitioning to new ways of working, they’ll be far more motivated to support your ambitions with data.

Step 2: Align with business outcomes

Now it’s time for a reality check. In what specific ways will data and analytics help your business? How will you create tangible value from your data? This second step is crucial to helping the wider business embrace the potential of data. Once you establish how data will fit into the everyday functioning of the office, it’s much easier to digest.

This also established the best framework through which you can present your ambitions to the C-Suite. With business outcomes at the fore, you can illustrate how data will offer practical solutions to business deficiencies. From here, you’ve identified the credible need for data and analytics in the business.

Step 3: Prove it

Deploying your data is the final step to creating a data culture. Go out there and derive outcomes. Show the business that what you’re doing can actually give insight. Regardless of whether the outcome is positive or negative, you’ve done something with your data and analytics. Far too often, businesses start out on this journey, but never get to the point of actually deriving outcomes.

Early on, it’s also a good idea to achieve some quick wins. From step 2, you’ve identified where the business could benefit from data and analytics. Find the simplest one to achieve – both in terms of deployment, and of clear value to the business. With this under your belt, the rest of the organisation is reminded why you started ‘doing data’ in the first place.

a man seating at his desk and working with a laptop

Video | Building buy-in

Building buy-in for your data is necessary to generate the funds and internal support for your initiatives. It can be a struggle to demonstrate results from your analytics early on, so it’s key to maintain a healthy relationship with the C-Suite, and safeguard the future of your data and analytics.

Likewise, a motivated CEO can be the difference between success and failure with data, but there’s more to building buy-in throughout the business. With this in mind, read on to find out how to build leadership buy-in for your data.

It’s important to establish support for your data strategy early, and to showcase the potential value or impact that your analytics will have. If you can make your data initiatives relevant to the wider organisation, you’ll have an easier time introducing – and embedding – your data strategy.

On a similar note, value is the key motivator for the C-Suite, so applying your data and analytics to practical business goals will help secure support from the top level.

Interested in driving business with data? Our 'Data-Guided Organisations' research paper explores where businesses have succeeded, and how to use these lessons to create your own data-guided organisation.

White Paper: Building a Data-Guided Organisation

Written by James Sutton


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