Data Literacy

What is data literacy

Data literacy is the skill set of reading, communicating, and deriving meaningful information from data. Collecting the data is only the first step. The real value comes from being able to put the information in context and tell a story. Industry analysts have called data literacy a 2020 analytics trend, with a growing number of BI vendors offering data literacy training videos and certification programs.

This ability to read and use data is what will propel your company to greater heights. The more data-literate employees you have, the better positioned your company is to convert your data into actionable insights. Championing data literacy in your company culture will help everyone understand what processes are working and why, and which paths will lead to new success.


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Do your employees speak “data-ese”?

Gartner recently estimated that 50% of organizations lack sufficient AI and data literacy skills. Having a basic understanding of basic data concepts will help all of your employees get the most value out of your company’s data, even if they are not technical and aren’t the ones responsible for managing the data.

Additionally, boosting your in-house data literacy means everyone in your organization can effectively communicate — using accurate data and statistics — about your company’s business priorities and goals, both to internal stakeholders and to outside partners.

The first step is to evaluate your current level of data literacy. Do managers use data to propose new initiatives and make recommendations? Do employees have access to the data they need to make difficult decisions? Are current business operations tracked and the resulting metrics transmitted to all stakeholders?

Once you’ve established your company’s general condition, you can begin to identify both new opportunities and communication barriers. Then, mediators can be tapped to start bridging the gaps between the techies and non-technical staff. These “data translators” can come from internal departments or be an external consultant who is engaged to better understand your company’s needs. When introducing new training initiatives and changes in business operations, it’s helpful to communicate the reasons why data is essential to your company’s competitive edge in its industry.

BI Trends 2020 Whitepaper

Data literacy skills for all

Becoming data literate means your employees will be gaining competency in the following skills:

  • Understanding data analytics methods and tools and their appropriate implementation
  • Correctly interpreting data visualizations, such as charts and graphs
  • Add context and extracting insights from information from data analysis
  • Effective data storytelling, knowing how to create a compelling narrative from data and metrics
  • Being a whistle-blower when data is used misleadingly

One challenge that may present itself during a company’s digital transformation journey is the increasing complexity of data sets used in business. Big data can rapidly lead us to situations represented by more zeros than we can get our heads around.  A BI platform like Sisense can help to make sense of this data. Access to data insights for all departments — marketing, sales, engineering, or even HR — can help every employee achieve goals and improve productivity.

At Sisense, our mission is to empower users of all kinds with deep insights from even the most complex data. Sisense analytics are flexible enough to be embedded in employees’ daily work processes and powerful enough to handle data from a wide array of sources. This access can allow for powerful decision-making by data-literate employees, without the help of IT or data analysts.

In summary

Businesses don’t run on senior management’s hunches any more. We’re living in a new era of data-driven business operations that can help us better understand our customers and optimize growth. Making data literacy a skill required of all employees could help improve productivity and be transformative for your business.

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