There’s a difference between having the tools necessary to do something and having the knowledge and skills necessary to do so. Put it this way: Anyone can get behind the wheel of a car, but not everyone knows what to do next. The same principle applies to enterprises deploying business intelligence and data analytics. Having the tools is a fundamental first step
Gartner estimates half of all organizations “will lack sufficient Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data literacy skills to achieve business value” by 2020. But not for lack of trying — the research firm also expects 80 percent of organizations to deliberately develop data literacy to overcome these deficits.
Why should companies develop a data-literate workforce, exactly? Here are three key reasons.
Teams Can Use Data More Self-Sufficiently
As Info World notes, we’re in the midst of a shift away from IT departments solely managing data to “our current reality where people who aren’t used to working with data must incorporate those skills.”
Self-service search and voice analytics tools are capable of helping employees of all stripes interface directly with stored data, ask questions and receive instant answers. In theory, this alleviates the need for teams like marketing, sales and leadership to treat data specialists like gatekeepers standing between them and insights they can use in decision-making.
However, data literacy is a determining factor in how much value these employees can derive from data — along with the accuracy and quality of the insights they’re taking away. The better versed everyone throughout an organization is in data concepts and language, the easier time they’ll have pulling insights, interpreting them correctly and using them effectively to drive business outcomes.
IT Teams Get Relief from the Reporting Backlog
Another advantage of boosting data literacy among non-specialists is it takes much of the pressure off IT teams to produce constant reports on behalf of others. Without a backlog of requests, IT experts can set their sights on loftier projects — ones more closely tied to advancing strategy and organizational growth.
Data Literacy Can Help or Hurt Growth
Enterprises with the ability to connect decision-makers with speedy data insights — in other words, companies with the right tools and degree of data literacy in place — are equipped to make business decisions capable of driving growth. Data can help companies optimize performance, cut waste, eliminate pain points, reduce operating costs, maximize output and drill down into customer behavior. These are building blocks to sustainable business growth.
On the flip side, lacking the tools and data literacy necessary to capitalize on data insights can inhibit growth. Increasingly, the degree to which an organization is able to become data driven will affect its competitive edge; growth is a big part of that differentiation.
How to Develop a Data-Literate Workforce
We’ve outlined three compelling reasons to boost data literacy within your enterprise. Your next question is probably: How? Well, it’s a combination of products and processes. Deploying a self-service data analytics platform like ThoughtSpot is a start. But businesses will have to do more to truly promote data literacy at every level.
Establishing expectations and shared language centering around data is a must, as is providing accessible training for employees. Cultivating a data-driven culture is about more than just tools; it’s about how people use these tools, as well as how they communicate their findings. Make sure company leaders are taking initiative and leading by example, rather than paying lip service to the value of data without demonstrating its value in action.
Developing a data-literate workforce is no longer an optional yet desirable goal; it’s an absolute must for staying competitive as we move into the future.