Data Driven Culture

What does it involve?

Data driven culture involves taking decisions based on data. This kind of culture is established when a company is able to organize its processes and metrics building them on real data, and leaves aside decision making based on intuition or past experience.

However, a data based organization does not only require encouraging data use in decision making. It also requires data leaders to encourage the right skills development and re-designing the work dynamics so that everyone is able to generate value from their data. This is why analytical skills are extremely important for any work team.

Counting with knowledge and tools that allow us to analyse and understand our way of management, the impact and justifications of our decisions is essential. Our decisions and proposals must have a real and verifiable basis, building and testing different hypotheses and sceneries, validating tendencies and projections and knowing how to present them and explain them to our leaders, but most of all, developing analytical thinking.




IBM as a reference in the implementation of a data driven culture mentions the main characteristics of a data based company:

  • Data is centralized and organized: In order to guarantee data to be recent and relevant, data from all the areas of an organization is gathered. The gathered data in not only internal. There are different external data sources that can and must be included in the analysis (depending on the industry)
  • There are data governance policies: In order to save key data quality such as product data, client’s data and supplier’s data, there must be clear data governance processes. According to some studies, master data deteriorates at a rate of 2% per month if it’s not regulated. Data quality is key to a high quality analysis.
  • Data is accessible. It wouldn’t be beneficial to have huge amounts of information if no one used it. It’s true that not all employees will have access to all of the company’s data, but they must have access to the part that will be necessary for them to do their jobs. This data must be easily accessible via different tools: smartphones, PCs and laptops.
  • The analytics are integrated into tools: Analysis tools in organizations that are based on data tend to be among the most innovative. They can easily define analysis models. They can also be integrated with already existing tools, and that increases the probability of them being used. This is because workers are already familiarized with their use. Companies have a competitive advantage when these analytical models allow users to predict and act on company knowledge. This is because results get optimized.




In the same line of thought, Christopher S Penn establishes that each data based organization goes through five stages in their evolution:

  1. Data resistant: The company doesn’t use data for any objectives
  2. Data curious: The company sees and analyses the opportunity of data integration and use in order to enhance their processes.
  3. Data recognition: The company starts to use data analysis for some of its operational processes
  4. Data expert: The company starts to use data analysis for multiple work areas. It also gets more informed about data management and uses data in order to take decisions.
  5. Data based: The company uses data as a main asset in order to establish strategical planning, objectives and to evaluate future risk




Now, what are the steps needed to implement a data driven culture in your organization?


Adopt the Data governance policy

It’s not enough to gather, store, analyse and interpret data. It’s fundamental to also guarantee that the available data is reliable, coherent, transparent and high quality.

By adopting a data governance policy, clear guidelines are established about how to administrate data: from the gathering process to processing and information obtainment. In this way, you can make sure that information is high quality and mitigate the risk of mistakes being committed as they can be identified and dealt with in real time.


Establish data democratization

In order to change an organization’s mindset and motivate them to use data, it’s necessary that data resources and tools are accessible and legible for everyone. Thanks to that, planning processes are made easier, management transparency is secured, the occurrence of misunderstandings is limited and time is saved. It also contributes to a better understanding of work in different areas of the company and the organization as a whole.


Develop data literacy

In order to build a data driven culture, all employees must speak the same language. The term “data literacy” is defined by Gartner as the capacity of reading, writing and communicating data in context. This is done with knowledge of the sources, methods and techniques that are applied. Thanks to this, everyone will be able to understand the information use and build strategies.


Training must be offered on time

In order to start this data based road, professionals must discover new tools to understand the context. This is why it’s more effective to train them with analytical and specialized concepts just before they need them so that they don’t forget about them and can put them in practice immediately. Offer learning activities and tutorships that will enhance skills and knowledge in order to act based on data and maximize investments. This way, you’ll make sure that they have the confidence to work with new data tools.


Use your data to help your employees, not only your clients

Why not use your data in order to make your employees’ life easier? If employees discover that data management will benefit them directly (saving time, automatizing tasks, obtaining quick information, etc.), they will become motivated to persevere in their work and encourage others to use data.


Adopt a flexible technological solution

You should incorporate useful technology so that your team will have the ability to analyse data quickly and execute their projects. Pay attention to all technological providers and analyse the best option for your company, taking into account security and privacy measurements.


Data driven culture is transversal to each area of the company. It’s a type of organizational philosophy that will allow you to be one step forward on the road of taking efficient decisions.

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