Why data alone, is not enough to be successful
Did you know that in 2020 the sales of diapers dropped, and sales of cleaning material rose? Due to the pandemic, we had a peak preview of what the future holds for us: rapid shifts in economic buying behavior, different ways of working, a peak in e-commerce, global impact from political events, and the need to track how we’re doing continuously.
Do you have a grip on the impact the crisis has on your business? What does your data tell you? Organizations investing in a data-driven transformation have an answer to these questions. They will be successful in the future that already started.
How can you join them?
Technology is not the key
Organizations that want to switch to a more data-driven approach tend to focus mainly on creating (or acquiring) the technology that could help them offer innovative possibilities. To leverage their data, companies need to embrace smart technologies. But artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning are only a part of the puzzle! How will you create real business value? And what about the business adoption of these technologies?
The key to success is balancing thoughtfully between technology and the ability to change. Being data-driven is about making an organization more intelligent. Dumping a truckload of data on a few data experts and telling them ‘to just start digging’ is never very productive.
Start with why
To create business value with data, it is advisable first to decide why you want to use data. It’s not the data as such that are your starting point, but the value those data could bring.
As for every transformation, the shift towards a data-driven organization starts with a vision followed by a good plan. Why do we exist? How does being data-driven help us achieve that? Why? These questions are crucial to get the entire organization on board. Next, revise the company’s general strategy (and not only the data one). Do we want to become a market leader? What is the most significant change we want to achieve? What is the timeframe to reach our goals?
Both external and internal drivers must be taken into account when doing this exercise. Companies must look at their market, understand shifts in behavior, flag new trends, and anticipate to stay ahead. Additionally, there’s the sometimes forgotten internal impact on the company culture. What happens if you have great technology and a thought-through strategy from the management team but no bottom-up to leverage?
Nothing or rebellion.
People make the difference
The combination of data technology and people is crucial. Data is useless if people can’t or refuse to use it, and even the most brilliant minds achieve less without the proper technology. Even though most people agree that we need to evolve toward data-driven decision-making and provide market responses fast, humans inherently don’t like change.
If your employees determine the success of your transition, how can you get everyone on board in a (more or less) safe way?
First, tell your people exactly what to expect because “switching to a more data-driven approach” is a vague objective. Communicate your message in a way that people know what to expect and get excited about it. Don’t make this a statement about data only. Talk about the vision and how data can help in achieving those ambitious dreams.
Second, there is structure. If we keep working in silos, each using our data and excel files, becoming data-driven is impossible. Most companies made their first steps already. They become more organized by the product or service they provide instead of by separate departments. As a consequence, different functional centers of expertise need to collaborate. Translated to data, that means data experts collaborating with the business.
Sounds easy, right? What if these people don’t understand each other? To make this combination a success, you need to be able to switch languages easily.
Speaking several languages
Compare it to going to another country. The obvious thing to do to find your way around is to learn a few words from the local language. However, even though you know how to ask for directions, the local people might find you rude. The hard skill of understanding the language alone is not enough. Knowing how to bring a message, how to behave, how to make people want to help you are the “oil” that will make the machine work smoothly.
So, what if you had people that speak both languages fluently? What if you had people that can translate technology into “human speak”? They would be able to adapt their communication and behavior to the needs of others in the organization.
Eventually, the goal should be to have people with a data mindset, skillset, and toolset throughout the entire organization. In the beginning, however, you need people that can facilitate the change and the transition towards a data-driven organization.
Hire a data chief
The Data Chief Traineeship is a powerful combination: the ORMIT Talent development expertise and ORTEC Data savviness. Our Data Chiefs are not only infused with data expertise; they are also selected and trained to develop personal leadership. They can switch their communication style based on who they’re working with. Data chiefs speak the language of both data and business. It is like investing in a bridge between your data expert department and the business.
Anatomy of an Ormit Talent data chief
Give your company a data injection with Ormit Talent and ORTEC’s Data chiefs
Our data chiefs are young potentials with a background in data. During a two-year traineeship, they are prepared through bootcamps, training and customer assignments to become data specialists with strong human skills. To this end, we work in partnership with ORTEC, an authority in the field of advanced analytics, IT and business processes.