3 Things Employees Need to Make Data-Driven Decisions

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Many companies roll out a new business intelligence strategy
with high hopes, only to experience underwhelming employee adoption
rates and a low return on investment. This situation understandably
leaves leaders scratching their heads wondering, “What
happened?”

To put it simply: Becoming a
data-driven organization
requires more than simply deploying
new business intelligence (BI) software or ordering employees to
turn to data more often in their daily decision making.

Here are three things employees need to make data-driven
decisions to fuel positive business outcomes.

Data-Driven Company Culture

Employee decisions don’t exist in a vacuum. Rather,
employees’ attitudes about data and their willingness to embrace
it into their workflows are very much shaped by the overall company
culture.

Here are a few key cultural factors capable of affecting how
employees treat data:

  • How leaders use data, talk about data and encourage others to
    do so
  • The expectations surrounding data usage
  • The degree to which employee decisions are taken seriously,
    implemented and rewarded

It’s counterintuitive to expect employees to embrace data and
incorporate it into regular decision making if leaders seem to be
making little effort to do so publicly. Similarly, if an employee
sees a colleague stick their neck out to make a suggestion based on
data and it’s received lukewarmly or ignored by the rest of the
team, they may feel deterred from doing so in the future — and
justifiably so. As
CIO

writes
, “Data without decisions is like burying your money in
the ground.”

Data-driven culture starts with setting clear expectations,
leading by example from the top down and demonstrating to employees
their data efforts tangibly affect decision-making and
performance.

Accessible Business Intelligence Tools

Employees will also need access to user friendly
business intelligence tools to optimize
decision-making. Today
platforms like ThoughtSpot offer search-driven data analytics tools
— allowing employees to ask specific questions and explore
queries— plus artificial intelligence-driven analytics to
automatically uncover hidden insights lurking within data.

This multi-pronged approach gives employees ad hoc answers to
all the questions they have in seconds without requiring them to
wait for a report. It also helps alert users to patterns and
anomalies that could otherwise hide within billions of rows of data
forever, just waiting for someone to notice it.

Modern BI tools offer a few key advantages over their legacy
counterparts, including the ability to embed BI throughout existing
applications and workflows. Todays’ tools also emphasize user
friendliness for non-technical users, which means everyone can
access insights without needing in-depth training or constant
oversight from IT professionals.

Data Literacy Training

BI tools themselves may be accessible to all, but employees can
still benefit from having deeper context for data insights they
find. This means companies should invest in data literacy training
to provide the foundation for interpreting and analyzing data.

Here’s
an example of data literacy in action
from Transforming Data
with Intelligence: Airbnb found it was not feasible to have a data
scientist always present to inform every decision, especially with
more than 20 international offices. So, the company launched Data
University to provide education to engineers, product managers,
designers and everyone else — including how to analyze and
visualize data, then incorporate findings into decision making. The
result? Employees learned how to handle ad hoc data requests
without turning to data specialists, and engagement on its data
platform doubled within a year.

Employees need data literacy training, the right BI tools and a
data-driven culture to fully incorporate data insights into
decision making.

 

 

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3 Things Employees Need to Make Data-Driven Decisions
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