8 ways to create a data-driven culture at your company and how cloud business intelligence can help

We live in a data driven world. Data has achieved a few high profile successes recently: Nate Silver predicting the US elections, ‘Moneyball’ strategies in sports and the rise of personal analytics to get data on almost every aspect of our lives. Data and analytics have also become omnipresent in some shape or form in most businesses - optimizing data within a company has become a necessity. A recent Aberdeen Research study indicated that most best-in-class companies had a culture of information sharing and the findings above show that SaaS can help foster this culture.

1. View analytics as a business function not an IT function

Those executing the analysis need to be customer facing to identify the most applicable business indicators. Modern BI tools are built with business users in mind, no IT technical skill needed, not a line of code needs to be written.

2. Data access at all levels

With SaaS BI everyone at the company can become a data scientist. Aberdeen Research found that in companies using SaaS BI, on average, over half of employees within the team had access to analytics compared to 31% when not using a SaaS solution.This allows those making the business decisions to execute the analysis themselves. There is no need to involve the IT team. Traditional BI tools are often too difficult to use and thus reserved for use by a select few. Or the data itself is either too raw or again can only be viewed by certain members of the team. Access to data and analytics should flow between employees and not just be a one way stream of specialised data scientists executing analytics for upper management. BIME can help the flow of information as the solution can bring together disparate data sources whether they lie on-premise or on-line: Data analysis on the fly with several data-sources displayed in one chart. We can combine our website metrics with CRM and back-office financial data and users across different teams can both create and consume the dashboards. Querying and viewing different data sources together allows us to view the bigger picture and not just focus on our own individual departments.

3. Share, share, share

Results and findings should be shared throughout the company. SaaS BI can be consumed anywhere there is an internet connection: PCs, laptops, tablets and mobiles. Dashboards, visualizations and metrics can be disseminated quickly and easily to keep the whole team up to date with the latest insights.

4. Tailor your metrics
Don’t want your whole team to see sensitive information? Restrictions can be added to secure data to certain groups. For example the sales team may not need to know about certain website metrics, but conversions on the website would make up a key part of the sales funnel. All employees are able to dive into the data and find the answers they need. Metrics should be tailored to each team’s needs, SaaS BI allows users to mine their own business.

5. All for one and one for all

By very definition a culture needs to be prevalent throughout the company not just adopted by a small group. Employees at all levels need to be on-board.

6. Underpin all ideas and initiatives with data

At all levels employees should be able to back up their assertions with facts. How do we get those facts? By mining our data for information. Most companies produce vast volumes of data, it just needs to be harnessed. This information can then reinforce company strategy, ideas and underpin initiatives within an organization.

On this topic, I recently read an interesting analogy by

Piyanka Jain, CEO of Aryng

“Everything must be measured, and direction is key. For example, when skiing, the way to determine direction is to look in the direction you wish to go. Likewise with data-driven behavior, it's important to keep the goal in focus and continue towards that goal.”

7. Transparency builds trust

A policy of transparency increases honest discussion and allows employees to get down to the facts. We recently worked on an open data project with the Government of British Columbia Their aim is to become more transparent and to open up their data for use by the province's citizens, businesses, media and academics. After making the data available on the Health Department’s website, the site has gone from 10,000 hits per month to 124,000.

8.  Reliable data

It is all very well reinforcing your ideas with data but if this data is unreliable, quoting it is futile. Employees need to know what the data shows and then how to use it and apply it successfully.

We are seeing an ongoing shift in BI as analytics is no longer the exclusive domain of IT specialists. Nearly every business in the world produces vast amounts of data, often from different sources and now SaaS BI allows companies of all sizes to adopt a data-driven culture and harness this data to develop a competitive advantage. Take the first step in harnessing the full power of your data and sign up for our 14 day free trial.