Building A Data-Driven Culture

Rob Jerome

Chances are your organization, regardless of industry or size, is thinking about a digital transformation. Most likely, a key component of this implementation will include new investments in business intelligence (BI) software. With it, you can discover insights buried within the confines of your business functions, unleash new capabilities to better serve customers, and more. But have you informed your employees that data-driven insights will influence their decisions, investments, and strategy?

Getting the maximum return on your investment into BI requires commitments and efforts from everyone within the organization that cannot be overlooked. In addition to security concerns, there are regulatory and privacy issues that must be addressed and business implications that must be fully considered. That begs a question leaders everywhere should ask themselves: Do we have a data-driven culture? And if not, how can we build one?

People, process, and technology

Where do you begin to build the kind of culture that will yield a maximum return on your investment and ensure that no bad will come from your efforts to unleash the power of data? Experts agree the key is rethinking your people, process, and technology. Let’s start with people.

Most business leaders understand they have troves of value trapped between the silos that exist within their organizations. They invest significant sums on digital innovation to unleash this value. But technology is only an enabler. Without changing the structure or governance of an organization, you cannot realize your digital aims.

More companies are buying into this notion and taking steps to better leverage and govern their data. Today, for example, nearly 70% of leading enterprise companies have a chief data officer (CDO), according to a study from New Vantage Partners. That’s up significantly from 2012 when only 12% did.

But organizational challenges remain when it comes to BI. A 2019 study from the Americas’ SAP User Group (ASUG) found that just 21% of SAP customers have executives who support the BI function. The report indicates that “customers want to optimize current technologies and explore new ones but need executive support to define a universal BI strategy.”

In addition to executive involvement, a data-driven culture requires commitment from employees organization-wide. They will each need to understand digital ethics and other concepts that will be new to many. This will require new training and dedication to ensure not just the safe handling of data but also the most effective use of it. If an organization is going to run its business on data, after all, it will want to make sure that is basing its decisions on accurate information.

This brings us to process.

When developing a data-driven culture, business leaders must think through several important questions, including:

  • Who has access to our data?
  • Where is it physically located?
  • Who is responsible for collecting, distributing, and protecting it?
  • How can we be certain that the data we leverage is not only accurate but also complete?
  • What new data should we collect or analyze to improve our business intelligence?

There’s more.

Building a data-driven culture requires a new commitment to business excellence. This is difficult for organizations that operate with the knowledge that some of their processes lack rigor. Think basic functions such as sales forecasting, time tracking, or merchandise returns, or everyday tasks such as email handling, software updates, and data backups. These are notoriously difficult for organizations to master. But best practices have to be adopted and rigorously followed to effectively use and protect data.

New technology, of course, can help. Take AI, which is expected to have an enormous impact on BI and analytics. A study completed by McKinsey & Co. found that “two-thirds of the opportunities to use AI are in improving the performance of existing analytics use cases.”

Today, the market for the global business intelligence and analytics market is valued at more than $30 billion. By 2026, it is expected to reach $54.76 billion, according to Verified Market Research.

Fueling this growth are a host of new technologies that will transform the use of data in ways not envisioned just a few years ago. This includes augmented analytics, decision intelligence, and relationship analytics to name just a few. When these technologies take their place in your IT department, the world will feel a lot more understandable.

Imagine one day knowing if your professional assumptions were valid or your decisions correct. Picture a time when you will have the insights to help you find hidden opportunities and anticipate changing market conditions. The day is coming when these possibilities will be realities.

Be ready with your data-driven culture.

Examine “Digital Culture And Enablement In Finance Transformation Journeys.”


Rob Jerome

About Rob Jerome

Rob Jerome is Vice President of Innovation and Technology for Dickinson + Associates, a top 25 North American SAP partner. Jerome leads the company’s go-to market strategy, which involves a wide range of Intelligent Enterprise solutions, including the SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Intelligent RPA, and SAP Conversational AI.