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say it with moxy

Data Culture Enablement: what & why

What is Data culture enablement?

Definitions should be clear and concise. They should reduce confusion, not add to it. Too many data-related definitions are guilty of this; some of them are multiple paragraphs long! So, when I set out to define Data Culture Enablement in my own words, I wanted to make sure no one was left scratching their heads after reading it. But, you can be the judge of that. Data culture enablement is…

A strategic effort to enable data-informed decision-making as a core shared value throughout an organization.

I landed on this definition while sitting in my kitchen after a strategy session with my business partner, Laura Madsen, and it instantly felt so right once it was all put together. Each word was carefully selected. “Strategic” because you must be intentional. “Effort” because it takes work. “Enable” because you’re providing the means to reach a goal, not its conception. “Core” because its central to your business, and “shared value” because that’s all any culture really is. It makes even more sense now, doesn’t it?

Why do organizations need a data culture?

In my experience, not having a plan to enable a data culture is the single most common reason internal Analytics functions with smart people, fancy tools and immeasurable amounts of data fail to deliver value to their organizations, bar none. Here are 3 reasons why:

1.) If you build it, they will NOT come. Too many of us subconsciously operate on if-you-build-it-they-will-come thinking. I like to think our higher functioning brains know this simply doesn’t work in the data world, but somehow educating people when, where, and how to use our great work remains an afterthought.

2.) Data heroes are not a long-term solution. Your data heroes simply can’t keep up with the data needs and demands of your organization. Sure, they will turn themselves inside out to get the job done for a while, but they will eventually leave because it’s not sustainable and a setup for failure all around. Laura wrote a whole article about data heroes and how bad they are for data cultures - check it out

3.) If it’s not part of your culture, it’s a fad. Anyone that’s spent time working in this industry knows that technologies, leaders, and strategies change endlessly. For those on their fifth round of “this tool/leader/strategy is really going to change things around here,” it’s almost comical. Legitimate efforts to evolve as a company are dismissed as the next fad because using data is perceived as tied to a “thing” and not a core shared value of your organization that can transcend the constant change.

Stay tuned for my next post on the how and where of data culture enablement or go download the full e-book here:


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