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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.

Just like the transformation of the marketing function, data literacy should be a part of all conversations within the business. With finance, marketing, sales and other departments all having access to the same, relevant data, company-wide decisions will be better calculated and more aligned. Of course, this will only work if top leadership sets a visible example. Senior executives should themselves be comfortable with using data and must model the analytic process and culture they want, across all business units. Top leadership needs to make sure that employees have access to data and can now ask their own meaningful questions of the data.

Empowering employees

Self-service analytics applications are also an essential aspect of the self-sustaining feature of a successful analytics culture. To ensure that these applications do not become 'shelf-ware,' they need to be easy to adopt and user-friendly enough for all workers, across divisions, to be able to use it - and not just the most software-savvy workers within the company.

For the most part, getting all users to be truly data-informed will require some training in the form of use cases, online videos and more. It is essential to work with the business intelligence team to create a fail-safe environment for self-service analytics within the organization so that the data-informed habit will come more naturally to employees. This approach would normally work better than a forced initiative passed down as corporate directive from management. More importantly, staff needs to see how self-service data analytics can be a useful application that can help them with, rather than hinder, their work.

People and data skills

The right applications also need to be used by the right people in order for a company to make this transition. As such, top leadership needs to take this requirement into consideration right from the onset. That is having analytics as one of their key considerations when making hiring decisions and discussions, as well as in the development of HR processes. In fact, the lack of talent in this aspect has been identified as one of the biggest obstacles for organizations in Asia Pacific[ii], presenting a huge opportunity for companies to unlock even more value from a analytics-savvy workforce.

Eventually, data skills will become an important aspect of all job descriptions. And in that reality, organizations will benefit from assessing employees and future hires on these necessary skillsets as well. More than the technical skills, it will involve employees thinking critically and having a positively curious attitude towards data.


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