The digital-first world triggered by the pandemic, is creating a massive explosion of data. Most of the time however, the data or information fails to translate into real-time data-driven decision making — a reason why it’s essential for enterprises to have a data literacy program in place.
A February 2022 report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicted that 40 percent of large enterprises in India will have data literacy programs by 2026, including training to help employees’ spot misinformation and communicate or influence with data as a means to elevate their data culture.
“Data literacy is a crucial pillar for the success of analytics initiatives within the organizations. Enterprises are directing initiatives that focus on enhancing the data skills through internal and external training sessions,” said Rishu Sharma, Associate Research Director, Cloud and AI, IDC India.
In that sense, a data literate organization is one in which business people and functional employees can embrace and use data in all that they do and is more of a culture issue than a technology.
The report said that enterprises in India are prioritizing data literacy since the inability to effectively utilize the data deters the development of data culture and creates hindrances in the ability to optimally leverage data and content to raise overall enterprise intelligence. It is therefore critical for enterprises to empower their employees and the ecosystem to interpret and derive insights from data effectively.
IDC isn’t the first one to note the importance of data literacy programs though. Market research firm Garner had said the same in October 2020. “By 2023, data literacy will become an explicit and necessary driver of business value, demonstrated by its formal inclusion in over 80 percent of data and analytics strategies and change management programs,” the company said in a blog post at the time.
A NTUC LearningHub Data Skills Report published last year also said that 89 percent of employees felt that they faced challenges at work because they weren’t data literate enough. The study also highlighted that employees saw poor data literacy as a handicap to their career progression, feeling that it could see them fall behind their peers in terms of work performance, not be promoted as often, and become less useful to their companies.
Further a Qlik-Accenture study showed that only 32 percent of business executives surveyed said they can create measurable value from data, and only 27 percent said their data and analytics projects produce actionable insights. The report also highlighted how data literate employees are more confident in their decision-making, make more accurate decisions, and generally perform better in their roles than their non-data literate peers.
In other words, data-literate employees can survive and thrive better in the current market turbulence and in effect, can help their organisations do the same.
Despite its high potential, experts believe that data literacy is not just a one-time project but a rigorous effort by organizations. New tools, technologies, people, processes and business objectives all combine to compel those tasked with maintaining the organization's data literacy objectives to continuously assess and refine their approach.