Creating a Data Fluent Organization

Tips & Tricks
Oct 6, 2016
6 Min Read
Creating a Data Fluent Organization

Creating a Data Fluent Organization

Everyone is on the digital transformation bandwagon, but what is the key to leveraging the use of data in your organization? A recent survey of top IT and Operations mangers by QuickBase uncovered some troubling practices that put digital transformation initiatives at risk of not reaching their potential.

Simply investing in infrastructure and tools does not guarantee success. According to Zach and Chris Gemignani, success depends on data communication. In their book, Data Fluency, they guide readers to:

  • Tell a compelling data story
  • Design data products that are easily understood
  • Drive decision-makers to the best outcomes using data

They believe the four building blocks that contribute to a data fluent organization are:

  1. Data Consumers those using data to inform their work
  2. Data Authors those informing people with data
  3. Data Fluent Culture how people consume and make use of data in the overall organization
  4. Data Product Ecosystem the capabilities, processes, and tools that are in place to produce effective data products

Often problems arise when Data Product Ecosystems are silos of non-integrated systems between departments. You may have a bunch of apps that do specific things really well, but if those apps don’t communicate it will impact your ability to run your business efficiently.

Low-code and integrated tools like QuickBase are great for all of the building blocks of a data healthy organization. QuickBase encourages citizen development, democratization of IT and collaboration between IT and business units. But is having the right tools enough?

Self-awareness can be another major roadblock for organizations in making data fluent decisions. Tools need to measure the right metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). KPIs should be clearly communicated, transparent and easily understood. Your organization should be able to answer the tough questions:

  • What does success look like?
  • Are we moving in the right direction?
  • What are our industry benchmarks?

However, getting on the same page to identify and define KPI’s is no simple task.

Tips in Choosing KPIs

  1. Have only a few KPIs - It is ideal to have one overall KPI for the entire business and then a few relevant KPIs for various departments to help you identify how your business is doing and keep your team focused.
  2. Rates are generally better than totals - Metrics like Total Qualified Leads on a dashboard don’t help you day-to-day. The total will always go up. To see if specific new marketing efforts are working, you need to ask did our marketing efforts succeed this month? Track New Qualified Leads per Month for more useful info.
  3. Choose a Time Window - Put a rate on your dashboard with a time window (i.e. daily? weekly? monthly?) appropriate for your organization’s scale. Learning is faster with a small time window but if it is too small it will be noisy. As your company grows and generates metrics more frequently you can shorten your time windows and increase iteration speed.
  4. Totals are best for major company KPIs – For example, Total Revenue is a metric number worth focusing on in the big picture for your organization.

Want to see how your organization is leveraging data?

At CloudBase Services, we help our clients build database platforms and dashboard analytics tools as well as with insights in choosing the most useful KPI’s to measure. We have also developed a series of QuickBase Data Fluency survey apps and data mapping tools for our clients to access how they are doing and identify areas to improve.

Feel free to Contact The CloudBase Services Team with any questions or if you would like to give any of our survey apps a try.

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