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What Does Learning Have To Do With Data Culture?

Everything!

Today, there is an overdose of technological options to put data to better use, but not enough enterprises are set up with the right culture to put data to best use.

I recently happened to read an interview based article in the McKinsey Quarterly, titled – “Why Data Culture Matters”.

The article highlighted seven principles that underpin a healthy data culture. Let’s look at them.

  1. DATA CULTURE IS DECISION CULTURE
    • The Takeaway – Don’t approach data analysis as a cool “science experiment” or an exercise of amassing data for data’s sake. The fundamental objective in collecting, analysing and deploying data is to make better decisions
  2. DATA CULTURE, C-SUITE IMPERATIVES, & THE BOARD
    • The Takeaway – Commitment from the CEO and the board is essential. But that commitment must be manifested by more than occasional high-level pronouncements; there must be an ongoing, informed conversation with top decision makers and those who lead data initiatives throughout the organization.
  3. THE DEMOCRATISATION OF DATA
    • The Takeaway – Get data in from of people and they get excited. But building cool experiments or imposing tools top down doesn’t cut it. To create a competitive advantage, stimulate demand for data from the grass roots.
  4. DATA CULTURE & RISK
    • The Takeaway – An effective data culture puts risk at its core – a “yin and yang” of your value proposition. Although companies must identify there “red lines” and honour them, risk management should operate as a smart accelerator, by introducing analytics into key processes and interactions in a responsible manner.
  5. CULTURE CATALYSTS
    • The Takeaway – The board and the CEO raise the data clarion, and the people on the front lines take up the call. But to really ensure buy-in, someone’s got to lead the charge. That requires people who can bridge both worlds – data science and on-the-ground operations. And usually, the most effective change agents are not digital natives.
  6. SHARING DATA BEYOND COMPANY WALLS? NOT SO FAST
    • The Takeaway – There’s increasing buzz about a coming shift to ecosystems, with the assumption that far greater value will be delivered to customers by assembling a breath of the best data and analytics assets available in the market rather than creating everything in-house. Yet data leaders are building cultures that see data as the “crown jewel” asset and data analytics is treated as both proprietary and a source of competitive advantage in a more interconnected world.
  7. MARRYING TALENT & CULTURE
    • The Takeaway – The competition for data talent is unrelenting. But there’s another element at play: integrating the right talent for your data culture. That calls for striking the appropriate balance for your institution between injecting new employees and transforming existing ones. Take a broader view in sourcing and a sharper look at the skills your data team requires.

Based on my most recent assignments, which include Swiss Banks, Insurance companies, Mobile operators and Global retailers, I am absolutely convinced that the rise or fall of an organisation is dependent on each and every decision made on a day to day basis. No decision is trivial, especially considering the changes happening in our world. And more importantly, “people” are expected to make decisions. And if people are unable to make decisions in-spite of available data and related technologies, there is a serious “cancer” in the organisations.

The good news is that this is curable, if addressed on time in the right manner. And the medicine is “learning”.

The best investment that leaders and individuals can make in this age is in –  learning to adapt to this changing world.

All our technological advancement are only worthwhile if we put them to good use for the people in our world.

To this end, the best we can do is to keep – learning.