What It Means To Be Data-Driven

If your weather app showed a 60% chance of rain, you would probably reach for a jacket before leaving the house. This new information would influence your behaviour. In a business-context, although a much bigger scale, the concept remains the same – a choice is made to do something (or not) on learning certain information. This is nothing new; businesses have been doing this for years... so, why is being data-driven the 'it' thing to do today?

The trouble now is there’s too much data. Businesses not only have to create unique activities, they also need to identify relevant data prior to traditional activity planning. And the hard work doesn’t end with a successful launch; measuring the right post-campaign information should be more than a glowing afterthought. To validate the right data was used to drive an activity, the right (and probably different) data will need to be measured afterwards.

And this end-to-end process is today’s definition of being data-driven – the scope has changed.

A data-driven business does more with it’s data than produce good insight. Generating insight starts with the need for an answer to a specific question. Data is not magic; it does not speak to people. Ask it a question and it will volunteer an answer. Being data-driven begins with an action, based on this answer. Data-driven companies operationalise their insight.

When a business pours their blood, sweat, tears (and money) into an activity, the results need to be definitively measured. The key to improving a business process is dependent on their understanding of how to influence the cause and effect. Investment in future changes, as a result of input from a data/insight feedback loop, is an enabler for any data-driven process.

It is not the sole responsibility of an Analyst to make a business data-driven.

“An intelligent organisation is not about the ‘cleverness’ of one analytics team but the insightful nature of the entire business” - Pearl Zhu.

Not everyone needs to know how data is processed, or how insight is created, but a collective understanding of how to operationalise the learnings – that’s what builds a true data-driven business.