by Louis Goldner
OHIO – In order to stay competitive and progressive, organisations need to become data-driven. After all, data is king nowadays so those business that attune themselves in to the value and potential of data will be well positioned for long-term success.
According to research from Gartner, 50% of companies have already invested in big data and more than 70% of those enterprises plan to invest again. However, understanding and making the most out of big data isn’t a simple task. It is no longer acceptable to have a few people tucked away trying to uncover findings and share them with others. A tremendous amount of pressure is on Chief Data Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Analytics Officers and their teams, to create a data-driven culture that encourages every employee to engage and benefit from the mountains of data available.
Research has discovered that while 99% of executives aspire to a data-driven culture, only 32% report actually achieving this goal. While they have invested in people, processes and technology, adoption continues to be the key barrier, with 65% of executives indicating that business adoption of data initiatives remains a major challenge.
Lack of employee skills
Simply telling employees to use data more regularly, and change the way they make decisions, will not deliver success. Data science is a balance between art and science, and many current employees were not hired to regularly perform analysis and/or don’t have the skills, experience or time in their current role to explore data professionally.
Changing employee skills requires a significant investment in training in addition to evolving the skills you hire for, and it is this ‘people challenge’ that creates the biggest barrier with 49% of executives identifying people as the primary hurdle to becoming data-driven. In fact, while the demand for data scientists may be on the rise, according to the Accenture Institute of high-performance, there is a severe shortage of talent worldwide.
In addition to a lack of employee skills, many organisations are unable to compete on data. The question ‘What is your biggest data threat?’ seems like a simple one – especially with the amount of news stories on the latest company to be hit by a data breach.
However, when corporate executives are asked this question, they often respond with a much different answer than expected. The real data threat is the company’s inability to compete on data and in turn, become a more data-driven culture. In fact, only 46% of executives believe cyber security and data privacy is the greatest threat, compared to 54% who believe it’s a lack of agility and inability to compete on data.
The urgent need to deal with a company’s data intelligence has become a priority. It’s no longer just the price of doing business, but rather, organisations must find solutions to deliver competitive advantage. Importantly, those solutions must catalyse the current employee analytic skills – or lack thereof.
One of the most immediate solutions for developing a data-driven culture through technology is artificial intelligence (AI). According to research, 87% of C-level executives believe AI will play a central role, stating that the survival of their business over the next five years will rely on it.
Related: The truth about machine learning
Beginning your data-driven transition with experiential analytics
Experiential analytics is the combination of experiential learning concepts with business analytics that allows non-analytically trained employees to learn analytics through doing, not classroom training.
Experiential analytics, which encompasses both AI and machine learning, can help employees to better utilise information and make more, data-derived decisions, and it is this delivery of personalised discoveries and insights for users that will help to drive adoption. AI-based analytics platforms can learn how best to serve employees’ analytic needs through the questions they ask and the information they track in their business.
The use of experiential analytics enables employees to quickly reap the benefits of data-driven decision making without digging through stacks of standard reports, one-size-fits-all dashboards, or trial-and-error analytics.
Although becoming a data-driven culture does not happen overnight, adopting a solution with AI-based learning can encourage and stimulate behaviours that drive adoption and engagement with any user, no matter their past relationship with data.