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Leading with Data: Driving value through embracing a data-led culture

  • Posted on June 20, 2023
  • Estimated reading time 6 minutes
Leading with data

Data continues to be a critical asset for organisations to differentiate and achieve competitive advantage, but most companies are still struggling to embed a data-led culture. Having a data-led culture will allow organisations to take the next step to realise full value from data as well as harnessing the rapid and ever evolving data landscape.

With 70% of employees being expected to work heavily with data by 2025, how can organisations drive a data-led culture where their employees are empowered to be ‘data-citizens’ and be equipped with the right technologies, skills, and capabilities to stay ahead of emerging trends and drive sustained growth for the business?

There are several underlying factors that hinder employees from becoming ‘data citizens’:

  1. Data consumers are not empowered to use data effectively – Leadership may promote the use of data to support effective decision-making, but the organisation lacks mature data operating practices (e.g., data access policies, data stewardship and data as a product) that facilitate responsible access to data across organisational siloes, and reporting processes are stuck in the past, with curated PowerPoint packs rather than dynamic reporting.

  2. Data literacy in the organisation does not support true data-led conversations – Companies are investing in skilled data practitioners, but frequently overlook promoting data-specific learning and development to employees who are not practitioners but need to use data effectively in their day-to-day. This failure to uplift data literacy and skills hinders the adoption of a data-led culture by limiting the ability of employees of all levels, experience, and departments to have meaningful data-led conversations, innovate data-focused solutions, and make data-informed decisions.

  3. The data landscape is not set up to provide access to data – The lack of access to consumable data is a result of lack of data governance, adequate toolsets, legacy architecture, and investment in an end-to-end ecosystem. These limitations ultimately result not only in duplication of effort and data siloes but also operational risk as business rules become inconsistent and increasingly rely on key individuals to maintain.

These underlying factors are hindering employees from becoming data citizens and due to the lack of empowerment, insufficient data literacy, limited access to data and lack of data management controls, organisations are facing the risk of missed opportunities, unrealised revenue, increased operating costs, and potential reputational damage. However, with increasing leadership support and by promoting and investing in fit-for-purpose measures, organisations can start progressing with building their data-led culture.

Here are our top drivers to realising a data-led culture:
How can you build a data-led culture that not only improves your organisation’s data literacy but also establishes effective ways of working, scale insights to outcomes and foster excitement with data engagement?

  1. Organise your teams to work together effectively and use data responsibly – Establishing a data operating model that defines your ways of working, capabilities, stewards, and data management approach allows your team to work collaboratively and promote responsible engagement with data. Microsoft’s Azure Purview provides capabilities to manage and monitor data security controls and information management practices, providing your team with the tools to bring your operating model to life.

  2. Uplift data literacy to encourage people to engage with data – Bring curated learning and development pathways to data practitioners and consumers alike, uplifting data literacy and understanding across the entire organisation. Your learning management system can link to learning content from Microsoft and other partners, providing tailored learning paths to upskill employees on data and analytics. This can encourage your people to engage with data and help them become more confident and capable when working with and speaking about data, empowering your employees to drive and unlock new opportunities across your business.

  3. Change the conversation for more sustainable insights – A workforce that is both data-minded and understands the business priorities naturally becomes more data-led and focused on transforming data into insights. Microsoft Power BI is an effective tool for data storytelling that enables your data consumers to connect to the right data and create interactive reports. Supported with appropriate governance and management, this becomes a pathway to sustainable insights and data value creation by prioritising investments in data capability.

  4. Promote innovation to drive data capability – To stay competitive and ahead in today’s dynamic data landscape, organisations need to drive innovation by leveraging the value of their data and the rapid advancements of technologies. By fostering a culture of innovation where employees are empowered to ideate, experiment, and collaborate, it not only keeps your people engaged but it also allows the business to identify new opportunities for growth while informing investment priorities to enhance your capabilities. Consumption of new leading AI powered solutions like Azure Cognitive Services and Azure Machine Learning, it is a lot simpler to integrate and leverage these ready built services to innovate and bring AI-based ideas to life.

  5. Data is a first-class citizen in your enterprise architecture – Data should be at the forefront of every technical decision made within your business, regardless of the forums involved. Whether it’s the Architecture Review Board, Change Advisory Board, and Solution Design Forums, or any other technical group, data should always be always be a top-of-mind consideration and not an afterthought. When considering changes in your technology landscape, it is imperative to discuss how the data will impact that change, for example, how can you ensure that the change doesn’t reduce the quality of the data or how can you ensure that data latency is minimised, and that your data will not be impacted, remaining available in real-time when and where it is needed. At the end of the day, if data is not a part of your design decisions, then it all comes down to the people, processes, and systems that manage the data, and their ability to effectively access and use it.

To embrace a data-led culture, it's crucial to establish a data operating model that's fit-for-purpose; educate employees on data engagement; provide access to the right data, frameworks, and tools; promote an environment that encourages and ensuring that data is a key agenda in your technical decisions. By doing so, organisations can unlock the full potential of their data assets and facilitate better decision-making, improve workplace experiences, increase operational efficiency, quickly respond to market demand, and drive sustained growth for the business. Additionally, leveraging Microsoft solutions can accelerate these initiatives and unlock value across all areas.

At Avanade, our extensive experience in delivering human-centred and data transformation initiatives as well as with Microsoft being a part of our DNA, we can help you build and cultivate a strong data culture that drives value through people, process, and technology.

So, don't wait any longer, contact us and together, let's embrace a data-led culture and realise the full potential of your organisation's data.



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