There is a month for cyber awareness, but what about data mastery?

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In 2021 alone, companies are expected to invest more than $ 215 billion in data, a 10% increase year-over-year. Yet BCG Research found that seven in ten companies were not meeting their digital transformation goals, while a 2020 NewVantage Partners survey found that less than 30% of companies believe they have an effective data culture. On top of all this, according to various estimates, between 52 and 80 percent of the data collected by companies is not used for any productive purpose.

At the same time, companies should be alarmed about the problem of data control among employees. According to a 2020 survey, only 21% of employees are confident in their data comprehension skills. Since mastery of data among employees has been correlated with better business performance, this means that most businesses are simply not reaching their full potential.

Foster a data culture

Businesses have a lot to gain by investing in data literacy initiatives for their employees. That’s not to say everyone has to become a data scientist, but Statistics 101 along with some data compliance basics could go a long way in helping a business succeed.

Just like there is currently a month dedicated to cybersecurity awareness, we need a month of data literacy. Ideally, what we should aim for is not just a month, but a full educational push across all industries that could benefit from data-driven decision making. But the thousand-kilometer journey begins with one step, and a month of awareness would serve as the perfect springboard. When planning such initiatives, we need to make sure that they don’t sink into another boring PowerPoint presentation. Instead, we need to clearly demonstrate how data can help employees with the tasks they do every day.

By adapting training sessions to the needs of each team or department, companies must first and foremost think about the specific situations in which employees regularly find themselves. Take the example of a content marketing or demand generation team: a simple comparison of conversion rates across multiple landing pages, which they most likely work on frequently, is a good way to not only determine the language. and optimal layout, but also to introduce statistical concepts such as population, sample and p-value. The same would apply to a cold sales team and lessons on A / B testing their sales scripts, while a team of store managers would likely be able to enjoy a training session on the basics. of the timeline analysis which will reveal seasonal purchasing patterns.

Such training should begin with tailored, instructor-led sessions designed to stimulate initial interest and arm employees with the tools of basic statistical understanding. From there, the company can choose from a variety of options, ranging from accessing self-paced online courses (ideally with interactive tasks) to cross-departmental brainstorming and training sessions aimed at promote interaction between the different teams.

In addition to addressing a major flaw that is holding businesses back, such steps would go a long way in enabling a larger transformation into a data-driven business. It would help change the overall mindset of the business when it comes to data – a feat that will pay off in dozens of subtle ways and not always visible on multiple levels. It will be easier for leaders who develop the data strategy to engage middle managers in the business. Core employees, on the other hand, will find it easier to carry out the strategy by approaching it with full competence and understanding. In some cases, data literacy will likely allow for bottom-up innovation, as routine workers may be able to answer business questions that are invisible to a strategist. The same would apply, on a larger scale, to regional and local hubs of a multinational company, with ample space to exchange best ideas and practices between all units.

Importantly, it could also help businesses to solve their dark data problem. With proper data hygiene training, employees will take more care to ensure that only useful and necessary data is stored, and only in the proper manner. In this way, they will be able to naturally reduce the accumulation of dark data, while making more use of the accumulated data not analyzed. All of the above will ultimately enhance the performance of the business and optimize its decision making, leading to increased revenue. After all, it’s already been found that companies with high data literacy score $ 320-534 million higher than their rivals and experience higher revenue growth over time.

For me personally, data has always been a key instrument for all of my daily tasks. In one of my previous gigs, I was in charge of most of the company’s revenue channels, with advertisers bidding in real time for ad space on websites powered by our platforms. We got hourly revenue comparisons from different advertisers. Without good data workflows, it was obviously impossible to do things right, and we needed not only good data, but also a good understanding of what to do with it. I started running small data processing sessions for co-workers who felt they were falling behind, where we played around with various bootstrap datasets, and pretty quickly, we built the workflows that increased revenue. of the company by 10%.

There’s another virtue to embracing the data literacy push: In today’s highly competitive marketplace, all the skills and knowledge an employee brings to the table is a competitive advantage. By fostering data mastery in the workforce, companies are empowering their employees to do better and empower them with skills that will remain valuable for years to come.

Going forward, the companies that embrace data transformation will be the ones that dominate their respective industries. And companies that start their education efforts early will likely be the fastest to reap the rewards for their investment.

Idan Shchori is co-founder and COO of Metrolink.ai, an Israeli omniplatform for data management. He previously worked as Vice President of Commercial Operations at EX.CO (ex-Playbuzz) and Head of Sales at WebPick Internet Holdings Ltd.

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