Data is quickly becoming the focal point of businesses. It is enabling companies to decipher customer expectations, analyze market trends, and discover unprecedented growth opportunities. Its value to business has become so critical that Forrester even coined a new term for this evolution: insight-driven businesses. According to one of Forrester’s recent reports (paywall), these insight-driven businesses are growing at an average of more than 30% annually — and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Clean, consistent, complete, high quality and democratically available data can enhance digital experiences. In other words, a data-driven culture can only supplement data consistency, management, optimization and delivery across every digital touchpoint for organizations — something that’s essential to unlock the full potential of today’s digital experience platforms (DXPs).
Being data-driven is in many ways equivalent to promoting innovation and customer-centricity. By bringing together high-quality, consistent data, digital technologies and decision-making, a data-driven culture creates the foundation for scale, flexibility and growth. Consequently, to a large extent, the performance of DXPs depends on it. But here’s the thing: A data-driven culture can’t be imported. It is something you must cultivate. Starting from the top, data values must trickle down the organization to assimilate across all business verticals. How far the data culture develops then becomes a function of processes and capabilities at different levels of the organization.
What Business Leaders Can Do to Promote a Data Mindset
Creating a data-driven company culture is not a science, but an iterative process that must evolve with business requirements. However, leadership teams can take a few key steps to ensure data starts driving all functions in their organization.
- Aligning data strategy with business goals. Before starting with data, leaders should first acknowledge the unique requirements of their business. What do they want to achieve? How can data help with these objectives? And how does it align with their long-term business vision and goals? These are just some of the questions to address. Once a data strategy is in place, communicating its potential impact on business to employees can establish a firm cadence for adoption.
- Promoting democratization of data. Don’t limit the knowledge of data to a select few employees. Breaking the silos opens new doors for data analysis. Rather than being analyzed from just one team’s perspective, data democratization makes the same knowledge available to product, marketing, operations, as well as sales teams. As visibility and collaboration increases across all teams, data slowly becomes a part of their day-to-day activities.
- Testing and evolving data practices. The market is in a state of constant flux, and leadership should strive to evolve data practices accordingly. Ask the question: what worked in the past and will it still hold? Take feedback from cross-functional teams. Work with them to ensure that data practices never limit functionalities but always enhance them. Keep experimenting to find the best data capturing, management and analytics approach for your company.
- Preserving data in ingenious ways. It is important to capture new data, but it’s equally important to preserve the data you have. As channels of communication increase and become more complex, so will the sources and volume of data. This requires leadership to think out of the box and be on the lookout for new ways to ensure data accuracy, integrity and security. Rethink your IT infrastructure to support data needs. Instead of completely revamping the entire system, start with the most critical functions. Take advantage of the modularity and flexibility modern platforms offer.
- Connecting data to business objectives. A clear co-relation between data initiatives and business objectives can go a long way towards the sustained adoption of a data-driven culture. Create different ways for teams to map data-driven initiatives with their direct deliverables. They must know how data consistency across different channels impacts customer behavior. Is it driving conversions in any way? Enable teams to identify, analyze and leverage such direct associations.
Related Article: The Data-Driven Organization Is an Endangered Species
Deliver Intuitive Digital Experiences With Data
Data has clearly climbed up the ranks to become one of the most important entities for enterprises. Particularly in the context of digital, there is no equal for data. DXPs can help brands craft personalized and customized moments of realization for customers, but only when they have access to the right data.
With a DXP, a data-driven company can:
- Identify immediate needs in digital customer experience: By observing and analyzing the customer’s buying lifecycle at every stage, companies can drive customization at scale.
- Evolve the organization around customer journeys: Build competencies and best practices across teams for turning available data and insights into action.
- Empower teams by training them on data and analytics: Improve data literacy, data storytelling and help them build a data driven mindset.
Establishing effective data leadership is the first step toward building a data-driven company culture. Once the vision starts percolating across various organizational levels, it becomes a force of its own. Monitoring how the culture manifests and complimenting it with the right tools is the next step.