blog

What Does Your Business Need to Become a Data-Driven Organization?

03/02/2022 by Jaime D’Agord Data Communication

If there’s an ongoing theme from the past few years, it’s the increasing value of data. Cloud storage, big data, and machine learning have transitioned from futuristic-sounding buzzwords to standard practice for every business. From understanding the nuances of your customer behavior to identifying potential fraud, data holds the key to your success.

And yet, for all the value data provides, most organizations struggle to fully harness its capabilities. Setting up a data team to generate insights from your data is an important first step. But it’s really just the beginning. For your business to see transformative benefits from the information at its fingertips, you have to establish a data-driven organization to keep pace with a rapidly changing marketplace.

Creating a data-driven organization requires a comprehensive cultural shift. Though the investment associated with a modernization effort can be high, the costs of standing still are even higher.

Organizations Like Yours Are Falling Behind with Data

Companies looking to stay competitive in the years ahead should view their data as a lifeline. Whatever your industry, data analytics allows you to optimize your supply chain, identify suspicious transactions more efficiently, and reduce waste.

When everyone in your organization has access to data, you introduce a world of possibilities. However, according to the New Vantage Survey of executive leadership, most organizations still have a long way to go.

As of 2022, only 26.5% of executives reported that they have created a data-driven organization. Though more than 91% of those surveyed have increased their investment in data as part of their infrastructure, only 39.7% are managing their data as a business asset. When asked if they have created a data culture for their business, the affirmative responses fell to 19.3%.

Unfortunately, the widespread struggle to integrate data into an organization comes at a time when the amount of data generated continues to grow. With the pandemic accelerating the move to digital for businesses and their customers, 2021 saw 79 Zettabytes (that is, 1021) of data generated worldwide. In 2025, that number is expected to reach 180 Zettabytes.

If your organization isn’t adapting to the changes brought about by a data-driven world, you’re in danger of falling behind your competitors.

Data Without Analytics Is Missed Opportunity

At one time, your organization may have been able to consider the rise of Big Data as a distant development. Now, the term is practically irrelevant. We generate and consume so much information that big data has effectively just become “data.”

But even as data has become so ingrained in business, its value has only increased. Marketing, sales, recruitment, and customer service are core functions of your organization, and each one is driven by data. Customers, sales reps, and prospective hires create information with every interaction.

Your business needs to have the right tools to store and analyze this valuable information. However, technology is far from the biggest hurdle you need to clear in order to build a data-driven organization.

5 Traits of a Data-Driven Organization

Regardless of industry, data-driven businesses share key attributes at the organizational level. The right infrastructure will enable your team to analyze data. But you need the following traits for data to become a sustained part of your operation:

  • Data Literacy: Each employee in your company should be able to view and understand the data related to their roles. Training is critical to ensuring your teams are familiar with the new processes, and everyone must be on board.  
  • Data Democratization: Access to data should be opened up beyond your analytics team. Everybody in the organization should have appropriate access to the data they need in compliance with any security requirements. By opening up your data to who needs it, your organization can generate self-service analytics. Consequently, your business gains the flexibility to respond to market shifts and other changes faster.
  • Workload Automation: Rather than relying on reports generated by hand, your teams should create and adopt automated processes that deliver data insights on a scheduled basis. Eliminating manual processing and moving to technical operations allows your business to respond more quickly to marketplace changes.
  • Data Culture: Linked to data democratization, data culture is in place when analytics moves beyond a specialized segment of your business and is fully integrated with operations. Built on strong communication, data culture is developed as a digital transformation effort is rolled out to every business group, and gains increased adoption.

Uncertainty Is the Greatest Hindrance to Building a Data-Driven Company

As businesses work to keep pace with an ever-changing marketplace, companies often struggle to build a data-driven organization. You might recognize that you have a lot of data at your disposal. But understanding how to build the right database, dashboard, or application becomes a stumbling block before taking the next step.

Often, companies will turn to familiar yet inefficient tools like spreadsheets to cobble together a manual workaround and create the insights they need. Solutions like these may work in the short term, but they ultimately keep data siloed to one area of the organization. Plus, as the system evolves, you could wind up incorporating multiple system patches that grow increasingly disorganized. When the time is right to modernize, your data partner ultimately has to start from scratch to deliver the solution you need. 

Even if you’re unsure how to capture and compile the data your organization produces, you still have a way to find the right solution. With the right data partner, you gain the tools to change how your business views its data and generates insights. The question ultimately comes down to how much longer you can wait before you get started.