Why Your Company Needs a Data Hero (and How to Find One)

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Click here to learn more about author Marie Crump.

The person I call a “data hero” is an indispensable asset in the increasingly data-based business landscape. No organization can do without at least one, and a whole team of them can change everything.

Here’s why every company needs a data hero:

  • Data is big — and getting bigger.

In case you haven’t noticed, data-based business has blown up, and the growth isn’t slowing down. You need to be ready for future challenges in the data-driven workplace.

  • Different data languages need translation.

Particularly when a business experiences rapid growth, systems that aren’t designed to work with each other have to interact. This means that one department’s data won’t make sense next to another one’s. Someone who speaks both languages can bridge that gap and help all of your company’s data work together.

  • Enhanced data insight can reveal hidden patterns.

Mountains of data are, naturally, difficult and time-consuming to sift through. It would be all too easy to do a lackadaisical job of examining it. But data heroes aren’t satisfied with just adding their information to the process; they focus on the use of information in the proper context.

  • Data heroism can transform your organization.

One data hero can create and inspire others, and making everyone a data hero creates a level of visibility and clarity that drives the trustworthiness of the information and empowers the enterprise to make the right strategic decisions. And getting everyone on board is more manageable than you might think.

How to Find Your Hero

Knowing what a data hero can do for you is one thing; actually finding that person is a completely different task. But there are three key traits all data heroes have, and you should be parsing your team for a person who possesses all of them. He or she might just be the person you need.

  1. A data hero needs to be knowledgeable about the business and experienced in how the systems that support the business processes work. By understanding how the business operates, this person can positively impact the enterprise by collecting and stewarding the information based on the business context.
  2. A data hero needs to be able to explain the dependencies that exist between the business processes, the data, and the context in which the data is used. A good communicator can have an impact on the enterprise by explaining this in relevant terms, whether communicating with a data-centric person or someone in a business role.
  3. A data hero needs to be an expert at solving problems. He or she has to be focused on achieving the best outcome for the business, and that will typically drive your data hero to improve processes or look for solutions if he or she hits dead ends.

You might already have a person with those skills on your team. If you do, find that person and inspire him or her to become your new data hero. If you don’t, you need to start looking — now. Data is too important to chance it with someone who doesn’t have superpowers.

Who’s your data hero? Where will you find him or her?

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