What is data literacy?
Data literacy is the ability to read, analyze and communicate with data. It has become an increasingly valuable skill as businesses produce and collect more data than ever. Key components include:
- Ability and confidence to engage with data: This includes data collection, storage and governance and can be as simple as reviewing and understanding a spreadsheet or insights from a complex data report.
- Pulling insights from data: This requires subject matter expertise and often involves many stakeholders in your organization.
- Communicating data: Arguably the most important component, being able to communicate results through reports and visualizations is key to making data-driven decisions. Without this element, your data and its findings can't be used.
Creating opportunities for your employees to advance these skills improves your operational efficiency. This allows you to develop this expertise in-house rather than outsourcing the analysis work to an external data scientist who may not be as familiar with your business. Additional benefits include an enhanced ability to identify new areas for growth and make informed decisions rooted in data.
Common data literacy skills and concepts used for business include:
- Analytics skills
- Data wrangling and collection
- Data visualization
- Interpreting data ecosystems
- Data governance
Without these skills, your organization’s digital transformation and the ability to compete in a digital business environment is threatened.
How data improves the business
We’re in the golden era of data. Before you begin expanding your teams’ data literacy skills, it’s important to understand what data resources your organization can start using today and how many new data concepts are transforming business operations.
A variety of robust data collection, storage and analysis solutions are helping organizations access insights to make strategic, data-driven decisions to improve performance and operations.
These cloud-based and on-premises resources allow for round-the-clock access to data and include Artifical Intelligence (AI), business intelligence and data warehousing tools. When setup in a modern infrastructure environment, your organization will have round-the-clock access to data with expansive opportunities for insights.
You can also assess how your organization collects data using Internet of Things (IoT) arrays. These systems are useful for expanding your data collection, giving your organization access to real-time insights.
When using modern data collection, storage and analysis tools, your organization will have the right tools in place to take advantage of the golden era of data. But to realize the actual benefits of improved decision-making, customer interactions, business forecasting and more, you’ll need to develop your organization's data literacy.
Improving your teams’ data literacy skills
Developing data literacy skills doesn’t happen overnight. However, there are a few steps that you can take to get your organization engaged to develop their skills.
- Establish a data literacy baseline. Assessing your employees’ level of data understanding gives you a starting point for developing a data literacy lesson plan.
- Self-service data platforms: Implementing self-service platforms encourages and enables professionals of all industries to generate queries and reports without the need of a formal analyst. This builds a self-starter mentality and removes the need for a middleman on time-sensitive projects.
- Emphasizing and incentivizing data usage: Not all employees will see the value of data in their role. Communicating value through case studies and other relevant examples can encourage and promote a greater understanding of the importance of data.
Data has transformed the way we do business in the modern world, making it more essential than ever to interpret and communicate the data used in your organization. Establishing these skills within your organization will instill confidence in your internal operations and performance. Implementing a Learning and Development (L&D) program can be instrumental in teaching employee’s data skills.
An L&D initiative can provide a variety of services to support your data literacy goals, including:
- A learning needs analysis to determine knowledge gaps
- Custom training content that addresses business needs by role
- Hands-on training delivered by a subject matter expert
An L&D program can cover both basic data concepts, but also dive into common tools used in the industry, data storytelling and more. Your organization only needs to outline its objectives and an L&D partner will help develop the best path forward to achieve your goals through improved data literacy.
Paving a path for success through data
While the amount of data that exists today can be overwhelming, data is a pivotal resource for optimizing processes, staying competitive and accelerating IT modernization. Businesses that harness the power of data to create positive change instead of running from the possibilities will be the ones who succeed — all that’s left to do is tap into it.