Data Culture Part 3: How to build and foster it in your company

Do’s, Don’ts, and Hopes

In today’s digital landscape, understanding what we can do with the data we have is a crucial step forward—in commerce, health, security, and beyond. 

During the pandemic, as many companies switched or transitioned fully to digital solutions, the drive to understand data practically burst at the seams. But for many teams who were forced to pivot quickly, transitions have been met with cynicism and resistance. People are unlikely to want to deviate from their familiar systems and frameworks—which is understandable but not particularly useful in a tech-centric marketplace.

Fortunately, we’ve got some tips, for both new startups (who may have a slight advantage) and existing companies. 

So, let’s get down to business: how do you build data culture within an existing company? 

1. Start with Leadership 

It’s critical that executives, board members, and leaders understand the value of data to the organization so they can develop data-driven business goals and KPIs. 

According to Cindi Howson, the chief data strategy officer at ThoughtSpot, “culture is usually set by company leadership.” If your company wants to integrate data into the culture, decision makers at all levels need to be on board—and additionally, they need to understand the value of data on a deep level. If employees are producing reports they see as having no impact on decision making, it builds resentment; if they see data is truly valued and understood by everyone within the company, there’s room for effective collaboration and communication. 

Decision makers, this might mean disrupting your current company culture. Don’t be scared to bring in a digital consultant or another kind of culture change agent who can help you see blind spots and move you in the right direction. 

2. Move into the Collective 

Employees must feel their intelligence is valued and their needs for technology and tools are supported. 

For data culture to permeate a company, informed conversations with executives, board members, those who lead data initiatives, and those actually analyzing raw data need to happen throughout the organization on an ongoing basis. Just as commitments to gender and racial equality happen not through lip service or language, but through action, data culture must be something built actively. Committing to data culture means changing the way people make decisions. 

To do this, companies should shift from thinking about data as a resource kept behind closed doors. Instead, think of data as something to democratize, and something to not only help build trust on a personal level, but help every employee in the company make more informed, stronger decisions within their assignments. According to a Harvard Business Review study, only 20% of companies are currently empowering frontline workers with data. 

Providing trainings and promoting data literacy are two ways for a company to drive foundational behaviors. By doing so, organizations show they value evidence and reason over hierarchical structures—which is something that translates rapidly to employee buy-in and trust in equal measure. 

3. Invest in the Technology 

While technology is not a shortcut to a data culture, company willingness to adopt new technologies certainly indicates how receptive they are to new ways of thinking as a whole. Remember how quickly everyone adapted to video conferencing during initial pandemic lockdowns? So, practically speaking, companies can demonstrate investment in both data culture and in their employees, by investing in technology that showcases commitment. Companies should invest in tools with strong analytics and insights, in cloud-based data storage, and in high-impact data visualization tools. 

Ensuring your employees have the tools they need is crucial to instilling the sense that data is valued. Restructure files and access so data is secured but is also “FAIR” —findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. 

Newton by Triplidata allows employees to understand data rapidly—and perhaps more importantly, to be able to explain it accurately to others with the full context they need. Customizable 3D graphics mean a story can come alive in just a few clicks, no matter the industry

Schedule a demo now!