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Nine in ten companies lack data culture and organisation to facilitate growth

The implementation of digital tools has radically altered operational capabilities for businesses, but a data culture and organisational knowledge is needed to achieve peak growth.
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What brings success? 

The results of the research by Infosys Knowledge Institute highlights that there are three main areas that bring about success:

  1. The use of data internally
  2. Designing a culture that accommodates responsible risk taking
  3. Business organisation built around products

The problem is that less than 10% of the businesses interviewed had successfully incorporated these three aspects, meaning there are huge untapped potentials for businesses across the globe. Companies that can master these three areas show increased profits, improved brand perception and higher levels of employee and customer engagement.  

“Many organisations would consider themselves as ‘data driven’,” said Kshitij Jain, head of UK/Europe analytics and global chief strategy officer, EXL Analytics. “If they’ve invested in powerful technology and tools to unite, contextualise and analyse their data, then they’ve earned the right to describe themselves in this way, surely?” 

  

Jain continued: “The short answer is no. In our experience, 50% of data projects fail to unlock the deliverables on value objectives, and organisational alignment challenges are often responsible. To realise the potential of their tech investment, the organisational culture must be primed to truly embrace the power of data driven insights, and this requires behaviour change, which is seldom comfortable or easy. Without this, the tech can perpetuate, rather than solve problems.” 

Internal data use 

Live data is an integral part of developing success, but only 5% of businesses implement a universal live data approach within the organisation. Businesses that utilise live data – data that is high quality, timely and readily available – have higher profit due to stronger innovations that can get to market faster than the competition. It has been shown that new product introduction capability can increase as much as 85% for companies following robust data practices. 

“The first priority is defining exactly what the business needs to achieve from data transformation, with realistic goals set and communicated,” said Jain. “Agility must be factored in, and the chosen tech tools must be in alignment. Too often, investment in tech is rushed, and there is a mismatch between the tech tools selected and the problems they are required to solve. The tools are then dismissed as a waste of time, and the business refuses to engage.” 

Jain stated that “data quality is also a key consideration” that cannot be simply improved through investment in analytical technologies. “Proper data governance is essential but simply having a published data governance strategy gathering dust on a shelf is not enough,” said Jain. “Organisations must have robust policies that dictate how data is gathered, stored, processed and disposed of, and importantly, who is responsible with defined areas of ownership. A balance needs to be struck between a function level and central approach to avoid fragmentation and loss of control, while maintaining business context.” 

Risk-taking culture 

By utilising live data, businesses can reasonably incorporate risk taking into their culture. Those that utilise risk in a responsible manner backed by live data develop products faster, have improved staff retention and higher profits. There are five identifiable features of responsible risk taking that improve innovation:

  • Flexible leadership
  • Staff diversity
  • Data-driven leadership
  • Rapid test-and-learn
  • Encouragement of risk taking 

Too often, investment in tech is rushed, and there is a mismatch between the tech tools selected and the problems they are required to solve.

Centralised products 

This improves product offerings, greatly improves staff and customer engagement and has been shown to increase new product introduction performances by 50%. Despite this, only half of the businesses interviewed stated they were organised in a manner that have product-centralised operations. 

Incentivisation for users to utilise data effectively, as well as clearly understanding the issues data technology seeks to address, are key to enhancing the data culture and organisation to facilitate growth. 

“Users must be presented with compelling reasons to engage on a regular basis,” said Jain. “Most will want to know, ‘what’s in it for me? How can this make my job easier?’, and if this is not properly understood, scepticism can creep in. Assumptions will be made that moving to a data driven approach poses a risk to jobs, or that the data cannot be trusted or is somehow inaccurate or unverified. Internal communications play a vital role here, but they need to be armed with accessible data to demonstrate business value and illustrate performance against objectives. Regular reporting and benchmarking are essential. Simply telling users they should/must engage with data transformation is not enough to mobilise across the business.” 

  

With these considerations in mind, a data culture that is instrumental in driving growth can be achieved in all data-oriented businesses. Culture is at the core of effective businesses, and it permeates to everyone on every team at all levels of seniority. It is not something that can be implemented overnight, but with the right attitude and measured approach it can be achieved swiftly.  

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