/ 5 keys to building a culture around data

If there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught us it’s that the world can be shaken up virtually overnight. For businesses to effectively handle whatever comes their way—especially in this new, work-from-home era—they must, above all else, possess and be guided by a culture that understands how to use data so employees at every level of the organization can make informed decisions quickly and with confidence.

But how do enterprises go about creating and maintaining such a culture? That question was at the heart of the sixth episode of CURIOSITY, a Domo-sponsored video series that explores why now is the time to “do” data differently.

Titled Transforming the Culture of Data, the episode featured insightful perspectives from three seasoned data strategy and analytics experts: Jill Dyché, Tom Thomas, and Donald Farmer. Their overarching answer to the aforementioned question? Develop a roadmap that revolves around the following five components.

1 – Agility

“It’s been really fascinating to see, as things have shifted in our respective marketplaces this year, how fast and nimble companies have been to deal with them,” said Jill, a former software executive who now serves as the executive director of a nonprofit called Outta the Cage.

“We can’t waste time on experiments anymore. We’ve got data, and we’ve got new decisions to make, making data all the more critical.”

That statement resonated with Tom, who added that to be agile you must be willing to reprioritize.

“With my own teams,” said FordDirect’s vice president of data strategy, business intelligence and analytics, “we quickly pushed current tasks aside in order to address what was most important, which was figuring out what our new reality is, and what’s happening day-to-day, so we could then do our best to predict what’s going to happen next.”

To learn more about what Jill, Tom, and Donald think about agility, check out this clip:

2 – Governance

While data governance can prevent companies from being as agile as they’d like to be, it can also be, if implemented properly, what enables those businesses to build the ideal data-driven culture.

“We are definitely seeing companies get away from that huge, heavy executive team making governance decisions to being smaller and adopting what we call ‘governance regimes,’ who decide what the data standards will be for a particular application or use case,” Jill said.

Tom underscored the importance of data governance by saying, “If you wrap it into the company culture itself—if you embrace the ability to exploit and go after data opportunities in a smart, safe, and compliant way—that’s really the key.”

3 – Innovation

Innovation used to be the sort of thing that was done in a lab, said Donald, a renowned data management and analytics consultant who moderated the discussion. In order to help create a data culture suited for today’s business climate, however, it’s important that creativity be a significant part of your organization’s fabric.

“Innovation now is just a series of small inspirations,” Jill said. “I think anybody can have those (inspirations), and drive something new and unique to the business.”

To drive home her point, Jill held up the restaurant industry, and in particular all the fine dining establishments she knows of that tweaked their offerings in recent months in order to retain existing customers, attract new ones, and build greater brand equity.

“(Restaurants) are great examples,” she said. “They are putting things on the ballot that may not be permanent, but, for the moment at least, are serving as really refreshing disruptions.”

4 – Technology

You can’t transform the culture around data without the right data platform, Tom said. And you can’t succeed in meeting the market where it is without a “data foundation,” Jill added.

“The fact is that the maturity of your incumbent data foundation,” she continued, “is directly proportional to your ability to pivot to this new world.”

Jill also noted that effective data-driven cultures are ones that have their arms around what kind of data they have, where that data is, and how that data can impact current business problems. The right platform enhances an organization’s ability to realize such a position.

5 – Curiosity

Organizations filled with people who are interested in doing their jobs better, interested in what’s happening beyond the walls of their own industry, and can unwind what was done in the past in order to figure out better ways for the future are the ones that are going to thrive in a post-COVID world, the trio said.

“You can buy the greatest self-service BI tools,” Tom said, “but if the intellectual curiosity among the user base is not part of the culture, your tools are just going to collect dust.

“If you can progress to the more diagnostic side of analytics, you start to get better questions from the users … and the ability to figure out what’s going to happen next.”

To learn more from these experts on how to transform your culture around data to gain a firmer grasp on what needs to happen next, watch or listen to Episode 6 of CURIOSITY.

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