develop a data culture

How do you develop a data culture in your company?

In case you didn’t know, it’s all about people and processes, according to Niels Stenfeldt, CEO at Stibo Systems.

CDOs — or anyone with a CDO mandate — are normally charged with the responsibility to make the organisation data-driven with all the associated opportunities of maximising business outcomes. Their focus is rightly on business strategy and mapping data optimisation against business goals.

But to become data-driven relies first and foremost on people and processes. A second focal point should therefore be on how to strengthen and develop confidence in both.

Because data is so pervasive, it reaches beyond people’s professional trades and competences. Everyone has a role in data, either as a data owner, a data process owner or simply as a user.

The challenge of developing a data culture is not only to make people comfortable with data, but to make them data-savvy. As an encouraging factor, the CDO who succeeds in this endeavour will find his reward in a job that becomes much more gratifying.

This challenge requires the leadership to pay more attention to people’s skills and mandates than to their titles and seniority because a data culture is truly a collaborative culture.

Developing a collaborative mindset and acknowledging the dependency on people regardless of pay rate is perhaps the most difficult part of developing a data culture because dependencies can seem frightening.

The mission can essentially be boiled down to three actions that are required to develop a data culture and enhance the confidence in the people and processes that make up the data culture:

1. Subscribe to data governance principles that strengthens accountability and transparency.

2. Break down organisational and data silos that prevent collaboration and the optimisation of data.

3. Apply clever change management methods to educate and get people on board.

Good data governance is both the driving force and the desired result of your data culture, encompassing people and processes as well as technology.

Good data governance does not emerge out of a policy paper. It’s rooted in a sound data culture and helps enhancing the collaborative environment. Well performed data governance not only secures data quality and compliance needs, it also increases the general data awareness and hence the confidence in the organisation’s data culture.

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