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Data & Cloud Analytics Strategy

How Do I Get the Most Value from My Data Technology Platform?

August 31, 2021
Nick Amabile

Build the Data Culture to Get the Most out of Your Data Tech

Transforming Companies into Data-Driven Organizations

Data is hot. Some experts say it’s now the world’s most valuable commodity. So naturally, data is top of mind for every business – how to capture it, how to apply it, how to monetize it. There’s fantastic technology available to help organizations do just that. But technology is only valuable if people are actually using it and it’s helping companies achieve their goals.

To get the most out of your data, creating a data culture is at least as important as getting the right technology. That means integrating data into every aspect of your business so you have a holistic picture of your customer throughout the customer journey. It means making sure everyone who needs data to do their jobs well has access to it and understands it and how to use it. And it means eliminating the disconnect between your tech people and your data users that creates “lost in translation” situations and lost opportunities.

Getting to a data culture isn’t always a quick or easy process. But following some basic steps can help get you there.

Start with your business needs, not with the technology.

With all the capabilities modern data platforms offer, it can be tempting to start your data journey with the latest cool technology then figure out how it will actually help your business. Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for investing a lot of time and money in tech that might not be aligned with what you really need and won’t be used correctly – or at all – by your people. Instead, start by articulating a clear understanding of what you want to get out of your data; what your needs are, how you use data, and your current problems and process. Then decide on the technology that’s the best fit.

Create a trusted, central source of truth.

In too many organizations, people spend as much time trying to figure out which key data figures are correct as they do strategizing about how to use the data to improve their business. Solve that problem by storing a centralized, standardized set of data within a strong data platform that’s modern and scalable. When you have a trusted, transparent source of data where metrics are clearly defined, the discussion will shift from whether the numbers are right to why the numbers are what they are.

Get early champions and get it right the first time.

When it comes to technology, implementing it with a top-down approach rarely succeeds. People are used to certain systems and ways of doing things. If they get frustrated trying to use technology that they don’t fully understand and isn’t customized to their needs, they’re likely to go back to their old spreadsheets. You can avoid that by implementing the technology gradually, finding early champions and beta testing to make sure the technology tools are right for the organization and customized for critical users. You only get one chance to make a good first impression – make the most of it.

Empower your non-technical people.

Building a data-driven organization involves far more than giving your tech team more and better capabilities. You need to eliminate the “data breadline” of people lining up to ask for the information they need, and democratize your data by giving everyone easy access in a way that makes it understandable and actionable. Create a self-service culture where non-technical people on the customer front lines can answer their own data questions.

Remember data literacy.

The core of a data culture is people having access to data and understanding how it relates to the entire organization and to their jobs. It’s important to give your data context by relating it to core performance metrics and business goals. Keep people focused on high-level KPIs and the right metrics and they will figure out what drives those targets from a data standpoint.

Today more than ever before, data needs to be central to every aspect of your business. But before you take the leap into a modern technology solution, take the time to think critically about your business goals and the problems you’re trying to solve. And invest in training and change management so your people understand the new tool and why they’re valuable. 

Take a methodical, people-oriented approach to data tech, and you’ll build a stronger business while making everyone’s jobs easier. That’s a win-win worth the effort.

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