A consensus is growing among business leaders that data science can no longer be reserved for data scientists alone. Advanced analytics, long regarded as esoteric and highly technical, is increasingly becoming part of everyday business decision-making at all levels of the organization.
Leading companies prioritize data literacy so that many or all their employees can use analytics tools, understand insights from analytics, or, at a minimum, speak the language of analytics when communicating with analytics users. Companies driven by analytics are proven to perform better, where “by empowering employees with these fundamental skills, companies realize tremendous levels of innovation and efficiency,” Harvard Business Review (HBR) reports.
But to facilitate these benefits, leaders need to create a culture within their organizations that values analytics as a key component of all their decision-making processes. How can they ensure employees realize and take action based on insights from analytics? There are two key steps:
Traditional companies, especially those where instincts-based decision-making at senior levels of the organization is common, are struggling to embrace this concept, let alone adopt it as an initiative. A 2019 Deloitte Survey found that 63% of U.S. executives do not believe their companies are analytics-driven, and 67% say they are uncomfortable accessing or using data from their tools and resources.
At the heart of this struggle is their tendency to assign data-science responsibilities to only a small number of highly trained employees — and no one else. As business environments become less predictable and competitors unlock the true power of analytics in their organizations, this model becomes unsustainable.
It’s time business leaders broaden their perspectives on business analytics. Here’s a closer look at how analytics access at all levels of the organization is transforming business for the better.
“Companies that want to compete in the age of data need to do three things: share data tools, spread data skills, and spread data responsibility,” HBR reports. Indeed, with the right data culture, companies can provide a wide variety of business and technical users with purpose-built, roles-based access to analytics. Doing so means companies can improve decision-making for all their users, which may include:
When done successfully, each of these users can engage in insights-based communication and collaboration using the same terms, even if their individual experiences with analytics are different.
In time, analytics will become a seamless part of employees’ workflows. Business Intelligence (BI) technologies like analytics “will enable business users to turn insights into actions without leaving whatever business or productivity application they have open,” Forrester reports.
The essential first step to realizing this level of agility is ensuring employees can access analytics-based insights relevant to their individual roles. That means bringing decision-makers at all levels of the organization “closer” to analytics.
When you commit all employees to a single version of the truth and empower decision-making at all levels of your organization, you create an undeniable foundation for long-term business success.