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Analytics for the workplace – it starts from the top

JY Pook, Senior Vice President, APAC, Tableau | March 2, 2016
JY Pook, Senior Vice President, APAC, Tableau, discusses how business leaders can build a truly data-informed culture and why data skills will become a standard requirement of all job descriptions.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The concept of being data-informed is not new. From social media channels to the FairPrice supermarkets of the world, organizations have, for some time now, been adopting data analytics to make more intelligent decisions that are aimed at transforming their businesses.

What does it truly mean to be data-informed, though? This means that the rank-and-file worker, who may not be involved in business-critical decision making and was previously not very concerned with making sense of data, now needs to care. Data is no longer just the concern of business leaders who are charting the direction of the business. More importantly, data is no longer just the domain of the business intelligence (BI) manager. In a high performing workplace culture, where data is celebrated and harnessed, analytics should be placed in the hands of business domain experts, from the marketing team to the human resource department.

Yes, BI managers will always remain the essential gatekeepers of data and information security, but being data-informed extends way beyond that. It means that the company's data is everyone's business.

In Singapore, there has been much discussion about the country's drive to become the world's first Smart Nation, and leaders are viewing this initiative as one that is citizen-driven. A major part of this initiative is about enabling a skilled workforce that is nimble, creative, and largely fueled by data and technology. While this initiative is people-focused, the country's leaders have taken it upon themselves to develop more technology-driven and open data initiatives to encourage this movement.

Similarly, business leaders are realizing that enabling all their workers to access and interact with data is beneficial for their company's bottom line. Truly fostering a data-informed, analytical culture within a company involves the empowerment of data users across departments, implementing training, making easy-to-use self-service analytics available, adapting hiring processes and more. In other words, this is a movement that needs to start from the top, as much as it needs to be embraced by literally everyone.

Data for everyone

There is no doubt that speed-to-insight has become relevant for all units of business. Take marketing for example - a function that was for years dominated by creatives that steered clear from playing with numbers, and now has data at the heart of all its campaign strategies. These days, as we see the industry calling for more 'Math men' over 'Mad men,' marketers can no longer afford to say "I think..." as every campaign is measured for its return on investment. Marketers now design targeted programs that reach out to specific audiences. This is also evident with the growing number of consumer insights and programmatic marketing companies where data-informed marketing decisions make up a big part of their DNA.


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