For data analysis programs to succeed, there must be cultural acceptance – if not a passionate embrace – of the use of data and the benefits it can deliver to an organization.
There are several best practices that can be applied to foster a data-driven culture, as TechTarget notes in an interview with Ken Rudin, the head of analytics at Facebook
We recommend five steps for cultivating an analytics-led culture:
1. Making the case for analytics. CEOs and other executives are sometime skeptical about making investments in technologies they’re not familiar with or haven’t yet been proven to them.
But they can be swayed by an influential C-level exec or business leader who recognizes the business value of analytics and can communicate this effectively and authoritatively. You need a foot in the door to gain an opening. The bigger the foot, the bigger the opening.
2. Communicating the business benefits of data analysis from the top. Once executive leadership has bought into the business value for using data and data analysis in different ways, the CEO should regularly communicate the opportunities that the adoption and use of data analysis tools and techniques offer to the organization.
The CEO or another respected company leader needs to lay out a vision for how analytics can and should be used throughout all layers of the organization to identify new business opportunities, to better understand customer needs and preferences, and to compete more effectively and drive more agile decision making in today’s fast-changing business environment.
3. Embed analysts in business teams. Data analysts need to work side-by-side with business teams to understand the challenges they’re trying to solve and to devise ways for applying data analysis and data discovery for taking action, as the TechTarget article notes. “If they’re (analysts) not embedded, they can’t possibly master the nuances of the business they’re trying to support,” as Facebook’s Rudin points out.
4. Reward analysts for generating insights that deliver value. There aren’t enough data scientists to go around, as Deloitte and others have recently concluded. Demand for experts with analytical skills is at a premium.
So just as companies reward salespeople for meeting sales targets and compensate other types of workers for meeting individual and team-focused goals, so, too, must data analysts be adequately incentivized and rewarded for delivering insights that generate quantifiable business performance gains.
5. Celebrate major accomplishments. When the use of data and data analysis enable a company to introduce a new product to the market ahead of the competition, gain market share, identify and create opportunities to improve customer service, or drive other types of business improvement, these accomplishments should be publicly recognized by senior management.
Be sure key contributors are acknowledged. After all, data is only bits and bytes until someone has the analytics tools needed to draw insights from it.
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