Data literacy as a business strategy

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In 2021, software is no longer the star of the tech world. Nowadays, it’s data that is eating the world as increasing numbers of organizations from every industry embrace the powerful insights and efficiencies enabled by its analysis. The future of the workplace is now, and data literacy at every level of the corporate hierarchy is essential to drive a competitive edge and ensure productive, effective workflows.

The use of data has become prevalent across almost every department of the enterprise. 52% of enterprises are already leveraging advanced analytics to enable greater awareness and contextual insights into their operations. But it’s not just executives who are wielding data to better understand how their operations are functioning. Product teams use data to prioritize more effectively and make better product decisions, while marketing teams optimize their campaigns and update their websites based on the latest data reports. 

With data, gut-feeling decision making becomes a thing of the past. Data, and the objective facts that it heralds, become the de facto shot caller.

However, you don’t have to be a data scientist to bask in the glory of its insights. Even a rudimentary understanding of data and statistics empowers employees to be more effective and do their work more efficiently. For example, with just a basic level of data literacy, employees from different departments can draw insights from the marketing department’s PPC reports and ask better questions. Department heads who know what data can and cannot do are more effective at defining the type of dashboard they need to better understand their operations. 

Data Literacy for Everyone

As data becomes increasingly prevalent in the business space, the need for cross-organizational data literacy is becoming clearer. Cross-organizational data literacy will enable the organization to leverage more of the benefits that data provides. This will drive more efficient and effective workflows and put data-driven decision-making at the core of every organizational strategy. 

As we march forward into the 21st century, data literacy has become a critical business differentiator. Organizations that understand this are embracing data at every level and are quickly gaining an edge. Those that choose to ignore the obvious will be soon be overtaken by their data zealous competitors and be forgotten.

All this means that data education should be mandated for every employee in the organization. Data literacy is simply too important to the future of the organization to be consigned as side-projects for employees to pick up in their spare time. On-demand, random data courses with no structured curriculum or tracking and measuring capabilities just won’t cut it.

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Data Literacy is A Strategic, Long-term Asset

Organizations looking to cash-in on the data frenzy are challenged to find the best way to implement data literacy across the organization. Some consider setting up their own, internal ‘Data Academies’. However, this initiative is a costly, lengthy process and there’s no guarantee that it will be successful. Without a structured pedagogical approach set up by experienced professionals, data professionals are often hard-pressed to effectively transfer their knowledge. Tracking and measurement are also critical factors that prove the effectiveness of data programs and ensure that employees enrich their data skill sets. 

Third-party corporate training providers — like Elevation — can offer organizations an effective, proven approach to fully integrate data within their core DNA. Providers handle all the aspects of establishing an internal Data Academy including setting the objectives, evaluating existing capabilities, customizing training, building supporting infrastructure, delivering the content and measuring progress.

Elevation offers three strategic L&D programs focused on empowering data literacy within the organization. A modular learning structure provides organizations with a choice to either implement all three courses or pick and choose any one course that they’re interested in.

Elevation’s Data-Driven Organisation Eco-System
  1. Achieving basic data literacy across the organization. Courses focus on building a data-driven culture where employees are driven by results, focused on procedure optimization and leverage facts instead of gut feelings.
  2. Once data literacy has been achieved, the next step is transferring knowledge to a specific group of employees who will help the organization to begin implementing data-driven decision making. Courses become more advanced and shift towards data tools like SQL, Python and Tableu to empower capabilities to create, manage and visualize data from multiple sources and business processes. 
  3. The final step is establishing relevant domain datera expertise in each department. Courses train department leaders on how to use data in specific fields like product management, marketing, UX, HR and senior management to ensure that data continues driving the organization forward.

Data-driven decision making will soon help steer strategies and tactics across every organization in the world. Those companies that recognize this as an immutable fact and accelerate data literacy across their organization will quickly develop a competitive edge over those that don’t. To empower this, organizations are challenged to achieve at least a basic level of data literacy among all of their employees, in every department. However, teaching new skills to existing employees who are often set in their ways is easier said than done.

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