Let’s talk about data culture. WT=(f) does it even mean? I went on a quest to determine exactly this, and how the minority of businesses and institutions, and even countries have made it work.
I first encountered what we would term (in the modern definition) a “data culture” when I took up an opportunity to work for a startup in the small Baltic country of Estonia in 2018. Long story short – Estonia has managed to digitize 99% of their governance. Before the infamous term of “digital transformation” was even being considered, the Estonian government elected that they are to secure their country’s sovereignty by switching to a digital government and ID system encrypted to the hilt. The goal and also the bait for the adoption of the technology by the people was to enable the Estonian public to vote online. This was in 1997.
Estonia consists of about 1,3 million folks, and about thirty something percent reside in the capital, and its economy used to be based on logging. Side fact: Estonia is basically a forest. In and around 1994, they gained independence from Soviet Russia, and they made a choice: Either inherit the soviet mechanism of government or create their own version of what a government should be. They elected to trash the old and redesign their government and secure their future by embracing technology and sowed the seeds of a data culture which I experienced firsthand.
Taavi Kotka, Former Estonian Chief Information Officer said: “We had to set a goal that resonates large enough for the society to believe in”. This is vital, and it is up to leaders of any business to understand this to establish the groundwork for a data-driven digital culture.
Ultimately, the Estonians understood that to establish a digital, techno-savvy culture it would require technological literacy, to embrace the internet and wage a war on siloed and “dark” data. The Estonians also democratised their data, and believe that you as an individual, own your data, and they promoted transparency in every form of government.
Estonia now saves 2% of their GDP because they totally digitised their governance. This also enabled them to broaden their tax base, by establishing a E-Visa for start-ups to do business in their country. They now churn out more start-ups than actual people. Imagine that.
More can read on Estonia here.
So, what does it actually mean for a business?
Does it mean that everybody in your business should know how to query SQL or understand sequential pricing algorithms? Or does it mean that for businesses to succeed they need to embrace a culture of using the data that is generated from every digital action and imprint, to better advance the business objectives or address the needs or challenges of the customer per say?
Both are profoundly valid questions when strapping up to digitally transform every aspect of your business. It is a journey that is marked with perils in the form of steep learning curves, attitudes of transparency and outcome-oriented thinking, lead from the front by the top brass, all the way through to the employees and customers.
Like all great adventures, it is about the journey and the fulfillment of an objective accompanied by the high thrill of achievement in turning all those frowns upside down against inconceivable odds. Adventures however require a conviction and leadership that embraces change, transparency and is accepted and acted on by the people that must make it happen. There must be buy-in and it starts with the executive teams and CEO. You can download a great whitepaper on how to transform your business digitally in as little as 6 months here.
Establishing a data culture is democratising your data and affording your entire business to take advantage of ways in which you can serve this data to the person who can make a call or uncover hidden value, based on Bl reporting and insights via dashboards or applications for example.
It is starting small that is the secret sauce according to the experts. Once you have figured out what you want to achieve, how to get the data fit for purpose to achieve an outcome, you start to understand the value of the data when you need it. Digitally transforming is the result of embracing a digital culture. And that starts with the leadership and an attitude of a growth mindset within a business.
One of the primary reasons data initiatives fail is because the executive suite does not fully understand what this all means. Immense effort is made to communicate that the business is embracing a digital culture – the marketing and PR teams get to work putting together the mails, blogs, and internal groups – However, because there was no strategic goal, or objective to solve a primary business challenge using the data, that these initiatives fail or fall short of the parade and fireworks type result. It is more like a pop from a solitary damp roman candle in the field of failed projects. What is the ultimate goal, and how can one incubate a data culture and embed this into the modern business?
A data culture is created over time. It is a process of educating yourself as the leader of a business and educating the people who work for you. It’s educating and informing the logistics teams on how to interpret the data, and how to take of advantage of the insights it yields from the analysts’ office to save those precious few minutes or to automate goods received note processes.
A data culture encourages everyone to ask questions of the data – to offer their insights. Someone analysing the flow of goods in a warehouse via dashboard in the executive, may make a decision which makes no sense to the folks in the actual warehouse. You need to break down those silo walls and integrate all your businesses data so that it is easily accessible and create an environment where we can collaborate with data, ask questions, and foster accountability, transparency and innovation.
This all sounds great in words and theory, but the reality we all know, is severely more complicated in execution. We live in a brave new world, where we are creating and building the digital future every day. We are also dealing with tremendous change and the implications of COVID-19 – both emotionally and psychologically. Companies and people are under strain and resilience has become a pre-requisite.
This does not make the task easier for leaders at all to plot a path to ensure the success of the business. However, starting small with a department in a division and making that work is a start. I have read the experts advise once success is achieved, one should step back and re-evaluate the success and then carry those lessons and perspectives to the rest of the business. Which makes total sense after all.
A data culture is a buzz phrase these days, one that like many others, points to the current technological zeitgeist where we find ourselves on the curve of Moor’s Law of technological and computational advancement. The dichotomy of this upward spiral is that with all the wonder this brings for society and business, is that those who fail to plant the seeds of a digital and data culture now within their philosophy of their business, are doomed to fail in the next couple of years versus those that have taken it seriously.
The future is now. We have the data. Let’s make it happen.
Digital transformation starts with trusted data from every source.
If you can trust the data, you can trust the insights and analytics. It’s time to make more informed decisions for your business based on data that you can hang your hat on.
Have a look at this white paper that outlines the eight worst practices in master data management and how to avoid them.
InfoBuild to be a proud display Sponsor at ITWeb’s Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit 2018
Date: 13 & 14 March 2018
Venue: The Forum, Bryanston
How to Get Quick Results From Your Master Data Management (MDM) Program
Have a look at this blog post on Information Builders Global Website.
Where Dan Power describes the five essential elements of MDM success:
- People (including organization design and change management)
- Process (business process redesign or reengineering)
- Technology (MDM hub, data integration, and data quality)
- Information (both internal and third-party content)
- Data governance (to get off on the right track and guide the initiative in the future)
3 “Yes Please” moments of recognition for InfoBuild South Africa at Information Builders Sales Kick-off 2017 held in the USA
InfoBuild to be a proud display Sponsor at ITWeb’s Business Intelligence Summit 2017
Date: 14 & 15 March 2017
Venue: The Forum, Bryanston
Date: Thursday, 6 October 2016
Time: 4-5pm CEST, 3-4pm BST
Organizational Intelligence: How Smart Companies Use Information to Become More Competitive and Profitable
To celebrate the launch of their new book, authors Gerry Cohen and Dr. Rado Kotorov are hosting this special webinar on the topic of ‘Organizational Intelligence’.
They will explain how top companies truly capitalize on Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics by giving every employee – not just analysts and executives – access to the information needed to make fact-based decisions on the job.
Attend and gain insights on:
- Navigating the complex BI and analytics landscape
- Building operational excellence through higher BI adoption
- Increasing profitability through data monetization
- Modern informational applications
- Analytical roles and needs
- 9 ground-breaking use cases from leading brands including Ford Motor Company and U.S. Bank
We’re also giving away a free electronic copy of the book to all attendees, so make sure you register today.
Please note that this is not only for Information Builders users, everybody is welcome.
This is your day to learn, network with other local users, and walk away with new ideas to use right away!
Best of all, there is no cost to attend!
For any Questions: Contact Jethro Funck
Welcome with a Flashy Demonstration
Introduction to Information Builders
Morning Refreshments Break
Data Integrity Demonstration
In-Document Analytics Demonstration
Customer / Analyst Speaker
Presentation by Information Builders
Close and Thank you
Information Builders is delighted to present “Summer Shorts“, a webcast series for business and IT executives who want to rethink their information strategy in a world transformed by the mega-trends of mobile, social, cloud, advanced analytics, and big data.
Each 30-minute session offers a quick dip into a cool topic. Explore one or all to learn new tips for leveraging emerging technologies for better business intelligence.
Click on the links below to register now!
Presenter: Porter Thorndike, Technical Director, North America, Information Builders
21 July 2016, 14:00 BST / 15:00 CET
Presenter: Jim Thorstad, Director, Business Intelligence Products
28 July 2016, 14:00 BST / 15:00 CET
Presenter: Vicky Lozovsky, Director of Market Strategy, Information Builders
4 August 2016, 15:00 BST / 16:00 CET
Presenter: Marcelo Litovsky, Senior Solutions Architect, Information Builders
11 August 2016, 14:00 BST / 15:00 CET
Presenter: Mark Winslow, Location Analytics Specialist, Information Builders
18 August 2016, 14:00 BST / 15:00 CET
Presenter: Bob Jude Ferrante, Director, PMF Development, Information Builders; Porter Thorndike, Technical Director, North America
25 August 2016, 14:00 BST / 15:00 CET
13-17 June 2016
InfoBuild is a proud sponsor of ITWeb‘s eleventh annual Business Intelligence Summit. This is the annual business-focused BI, analytics, big data and data warehousing event on the South African calendar. ITWeb’s annual Business Intelligence Summit 2016 is THE South African business event of choice in the BI, Analytics, Big Data and Data Warehousing industry space.
The 2015 Summit was attended by over 250 business decision maker delegates and had over 20 leading brands represented as sponsors of the event.
We are excited to point out that one of the International Keynote speakers will be Dr Rado Kotorov from Information Builders (NY).
Date: 1-2 March 2016 (Conference)
Venue: The Forum, Bryanston, South Africa
IACT Africa is a specialist business consulting company with a focus on assisting organisations to add strategic value to IT Governance and IT Management.
Programmes and projects in the IT Governance and Management area are often initiated for compliance reasons and are not viewed from potential business benefit perspectives. IACT strive to help organisations achieve benefits and business value through their governance journeys.
Just a quick post from InfoBuild South Africa, wishing everybody a Happy New Year, and hoping that 2016 is going to be the best year ever.