Six Ways Profitable Companies Support Data-Driven Decisions

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    Big Data Makes Organizations Smarter, but Open Data Makes Them Richer

    The verdict is in, according to recent research: Data-driven companies are more profitable than their competitors. The question is: How?

    It’s not as if their competitors aren’t using data. Organizations have always used data to make decisions, as data quality expert Jim Harris pointed out.

    So what’s so different about these so-called “data-driven” companies? A recent article recently explored this issue, based on the research by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Tableau Software. The survey queried 530 senior executives from industries around the world about their use of data.

    It turns out, becoming truly data-driven is not about technology; it’s about culture. The article explores the findings in more detail, but it boils down to these six unique ways successful companies use data to outperform their competitors:

    1. Profitable companies recognize data doesn’t belong to IT. Instead of expecting IT to handle all the data collection, data quality and data queries, they expect all business units to also collect, manage and use data. Many described data collection as a primary task for every business unit.

    2. Profitable companies expect all employees and business divisions to share data across the enterprise. More than half of those from top-performing companies said promoting data sharing helped create a data-driven culture.

    3. Profitable companies support using data in employees’ day-to-day work. Technically difficult tasks, like setting up data models or algorithms, are handled by specialists, but successful companies go a step further, “democratizing” the data. They expect employees to use data in their day-to-day work, and provide tools to do so.

    4. To support that widespread, daily use, profitable companies invest in training employees about how to use data to do their jobs. The survey found 50 percent of the top-performing companies said it’s highly important to provide data literacy training to employees.

    5. Profitable companies tolerate questions and disagreement about business decisions — as long as that is based on data analysis.

    6. Profitable companies have executives that value data and support a data-driven culture.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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