The data analytics sector is evolving at a pace unseen in recent memory, with enormous implications for large and small businesses alike. With digital, data-driven innovations sweeping across the world’s sectors and industries, data analytics is giving businesses the opportunity to leverage data and gain a competitive advantage over others.
Given this tectonic shift, conversations in the office and in the boardroom regarding data analytics have also pivoted. The term big data barely begins to scratch the surface of what data science is capable of and while it may be tempting to believe that hiring a chief data officer or analytics officer will solve all of your data-centric problems, the truth is that in order to succeed in the new data-driven world, the majority of businesses will need to assemble a leadership team with a variety of specialised skills and areas of focus. The correct organisational structure is the biggest barrier to attaining data effectiveness, which explains why so many large, high-performing businesses have moved faster to involve business leaders in data analytics operations. After all, it’s the key to unlocking value.
So what is data leadership? And what are the advantages of it?
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What is data leadership?
By incorporating data governance rules, concepts and procedures into your broader strategy and operations, data leadership services can maximise the value of your data and information. In doing so, data leadership ensures your company maintains a high standard for data quality as well as the essential capability to uphold those standards. Data leadership teams can provide the momentum your business needs to propel your operations forward through analytics, machine learning, AI and data commercialisation. As a result, a data leader can connect the strategy and vision you have for your business with improved data quality as well as better productivity and efficiency.
So what are the advantages of data leadership?
In your team, who are your best performers? Which employees are lagging behind their goals?
Data-driven decision-making increases answerability. When everybody can see how their individual resolutions connect to a strategy, it can help change the way organisations think about accountability and its relationship with productivity and efficiency within the day-to-day operations of a business.
However, arriving at this harmonious outcome requires a reallocation of data ownership and that’s not always an easy task. When everyone has access to data, leaders at every level can find out which teams are doing well and which ones need supervision so they can make changes before problems become critical.
Success happens quicker when every employee has the information they need to make good decisions. Having the right people with the right skills and abilities to do the work, as well as a process to get the information your staff needs to do that work and achieve the desired outcomes, is critical for any modern business.
High-performing organizations put analytical tools in the hands of leaders, managers, and workers at all levels – not just business analysts and executives. In addition to boosting productivity, this increased level of accessibility also frees up analytical teams to concentrate more on developing models and offering more sophisticated analytical insights as well as raising and promoting data literacy within a business.
Align your business with company-wide goals
When everyone within a business has access to data, data becomes more than just a single point of information – it becomes a compass on which a team can rely to navigate their daily tasks and operations. By having everyone ashore in the same set of data, you can take the smallest moments and the conclusions that happen every day, at every level, and connect them to a larger strategy, resulting in a bigger, more successful outcome.
Deliver a sense of ownership
Giving managers at all levels access to analytical tools improves accountability and transparency and provides a single source of certainty for the entire business. This increases a person’s sense of accountability and control over their tasks as well as the trust they have in the data, as opposed to your data being completely hidden behind firewalls or compartmentalised within hidden servers or HR information systems.
As a business, you wouldn’t hold anything back on your financial information and you certainly wouldn’t hold back on your quality information – so why hold anything back on the information you have about your people?
Insights are part of the key indicators of overall organizational health. As a result, transparency in a business is often the basis for trust between a company and its shareholders, clients, investors and of course, its employees. Data leadership allows businesses to be more transparent with all interested parties, the insights of which can help to boost productivity and nurture growth in your day-to-day operations.
When venturing outside your business to evaluate data leadership, especially for the first time, a critical step for defining the capability your company needs is to understand the strategic opportunities and current capabilities of your organisation as a whole. Approaching data analytics with an open mind for the purpose of discovering leaders who unlock latent value in your initiative tends to yield the best results.
Moreover, keep in mind that the best talent in this space is more fleeting and tends to view employ differently than frontrunners in other disciplines. This can be OK. The right data leader can add a great deal of value in several years, and may only be appropriate for part of your journey anyway. It’s important to consider the process of data optimisation as an ongoing, iterative one in which you can only advance by taking calculated, controlled risks. The finest data-driven executives already have this perspective on the world and can help you transform your business operations into something that is more flexible and nimble.