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Data Literacy is much more than reading visualisations and building queries

In the world of Analytics, there is an increasing volume of noise, claiming that the key to analytics success within an enterprise lies in increased data literacy. Power-users and end-users need to be able to read data in different visual formats, to construct their own queries and to identify issues and inconsistencies within data that might lead to incorrect insights or an incomplete understanding. This is good advice and while true, it’s only part of the story.

Data Literacy is also about a data-driven mindset and a data-focused culture within a business, and it is this component that is the key to delivering enterprise-wide transformational (rather than incremental) analytics success.

” Data literacy is the ability to read, work with, analyse, and argue with data. Much like literacy as a general concept, data literacy focuses on the competencies involved in working with data.”
Wikipedia

The key is to make sure your team understands what data is, where it lives, how it can be captured and then used to generate ideas that can be incorporated into their decision-making processes. This can open up a world of opportunity that was previously unseen.

So, what is data? A simple question with a simple answer. It’s an answer that while crucial to data-innovation can be elusive at first. Data includes any type of information. Data is transactional information drawn from your current systems – most people can grasp this part. Data is also traffic across networks (computer networks, road networks, supply chain networks etc.). Every movement within a network is a data point and applied with the right mindset it’s an opportunity for creatively applying data innovation. Data is also sensor data on your manufacturing line, in the climate controls and lighting systems of your training rooms, on the engines of your trucks or any one of a thousand other places. Data is also the time and triggers taken by your workflow systems. Data is whatever your team can imagine – this is the key takeaway.

Data is anything and everywhere, and when your people really understand that you can unlock insights from the highest levels to the front lines of your business and onwards into your customers and partners you will be truly data literate. Data isn’t just ones and zeros. Data is not a pivot table, a scatter plot, a word cloud or a treemap. Data is a mindset and a key component of a company’s culture… it is the key to innovation.

ABM Systems offers Managed Analytical Services that include more than just software, hosting and development. Our Managed Analytical Service offering includes Data Literacy programs and workshops that cover all of the aspects I’ve spoken about here – reading visualisations, creating queries and understanding data validity, but also data-culture and data-innovation as well. If you’d like your analytics investment to deliver the returns you dreamed of when you put the original business case down on paper, then speak to us. We can help you improve your ROI.

Image data source: The Future Belongs to Intelligent Operations, survey conducted by Accenture Operations and HfS Research 2017

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