Many companies today understand the value of being data-driven
When a team is data-driven, they have the exact information they need to make key decisions — and this ability unlocks massive potential for growth across an organisation. But the challenge lies in building data-driven cultures across your technical and non-technical teams. Traditionally, only data scientists and engineers had the technical skills and expertise to analyse data, but this is no longer sustainable for companies looking to prioritise product investments and drive growth. As the data landscape continues to evolve, companies will have a much harder time creating a data-led culture if they cannot find a way to bring their teams—regardless of technical acumen—together.
There’s no silver bullet to creating a data-led culture. Fortunately, there are some tactics and tools that teams can put into place in order to bridge the technical and non-technical divide, and ultimately make good on their goal to become a data-driven business.
Cultivate a culture of learning
The first step to achieving change is data education. Leaders need to help their organisation understand the value of becoming fully data-driven, and how they’ll support non-technical teams to develop a closer relationship with data. Education is a critical factor in successful data democratisation, which is the ongoing process of empowering everyone in an organisation to work with and discuss data comfortably.
Now, this doesn’t mean that sales, marketing, and other traditionally non-technical teams need to become analysts overnight. It does, however, mean that everyone in the organisation should be data literate. Data literacy is about more than just understanding the data itself – employees need to recognise why data literacy is now relevant to their traditionally non-technical roles. They also need to feel confident in digesting and evaluating data, and comfortable in making data-driven decisions. Traditionally non-technical teams already have the soft skills needed, like creative and critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and communication. They now need to learn how to intersect data into their existing skill sets.
This is where training and resources come in. Beyond initial training and hands-on data use, organisations should launch weekly office hours where anyone can drop in and ask data-related questions. This gives teams an opportunity to start conversations, ask second and third questions, and get more invested in the data decision-making process itself. Of equal importance, leaders need to invest in enablement and self-serve, accessible data tools to ensure that their education efforts take hold.
Utilise user-friendly tools
The saying “a worker is only as good as their tools” rings true. For non-technical teams who have little to no experience in analysing and interpreting data, the right tools are essential for their success.
To become a data-driven organisation, all teams should understand how tools are used to collect, store, and move data, how to derive insights from that data, and how to take action on those insights. But, according to research, only 60% of respondents think their companies distribute free access to data and analytics equally – despite 97% of industry leaders believing that company-wide access is essential to success. Employees cannot be expected to confidently understand and work with data if a business gatekeeps the resources they require, and businesses cannot become data-driven if equitable access to data is not granted.
Traditionally non-technical teams don’t just need access to the data – they need suitable tools to help get to grips with it. Self-serve tools empower workers by helping them to leverage data independently, easily, and efficiently, without writing a single line of code. And this doesn’t mean self-serve data tools don’t have deep analysis power. In fact, many low or no code self-serve data tools can be the best bridge between technical and non-technical teams because they meet the needs of both of them.
Investing in an intermediary team
Data democratisation is not a destination, but a journey that never truly ends. Organisations will always have new team members joining, priorities shifting, and customer needs evolving. To make this process easier for both companies and individuals, businesses should consider implementing a bridge team or internal data evangelist who can aid in both continued education and communicate the needs of non-technical and technical employees.
Bridge teams act as a liaison between groups by having a thorough understanding of both technical and non-technical aspects of the business, but their main role is to support ongoing data democratisation efforts. Beyond training, bridge teams can create repositories for common questions, set up data literacy activities, and help teams understand how their existing work fits can be improved or informed by data.
In times of financial uncertainty, businesses may be apprehensive to invest in a bridging team, especially since low code and no code platforms prove effective in facilitating data literacy. Yet, bridging teams possess the one benefit that a software platform doesn’t – human understanding. By helping to connect the gap and facilitate conversations between data and non-data people, bridging teams alleviate pressure surrounding data democratisation and serve as an asset to the leadership team who seek ongoing progress updates.
In today’s business landscape, the ability to work with data has become essential for all employees, regardless of role. By 2025, 80% of data analytics initiatives that are focused on business outcomes will be considered an essential business capability. Companies that embrace and encourage data literacy and take active steps to bridge the gap between data and non-data teams have a significant competitive advantage. By empowering employees through education, utilising the most appropriate and effective tools for their knowledge levels, and implementing a bridge team, companies can ease the transition to a data-driven business model and support new growth.
About the Author
Daniel Bailey is the VP of EMEA at Amplitude, a leading digital analytics platform. With 20 years’ experience, he has held various leadership roles at companies such as Zendesk and Salesforce. Daniel currently leads Amplitude’s team across EMEA to help businesses unlock the power of their products. Amplitude currently has nearly 2,000 customers globally including TouchNote and ClearScore.
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