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Why You Should Work in a Data-Driven Company

Does accessing and using data collected by your company feel painful? Have you heard about data-driven companies? Working in a data-driven company may give you the ownership and the opportunities to use your company’s data. Read our article to learn more!

If you work in a company, chances are that you want to do data analysis to solve problems. However, this is often not easy. You face many obstacles, impeding access to the data you need.

Fortunately, using data has been made easier successfully in many organizations. Many of the initiatives involved are part of making companies data-driven.

In this article, you will learn about the difference between having little access to the data in your organization and having the means and skills to use it effectively. You will learn what data-driven companies are, and how working in one can benefit your job and your career.

Finally, we will share our tips on how you can pioneer the transformation in your company to make it data-driven.

Are you ready to become data-driven? Read on!

Two Stories of Data Usage

The Pain of Data Access

Imagine the following scenario. You want to tap into the data collected by your company to guide decisions about a problem or to create a report. You know your company has relevant data and would be happy to do data analysis. However, you cannot.

There can be many reasons for this. You do not know how to access your database. Neither do you know how to query the data or create a report from it.

You could ask your database specialists. However, dozens of similar requests already overburden them. You just do not want to be the next nuisance.

And if you do decide to ask, you need to wait. A long time. “Is it ready? – Just a little bit more – Something has just come up.”

Then, you receive something. But it is not in the format you need, or worse, it’s not even the right report. Would you like them to fix it? Or, has something else, some other idea, already occurred to you? Feel free to ask again!

By the time you get what you wanted, it has lost its value. It has become just another document to archive.

Sounds painful and inefficient? This is not an accident. It is painful and inefficient!

data-driven company

This is clearly not a good scenario for anyone to use the data collected by your company. Fortunately, there is a better way! Let’s imagine how it should look.

Using Data: A Better Way

Imagine the same scenario. You have a question and want to do data analysis to answer that. You open your database management system or data dashboard; you write your query; you try perhaps a few more, and… you get the result.

That’s it!

Would you need this answer every week? You can save your query and dashboard settings for later reuse.

Do you want a report? You can generate that, too! Do you have another idea? You can use your saved queries to build on top of them!

What about your database specialists? They are just fine! They are freed up from all these requests and are now focusing on improving the database as we speak.

I do not know about you, but to me, this seems better.

So, what makes this second version so much better than the first? The end users of the data have access to the database and have the skills to use it. When you have access to your organization’s data, you will work with it faster. Your queries will be more relevant and adjustable.

“This all sounds great,” you might think. “But you just showed the outcome. You haven’t shared why and how the two scenarios differ.”

We are going to talk about this now. We will learn about the data-driven company.

The Data-Driven Company

So, what are data-driven companies, and how do they make your life easier when you work with data?

Data-driven companies provide the infrastructures, processes, and skills for their employees to work closely with data.

[Data-driven companies] pull the business toward data science, chiefly by insisting that employees are code-literate and conceptually fluent in quantitative topics. (source)

They democratize access to the data collected by the company and allow their employees to actively generate insights and act upon them.

data-driven company

Elements of Data Democratization (source)

As companies use data more and more, this has become increasingly widespread and relevant. It benefits you in the following ways:

  • Greater recognition, thanks to the better insights you generate.
  • Increased autonomy and ownership in your work.
  • Less friction with your colleagues.

Let’s see them in detail!

Better Insights: More Value

Because you are closer to the data collected by the company, you have more knowledge of its content and can analyze it better. Whether you are working in finance, marketing, or any other area, data analysis will help you better understand your domain and your company’s business.

As a result, your work with data will generate more value for your team and your company. Your colleagues will recognize your work more, and you will have increased career opportunities.

Autonomy in Data Analysis

If you have the skills to analyze your company’s data without assistance, you have more freedom in your work. You can examine the specific data you want, when you want, and in the format you want.

You can come up with ideas and experiment with novel solutions. You can contribute more to your team’s decision-making process.

Having more autonomy will even increase your happiness. Recent research studies suggest “the higher levels of autonomy a worker experienced, the higher their sense of job satisfaction and well being.”

Less Conflict With the Data Team

When you have the means and the skills to work with data on your own, you rely less on the availability of your data specialists. This provides you more personal freedom and makes for more fluid collaboration with them.

Having the right means, skills, and infrastructure can help separate concerns and responsibilities between teams more clearly. You will be able to focus on the insights and the analysis, and your database specialist colleagues will be able to focus on improving your data infrastructure.

Sounds great!

By now, you have learned that there are better ways to use the data in your company and that working in a data-driven company might be a way to reach that state.

In the next section, we will learn about the most efficient way to make your immediate work environment data-driven.

How to Become Data-Driven

Let’s discuss how you and your team can promote data-driven practices in your work.

data-driven company

A data-driven approach should involve most parts of the company. However, you can start the transformation just within your area or department. There are three ways in which you can do this:

  • Self-service data analysis: having the means and the infrastructure to access the data easily.
  • Data literacy: being able to read and use data collected by the company.
  • Data visualization: presenting your insights effectively, based on your work with data.

You can start most easily by developing your data literacy. You can begin to do that by picking up SQL skills and encouraging your colleagues to do the same.

[D]ata literacy allows everyone in the company to speak in specific terms, instead of generics, about how to use data. (source)

You will have a bigger chance to implement further steps toward being a data-driven company when you already possess data literacy skills. With these skills, you can demonstrate the value of being data-driven and advocate for more change.

The best way to increase data literacy is to learn SQL. SQL is the most widely used language when it comes to working with data. Developers have been using and testing it for decades; it is a skill that is not going away anytime soon.