Enterprises are often data-rich yet insights-poor, struggling to turn data into business value. And while data leaders like CDOs and CDAOs rightfully focus on the technologies that support getting value from data—technologies like MDM and data virtualization—another gap must be addressed. It’s the “people” facet of the data value chain. Gartner states in a recent article, “Poor data literacy is ranked as the second-biggest internal roadblock to the success of the CDO’s office. By 2023, data literacy will become essential in driving business value, demonstrated by its formal inclusion in over 80 percent of data and analytics strategies and change management programs.”
Simply put, without organization-wide data literacy, even with the most robust data management solutions, you can’t effectively extract all the value locked away in your data. Your journey to building a resilient, effective data value chain rests upon how well the people across your organization can use data for decision-making and automation.
Defining Data Literacy
Gartner defines data literacy as the ability to read, write, and communicate data in context—including understanding data sources and constructs, analytical methods, and applied techniques. Data literacy also includes the ability to describe the use case, application, and resulting value from data.
Data literacy should emphasize critical thinking with data for most business users and consumers of data. That means being able to read, interrogate, and apply data as shared in reports, dashboards, and other distributed decision-support artifacts.
Data literacy is an underlying component of an employee’s ability and desire to use existing and emerging technology to drive better business outcomes. In the journey to increasing data value, data literacy is key.
Your people’s roles in the three columns to the left in the diagram (Create, Manage, and Refine columns) are typically technical—data engineers, data analysts, or data managers. To the right (Analyze and Automate columns), roles encompass business users, data consumers, and technical roles. To scale and democratize insights and to get full value from your data, your business users and consumers must be data literate.
Why Data Literacy Needs Your Leadership
CDOs and CIOs must take the lead as executive sponsors for enterprise-wide data literacy. MIT Sloan Management Review research notes that “…having executive sponsors who are actively engaged is the leading factor in project success.” Gartner concurs and amplifies that research, stating, “To achieve the ambitious goals of D&A strategies and address the existing skill gaps, CDOs should roll out data literacy training programs. It can help them create an environment where learning D&A skills and acquiring data literacy knowledge is a part of the organizational culture.”
It takes your unique view of the organization and its goals to ensure that data literacy isn’t siloed. CDOs and CIOs can provide the practical perspective needed along the journey toward more data value.
5 Reasons You Must Lead on Data Literacy
- More and more differentiated value. When more of your employees are data literate, they can contribute more meaningfully to data monetization efforts, enabling your organization to realize more value from your data through direct and indirect monetization.
- More efficiency. When business users are data literate and supported with robust governance, you don’t need to silo insights access. You can democratize and enable self-service insights, conserving analyst and data scientist time.
- More capacity across the organization. Building a culture of data literacy is a capacity-builder, enabling more of your employees to contribute to solving the toughest problems your organization may face.
- More satisfaction. Employees who are empowered to make positive, high-impact contributions report more job satisfaction. Recent research notes that millenials in particular find participation in decision-making highly related to job satisfaction. Other research shows that, when employees are data-driven and happy, customers are more likely to have positive experiences.
- More competitive advantage. By enabling more data-driven value, efficiency, capacity, and satisfaction, your enterprise is much better positioned to outperform the competition.
Data Literacy Underpins Advantage for Koch Industries
Koch Industries is an “enterprise of enterprises” where every organization manages its own data and information technology approach. However, principles central to Koch Industries guide the organization’s overall success. Two of these principles—transformation and knowledge—implicitly require a high degree of data literacy.
The team at Koch Industries knows that the accelerated pace of change demands knowledge-based, ongoing transformation to thrive. Koch meets this need through “knowledge networks” within each business and throughout the organization.
The primacy of data literacy for Koch Industries’ success is shown by its adoption of a centralized approach to metadata management and governance. To democratize insights, the team at Koch saw that its data value chain needed to be supported by a unified platform. In this way, the team could ensure that data, the fuel for transformation, was accessible by the right systems, processes, and people at the right times.
Koch ultimately selected TIBCO EBX for a variety of reasons.
- TIBCO EBX could support many systems and was not confined to prebuilt data models and attached to an ERP.
- Koch’s distributed IT teams could take advantage of the customizability of TIBCO EBX.
- TIBCO EBX could support other pillars of data governance, including data lineage and a data catalog.
This practical application of data management technologies from TIBCO helps Koch Industries realize its vision, one where every employee can “seek and acquire the best knowledge from any and all sources,” enabling innovation and improving results.
Get Started with TIBCO’s Proven Leadership
For over two decades, TIBCO EBX software has defined the MDM market. Now available as a SaaS offering, the TIBCO Cloud EBX solution delivers everything needed within a single platform to manage, govern, and share master data, reference data, and metadata.