There are no Data problems… There are only People problems.
The trend of data haves and have-nots
There is a gaping divide in business today – the haves, and the have-nots – The ‘haves’ – Google, LinkedIn, AirBnB to name a few – have data driven culture and capability at their core. Decisions are made, markets investigated, growth achieved all through leveraging data. The striking thing about the ‘haves’ is that most of them don’t even think about being data driven; they just are. It’s integral to who they are, and how they operate. I was at LinkedIn 8 years ago and that’s when I started observing this trend which has become infinitely more prevalent today.
For the ‘have-nots’, there is a striking recognition of the importance of data and how it can rise businesses ahead of the competition, but uncertainty about how to go about becoming ‘data driven’ (or whatever current term implies the extraction of value from big data, at pace).
Common issues we’re seeing
The way most folks deal with this, is to turn to technology, or new processes, policies, etc. “If we put in a Data Management Platform, everyone will be able to access it, and we’ll quickly become data driven…” or “We need to integrate all of our platforms, so the data in them can ‘talk to one another’” or (even worse) “If we get a dashboard, it will democratise access to the data, and data-driven decision making will follow not long afterwards”
“When we started CambridgeData, it was due to a shared recognition that the explosion of data in the hands of business (and anyone for that matter) created an instant people challenge.”
The ‘We’ in CambridgeData
When I refer to the royal we, I mean Jonathan Brech, my business partner, and I. I met Jonno in 2012 just after he sold his digital marketing agency to WPP. Having founded an agency with an impressive client roster that included Mercedes and Sweaty Betty, Jonno is intimately familiar with the data challenges businesses face. For the last 10 years he has worked with digital teams and data scientists to create a new way of working that allows whole organisations (not just individuals or small teams) to have a test and learn culture making a business smarter and more competitive.
That, combined with my 21 years in digital (leading inately data driven businesses much of the time) and my recent background in learning design and learning culture, has brought us to a unique way of thinking, bringing together data driven behaviour and learning. We and our customers believe that it’s this blend that creates data culture programmes with real impact and legacy.
“Our mission at CambridgeData is to empower the data-driven workforce of the future.”
How do we help businesses?
Our customers always know that they have to become more data driven but it’s the next step that they usually struggle with: what does being data driven actually mean? How do we measure that we have become more data driven?
And that’s why, at the beginning, I mentioned that there are no data problems, only people problems. Being data driven for us means exhibiting certain behaviours and habits that make organisations very effective. Behaviour change, habits, culture are notoriously difficult to implement and embed in the organisation. Workshops can help set the agenda, get attendees modelling the behaviour, but one or two days won’t embed habits; data coaches can really help embed the behaviour, but a learning programme will help this to scale; and finally tools are important, IF they are embedded in the whole process.
We always start helping our customers either through L&D or senior functional leadership understand which skills, habits and tools they are missing or need to optimise. And that’s where their journey starts.