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Fostering a Data-Driven Company Culture
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Fostering a Data-Driven Company Culture

By Jake Stevens

In today’s competitive business environment, data must be leveraged to produce a sustainable advantage. Using and understanding data has to go beyond your analytics department. A strong data-driven company culture starts at the top and permeates every department. In this culture, it’s expected that decisions are made through utilizing and understanding available data to its full potential. It can be difficult making this transition, especially if you’re unsure where to start. Creating a data-driven culture is an investment in your company’s future and includes a lot of different elements. Having an idea of what you’re looking for helps to start the process. At Hahn Agency, we know what needs to be done to make a data-driven culture, and we pride ourselves on being able to help companies through this process.

"The benefits of a data-driven culture is to examine and organize the data with the goal of better serving one organization’s customers and consumers."
Gartner’s Vice President Analyst, Alan Duncan

What is the first step when moving your company towards a data-driven culture?

When it comes to creating a data-driven culture, there is no one size fits all approach. However, having specific milestones and goals for your company’s transition is the first step in the process. Business leaders who are unsure how to start this transition usually have data available but are not using it efficiently or gathering as much information as possible. Having a lot of data is great for your company, but making your data work for your specific needs is what you should be striving for. This starts with fixing and improving your data-access issues and then creating specific goals for how you want each department to access, understand, use, report and present your company’s data.

"83% of CEOs want a data-driven organization."
IDC Whitepaper

What is your company looking for?

There are many things to look for when transitioning to a data-driven culture, but narrowing down your needs and goals will ultimately benefit your company. Some examples of what a company could be interested in include performance analytics, marketing research, predictive analytics or data sciences. Using different approaches to let the data speak and reveal its truths will give answers to the goals and needs of your company. After figuring out what your company is looking for, the next step is to determine what investments need to be made to create a data-driven culture.

What investments should your company be ready to make?

When thinking of investments that need to be made, the obvious ones are time and effort. Additional investments will make a big difference when you transition to a data-driven culture. A company will also need to make investments in staff, technology and culture, just to name a few. Investing in your staff means hiring employees who can manipulate and work with data to find deeper insights. Those who have a background in data analytics and science allow for an easier transition into a data-driven culture. Focusing and investing in a robust data team is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done. Investing in new technologies allows your data team to automate processes, collaborate with teams and much more. However, investing in new technology is a difficult step since staff will need to adapt to the recent changes and work towards efficient ways to use the data. Investments in staff and technology go hand in hand with investments in culture. There needs to be a change in philosophy and decision-making, which is a considerable challenge.

"Tools are nothing without the human resources to manage them and the knowledge and education to use them."
Experimentation Leader & Content Agency Founder Alex Birkett

When is it time to hire an agency for analytics support?

After going through the steps above, sometimes it is not enough for companies to change their culture and move forward with their decision without support. It is now that companies should think about hiring an agency for analytics. You want to look for an agency that has a proven track record and provides everything your company is looking for and more. Some agencies will be specific with their analytics support, while others can cover a broad area. When your company determines what you’re looking for, it is time to do some research to decide which agency meets your needs. It is essential to understand the strengths of your current analytics team (if applicable) and find the analytics agency that fills the weaknesses. Once you determine what agency you would like to hire, it’s important to take the time and allow the agency to get to know your team. An agency should start by trying to understand your business, industry and customers. This allows the agency to pinpoint potential opportunities for analytics. While this is a good starting point when bringing on an agency, it should be an ongoing process as you continue to work with each other.

7 Signs You Need to Hire an Analytics Team

1) Your current analytics team does not have the time to increase duties/performance.
Is your team juggling a massive amount of business priorities and you’re worried about spreading yourself too thin? Data analytics can be time consuming and if you’re short on time you will likely get lost in the details. In the case where you’re a client-facing business, you must be producing the highest quality of service. When the quality of service starts to decline, that’s a sign that it might be time to hire an analytics team to help.

2) Your current team does not have the skills necessary to answer critical business questions.
As you move toward a culture where data is the center of decision making, there are skills, knowledge and expertise needed your team might not currently possess. The use of analytics is constantly transforming, and it can be challenging to keep pace. When your team feels like it’s not keeping up and not answering critical business questions as efficiently as possible, it’s a sign you need to hire an analytics team to help.

3) You have large amounts of data but are unable to transform it into actionable insights.
Having a lot of data to work with can be beneficial for your team, but it can become a distraction if you’re unable to use this data to draw insights and turn them into actions. A fundamental principle of data ops is using data to become more efficient. If instead the data is leading to inefficiencies then that is a sign it might be time to hire an analytics agency.

4) You’re unsure whether your current strategies are improving your business.
Does your team currently have a marketing outreach strategy, but you’re unsure if the effort is worth the cost? The solution is in the analytics. Hiring an analytics agency whose job is to understand, manage and use the data to improve your marketing outreach might be the best solution.

5) Your team is unsure that the insights generated are correct.
Analytics can be viewed as an art and a science. The art is being creative with how you use data and finding the hidden insight that previously wasn’t available. The science is double checking your insights and testing the output is correct to avoid running into issues later. This is when an analytics team could prove beneficial by ensuring the insights are accurate before answering business questions.

6) You seem to always be behind the competition.
When you recognize you’re falling behind your competition, this is a good sign to look for help elsewhere. Using the marketing outreach example above, your competition is reaching a larger audience and effectively finding their target audience. The best way to counter this is to use your data to target your audience more efficiently. Hiring an analytics agency that specializes in targeted marketing and analytics can give your company the edge over your competition.

7) You’re only planning for the near future.
As noted above, staying ahead of your competition is critical. When you only plan for the near future, you can fall behind on new initiatives and strategies. With the use of data analytics, it can be easier to make projections and forecast goals. An analytics agency that specializes in this would be able to work with your company to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Why should your company choose Hahn Agency?

At Hahn Agency, we have experience going through a culture change to move towards a data-driven mindset. This article mentioned that culture is the biggest obstacle to being data-driven, not technology or staff. As a client-facing business, we know that we must also do the same if we work to move our clients towards a data-driven culture. Over the past decade, we have continued to build our data operations team and make data our top priority. Our team continually works towards keeping a proactive data culture by making sure data is accessible and our team knows to integrate it into workflows. A reactive data-driven culture slows down processes and decreases the business value of the data analysis. We like to think of data as purpose-driven. We look to find the data points that meet our specific purpose and then turn that data into valuable insights, stories, animations, graphics and more. We are eager to work with new clients to figure out the best solutions for their data needs and continue developing and growing our knowledge and skills.

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