As organizations chase the dream of a data-driven business, the data literacy gap continues to widen. Data is a gold mine that can help organizations drive growth and revenue.
However, while businesses understand the benefits of using data, few have unlocked a culture that enables consistent use of data to create better outcomes across the entire organization, by establishing the most effective courses of action.
Traditional Data Strategies
Traditional data strategies have centred around building specialist teams of data or business intelligence analysts, whose responsibility is to deliver insights to the rest of the organization.
Academic research is now showing that the specialized data strategy is not beneficial for an organization, and opening the data for the whole organization is critical to realizing its true potential. An organization will benefit tremendously if data access, data skills, and a culture that empowers data-decision are making it across the organization.
Research from Qlik and Accenture has found that just 21% of full-time employees identify as data literate – which perhaps isn’t surprising when more than one-third (36%) report that little or no time was spent during education learning techniques to use data as a tool to apply into real life and/or workplace situations.
This has created a faction between the business’s aspirations for the use of data and employees’ ability to realize them. The human impact of data literacy report found that more than one-third (36%) of overwhelmed global employees report wasting at least an hour a week procrastinating over data-related tasks – while over one-third (36%) will find an alternative method to complete the task without using data, and 14% avoid the task entirely.
Data is undoubtedly extremely powerful when in the hands of those trained to use it. Indeed, employees that identify as data literate feel more empowered and trusted to make better decisions than their non-data literate peers.
Organizations must recognize that the current workforce needs help to realize the true benefits of the data revolution
Addressing this imbalance will, of course, require investment: some organizations are integrating data literacy into existing skills initiatives, providing e-learning courses, or embarking on specialized classroom training. There are also free resources available at the Data Literacy Project, including an adoptive framework to help businesses at the start of their journey.
Close the data literacy gap
The rapid evolution of data within organizations has created tension between the expected use of data by employees and their ability to confidently use it to take action. This is, in turn, affecting employees’ ability to realize the potential of the data they have access to. The leadership of organizations must take steps to close the data literacy gap.