The ABC of data literacy: How intelligent is your business?
Data analytics has become almost fashionable. The image of ‘data guy’ who did something with numbers and presented monthly to jaded middle managers is changing. Intelligently curated data can tell you more about your customers, supporters, and clients than they know about themselves. Data can predict their future behaviour and anticipate their next micro-moment. In effect, data provides us mere mortals with a superpower.
Data is the new black
Its makeover has been partly due to the big data scandals that have hit mainstream media during the last 18 months. The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook expose led to a dawning realisation that we are what we Google. But it’s something those Titans of the Internet – FAANG* have known from the outset. If the mantra for the 80s was ‘Greed is Good’ then ‘Data is Dangerous’ would be the motto of the moment because 'data' is all seeing, all knowing and ultimately very powerful.
What’s your Data IQ?
But back to the real world; how can an organisation, SME or charity use data to innovate, market effectively and grow business? Sales tracking and Google Analytics make it easier than ever to capture data – but the real challenge is how to use data intelligently. How can we all enhance our data IQ to improve business performance?
The link between data literacy and KPI performance
A recently published report by Qlik established a clear relationship between an organisation’s data literacy score and business performance. They developed the Data Literacy Index to rank companies according to their ‘Corporate Data Literacy’ score and correlated it with performance. By their own admission, the findings were ‘startling’.
- Organisations that ranked in the top third of the Data Literacy Index were associated with three to five percent greater market value. This translated to a company having a higher market value of between £245-£408 million than those with lower ranking.
- Improved data literacy also positively changed other measures of organisational performance, including gross margin and return on investment (ROI).
- Europe holds the highest Data Literacy score globally, with the UK, Germany and France among the most ‘mature’ nations in the world for data literacy. It also found that European businesses held the value of data analysis in greater esteem. 72 percent agreed that it is “very important”, compared with just 60 percent in Asia and 52 percent in the US. Surprising eh?
Know your ABC
Now we’ve established the importance of data literacy within an organisation, let’s look at how we can go about harnessing the power of data to make intelligent business decisions.
The challenge for many organisations is making sense of the numbers, deciding what to care about and how to act on the information. So, when you are next pondering how to tackle your latest sales figures or trying to decipher the success of an e-mail campaign…Think ABC.
A – ACTION does this data provide me with actionable insight?
B – BENEFIT can this data benefit my business?
C – CONTEXT what does the data mean in context and how best can I communicate it?
This should help you prioritise the information you want and need to analyse. After all, what’s the point of spending time crunching data that isn’t going to effect change in some way? Also, data does not exist in a vacuum so context will have an impact on both your understanding and telling of the data story. So, when faced with your next data deluge think ABC and then add a little creativity into the mix.
A smart business understands its data and uses clever tools and business intelligence to explain and persuade with data visualization and storytelling. An even smarter business ensures that all their workforce is data literate, so leaders and team members alike are empowered to embark on their own data journeys. After all, data doesn’t have to be dangerous.
* FAANG – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google