It has been years since companies have been trying to become data-driven one, but they are having mixed results. These efforts play out over time in perseverance, implementation, persistence, organization, and ruthless drive to use data to make more informed business-related decisions are what distinguishes those other companies that succeed from those who continue to struggle. However, while the mission may remain constant, the variables change.

futuristic interface. woman engineer touching virtual screens.

As of this moment, the biggest challenge for the corporations around the world working on their data strategy might not have to do with technological variables at all. To know much about the topic, I went through the latest New Vantage Partners annual survey, which tracks the progress of commercial data initiatives, business chief data, information, and analytics officials reported that cultural change is the most significant business imperative. It is an understandable problem: to a degree that is perpetually miscalculated, becoming data-driven is about the ability of people and organizations to adjust to change. Companies which have been established over generations and centuries, are unlikely to change overnight – adaption of internet already took almost a quarter of a century for those companies. Likewise, the effort of the firms to become 100 percent data-driven represents a business conversion that is playing out over the course of a generation. Much of that transformation has been achieved, yet more remains to be achieved.

But while this issue is not brand-new, there are two distinct cultural subtleties that have shaped company efforts during the past few years.

First, the Covid-19 pandemic – and the troubles it caused – raised consciousness of the significance of data, science, and facts. While corporations may have emphasized the importance of data before, the case that good data is essential to the importance of making informed and judicious business decisions has been made clear over the past two years.

Secondly, self-service is gaining momentum, and people now consume information and data when and how they want it. We live in that era where consumers can select the news they follow, the social media they engage with according to their interests, and the type of data that they choose to trust. At its most extreme, it has given rise to the notion of “alternative facts.”

Finally, there is a structural fact: The among of data that is generated daily continues to grow at exponential rates. With the increase in computing power, companies can now have the cushion of generating precise answers, rather than rely on representative data samples.

Understanding these insights – and how other businesses are navigating them – can help enterprises make real development in relation to their objectives of data-driven decision making.

Obstacles to Becoming Data-Driven

There are three signs of progress that stand out among the examined organizations.

Firstly, achieving data-driven leadership remains an inspiration for most organizations – just 26.5% of organizations report having established a data-driven organization.

Secondly, transforming into a data-driven requires an administrative emphasis on cultural change. In last year’s survey, around 92 percent of executives cite cultural difficulties as the greatest barrier to transforming fully into data driven. As mentioned earlier, this is not a technological issue. It is a people challenge.

Thirdly, organizations are establishing the leadership function – in the role of Chief Data and Analytics Officer – which will provide the basis of becoming data-driven. However, just 40.2 percent of firms state that the position is productive and well recognized within their organization.

Now, it does not help either that the task of being data-driven keeps getting tougher. Today, firms encounter vast volumes of data, as well as new sources of data, which include signals, texts, pictures, and other unstructured data. It has recently been argued that around four quarters of all new data is unstructured, meaning that it is not easily measurable. Increasingly, companies must realize the true potential of data generated and recognize it as an asset that flows through an organization. Data cuts through organizational boundaries, frequently without clear ownership. The smoothness of data combines the complexity of managing this asset in a way that always delivers business value.

Furthermore, there is one emerging concern that faces every business nowadays when it comes to management and the ownership of data. This is the surety of reliable and ethical data use. This is a key topic that has been written about extensively in the recent past and has been the key concentration point of critics. One of the articles I read recently was by law professor Neil Richards, where he digs deeper into the issues of personal privacy and business data responsibility.

Steps Organizations Can Take

Transforming into a data-driven organization is a journey which unfolds over time, measured in years, and sometimes in decades. If we talk about the steps, which ones can the organizations take to accelerate these efforts? Experience makes us understand that data-driven organizations consistently show qualities that set them apart from their contemporaries.

The firms which are data-driven consistently execute these three principles:

  1. Think Differently: Organization’s data leaders recognize that transforming into data-driven requires a different mindset. They must be prepared to have a different thinking. There is no shortage of data analytical algorithms. These need to be aligned by critical thinking, human judgement, and a view to create innovation.

  2. Learning Faster by Failing Fast: Data management understand that experience can be gained through learning, which often entails a process of trial and error. It has been said that failure is a basis for improvement. Companies that are prepared for faster monotonous learning – fail fast, learn quicker – will gain patterns and understanding before their competitors.

  3. Focus on the Long-term: Transforming into data-driven is a process. Data leaders appreciate that the data journey is a long-term process that takes time. Data-driven companies understand that success is achieved iteratively. It will grow and then expand. Successful firms expect to be at this process for a while because they focus on the long-term benefits.

 To compete in the expanding data-driven world of this century, business higher management must learn from the experience of the forerunners. They must actively strive to work to avoid the consequences of the past and gain from the example of those firms that have pushed forward with success. At a moment when data, science, and statistics have been quizzed from many quarters, becoming a data-driven organization matters for successful growth.


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