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Why a data-driven transformation requires a cultural shift

Thor Olavsrud | April 8, 2015
It's a common refrain these days: Data-driven transformation isn't just about technology adoption, it requires changing the very culture of your organization -- the way your people think, interact and work. But what does that really mean?

The intent is to drill down to the root of the error to uncover metrics that can be used in an attempt to ensure that particular error doesn't happen again.

"Then you have 30 days to fix the remediation items," Elliott-McCrea says.

The elimination of blame and punishment has created a new and better culture at Etsy, he says.

"One of the things people talk about when they get here is their surprise about how helpful everyone is," he says. "Everyone is on the same side. People aren't afraid to not know something or make a mistake."

The end result has been a dramatic improvement in mean time to detect and mean time to resolve issues, Elliott-McCrea adds.

Security doesn't have to be scary

Even Etsy's security team has taken this philosophy to heart.

"They're friendly," Elliott-McCrea says. "I think one of the huge successes that I see is you see people sending them emails: 'Hey, this weird thing happened to me. Is this normal?' Most corporate security is scary. People are scared to talk to them. Here, people think, 'Our security team is friendly and open and I like them. I'm going to forward that along.' We get a lot of false positives, but that's OK."


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