A lot has already been said about data literacy and the need to create data-savvy organizations.
According to Gartner, “Data literacy is the ability to read, write and communicate data in context with an understanding of data sources and constructs, analytical methods and techniques applied, and the ability to describe the use case, application and resulting value.”
Similarly, MIT Sloan defines “Data Literacy as the ability of a company’s employees to understand and work with data to the appropriate degree”
All is good with these definitions except they only talk about abilities and not mindset shifts.
Data Literacy Isn’t Just a Skill Game but Also Entails the Right Mindset
Along with having a range of skills to analyze data, you should also have the mindset (belief and willingness) to apply data in day-to-day jobs.
Instead of being apprehensive of data, you should be willing to argue with data.
Accenture’s recent study found that only 21 percent of 9,000 employees were fluent enough to handle business data as a part of their role. Rest were either scared, underconfident, or overwhelmed when tasked with data.
A critical data literacy gap!
And to fix this up, as business leaders you must arm your workforce with
-The competencies required to handle data securely
– Build awareness around data, and
– Create a data-driven culture that goes beyond individual responsibilities.
Data Literacy Is Now Less of a Nice to Have and More of a Necessity
Why is data literacy important?
COVID-19 made data literacy the need of the hour. Data literacy (as a crucial skill) is no longer tied to specific designations or departments.
Times have changed. What worked in the past won’t fit the bill now. Businesses are evolving, roles are changing, teams are becoming more diverse and data is getting more impactful than it has ever been. Which means in the coming years, you can expect to see a growing number of employees handling data in different capacities.
To put it simply, a digital workplace will have everyone’s role in data.
Data Literacy Isn’t Just a Skill Reserved for CDO’s or Data Scientists but Everyone
To thrive in a data-driven world, not only you should speak the data language but also encourage your teams to-irrespective of their roles, functions, or designations.
Today, organizations are bombarded with tons of data but they don’t know how to interact with it, how to act on that information, or how to use that information to derive insights?
You need more data believers who can see the value of data in its varied forms. You need people who can interpret stats or charts and frame stories out of it. You need a data-savvy workforce that can discriminate between good data and bad data.
That’s where data literacy becomes the major ask!
Citing McKinsey’s recent research, “Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable.”
From an organization’s perspective, this could mean improved bottom line, better client relationships, and an edge in the market. When it comes to navigating the most complex business challenges (or any crisis per se), data literacy can be of tremendous value.
On the workforce front, data skills can help your employees excel at their jobs. They’ll be in a stronger position to question data and get through such turbulent times.
With a Data-Led Approach, You Get a Bird’s-Eye View of Your Consumers
Data literacy goes beyond high sales numbers. It also helps you connect with your customers better. Data insights give you an aerial perspective of how your customers interact with your brand.
In a customer-driven era, you wouldn’t want to make decisions based on beliefs- it’s risky. But, a decision driven with data helps you understand what exactly went wrong. It helps you dig deeper into-
- What made your customer like a particular product? Or
- What made them never return to your brand?
Understanding these is imperative to manage risk and walk consumers through these pressing times. And data literacy is the only fix. It eradicates the need to trust “gut instinct” for making data-based decisions.
From “Why did this happen?” to “We know how to resolve this”– data literacy can help you make choices that minimize time, effort or money.
Data Can Be a Perk or Suffering Depending on How You Act On It
There is a huge gap between current skills and the data skills (required to drive success in an era marked by digitalization).
Simply explaining to your teams what a database is and expecting them to churn out data-informed decisions isn’t how data literacy works. Data analysis cannot happen in silos. It needs to be fully interwoven into the culture. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to show a commitment to change.
Removing the barrier to data access, data literacy, and data culture is emergent than ever.
If you’re a leader stuck in outdated processes, you’ll have an arduous time accepting the new normal. And clearly, there is no time to waste. Data literacy is needed now.
Pandemics like these will come and go. But the question is – “Are you prepared?”
“Are your employees willing to share data?” “Does your team show up in conversations involving data?”, “Do they have the curiosity to bring insights out of existing data?”
If the answer is YES, you’re all set to attract new customers, open up new opportunities, realize better business outcomes, and embrace the future.
How Can KNOLSKAPE Help You Become a Data-Smart Organization via Data Literacy?
According to the Harvard Business Review Analytics Survey, lack of employee skills is one of the major blockers to being a data-smart workforce.
We identified this key issue and hence came up with “Data-based decision making”, our recently launched simulation that allows you to create a culture of data-based decision making. Watch the trailer below. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to chat!