The Challenge of Developing a Data-Centric Culture

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Click to learn more about author Clark Richey.

Due to market and technology pressures, many companies are evaluating moving to what is being called a data-centric culture. This describes a new way of doing business, where key decisions are based less on people’s experiences or gut feelings and are instead driven by facts rooted in an organization’s data and analytics. While the fundamental concept of basing decisions on data does not seem complicated, this change will deeply affect multiple aspects of an organization … and will not occur overnight.

There are individuals within a company – and even entire departments in larger companies – whose primary purpose is rooted in a non-data centric way of operating. Transitioning these people to data-centric thinking will require time. Not only do existing business processes need to change, but the organizational culture and way of thinking needs to evolve. However, there are a few steps companies can take to easily make this transition.

  1. Reduce the fear. Moving to data-centric processes can often be viewed by some employees as threatening because they don’t see how they will fit in to the new way of doing things. Before implementing any changes, make sure everyone in the organization understands exactly why this change is being made and how the company hopes to benefit. Make sure everyone understands that while there will be changes, the company is going to provide appropriate training and support for everyone to ensure that they continue to be a valuable resource within the organization.
  2. Take measurable, incremental steps. This is a big change – and as the old saying goes you are going to have to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Instead of trying to change the entire organization in one big push, identify smaller areas where you can begin to move to data-centric processes. Try to choose initial areas where you can clearly measure the ROI. This will provide you evidence that you can use to reduce the internal fear as described in step one above.
  3. Connect the dots. Even while you are starting with smaller project, begin to think about if / how you can tie everything together. This type of digital transformation can provide an opportunity to reduce or eliminate data silos.

Moving the company to a data-centric culture is a highly worthwhile project but it can involve challenges. Try to keep in mind the issues and steps outlined here and the journey should be relatively smooth!

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