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data-natives-panelCreating data driven organizations is tough. It is not only about technology, dashboards and budgets. It’s about changing the way people work and make decisions, and convincing management to invest in it.

At this year’s Data Natives conference in Tel Aviv, I shared the stage with Omer Kehat, who is leading the Structured Data Analytics Group in eBay, and Dan-ya Shwartz, Data Scientist and Growth Expert at Alooma, discussing this challenge and ways to overcome it.

The full video of this panel will be online soon, but until then you can read the tips given by these experts:

Think Small

If you can take one tip from this post and implement it tomorrow, it’s this one. Starting small, and showing quick wins, are essential for every organizational transformation. When it comes to creating a data driven culture it is even more complex. The thing is this – people don’t like to be measured. It puts a lot of pressure on them. Therefore, you need to show the value of this approach early on. This could happen when you quickly show wins and benefits.

Find the Right Partner

As a result of the first point, internal partners are crucial for success. You need more people in the organization to support you and be a part of the effort. Find a partner that is data hungry, needs your input, and has both interest and enthusiasm to push the boundaries when it comes to a data driven work process in your organization. This is way better than trying to convince others that they need data analytics to do a better job.

Collect Everything Now, Decide What to Do With It Later

Sounds a bit strange doesn’t it? Shouldn’t we start with thinking what data do we need and only then do something with it? Well…no. Yes, you need to define what you are trying to achieve, but goals will change over time, especially as your organization becomes more sophisticated in the way they use data to make decisions.

The reality is that collecting and storing data is cheap. Therefore, it’s a better strategy to collect as many data points as you can now, and decide what to do with some of them later.

Make Data a Part of Your Everyday Work Processes

At Pravda Media Group, we’ve invested a considerable amount of money and work hours in designing and implementing sophisticated marketing dashboards. They were supposed to be used by our team and our clients.

We quickly realized that having the best dashboards in the world won’t be enough. Sure, data is used as a part of the overall decision making process. But in order for people to use it on a daily basis, it needs to be a part of their workflow. Two things that improved the integration of data in day to day work were:

  1. Creating a dashboard for every function in the company, with the data that they need to support their decisions.
  2. Referring to these dashboards in meetings and discussions, as a part of the ongoing work.

Transparent, Easy to Understand Goals

When we asked the audience about their main challenges in moving toward a data driven organization, one of the points that was raised more than once was the challenge of setting KPIs. I can write a thousand blog posts about the challenges of setting the right ones, but one key point to remember is that these KPIs should be clearly reflected to the organization, and easy to understand.

Agility is your Friend

Agile is probably the most abused term in recent business history. However, in your path towards creating a data driven organization you will see that the goals you set at the beginning of the process will need to change. Creating a data driven organization is a transformative and iterative process (remember the quick win part?). As the organization matures, goals need to adapt as well. Sticking to the original goals at any cost might not only be useless, but even worse – become a roadblock in the path to make data relevant for the organization.

Ok, So Now What

As you can see, creating a data driven organization is a journey that requires time, effort, and some smart moves. These tips could shorten the path a bit. However, remember that it’s a long term process – don’t be bogged down by delays and early failures. Data driven organizations are making better decisions at the end of the day. And that’s a goal worth achieving.