Why it matters?


Data Literacy

Data Literacy : What is it and how to achieve it?

In today’s digital era, the data of your organization is of tremendous value. We believe that the solution to your biggest business problems is hidden in your data. And, it is your employees’ level of Data Literacy that holds the key to your treasured solutions. But what is data literacy?


What is Data Literacy?

The human brain is designed to understand stories, and stories brim with emotions. These sentiments become the sole drivers of decisions when the scenario is devoid of data. Consider global warming – although a large number of people believe that it is real and a threat, many assume it to be a hoax. Most of us form opinions about important issues without analyzing the data behind it. 

We need to integrate data into our decision-making process. It is important to make data a part of our thought process. But before we do either of the above, we need to understand data, which is where data literacy is essential. 

Data Literacy is the ability to read, digest, and interpret data toward meaningful discussions and conclusions. 

Let’s take the example of a campaign by marketing:

  1. A Campaign had a conversion rate of 46%, while campaign B converted 74,000 people
  2. Campaign A had a conversion rate of 46%, while that of campaign B was 38%
  3. C Campaign converted 21,000 people, while campaign two converted 74,000

Which campaign was most effective? This answer depends on how someone looks at the numbers. People’s reactions and interpretations of any information depend on their individual Data Literacy. 

Different data literacy personas and a data-driven culture

 In the above-given scenario, the reactions of people can be broken down to their data literacy personas: 

A Data Skeptic would perhaps ignore the data from the scenarios and choose based on his/her understanding of the campaigns.

A Data Enthusiast would say: I like that we have data on campaign conversion, but I am not sure if I know how to interpret it.

A Data Literate would recognize that data in scenarios #1 and #3 are incomplete and don’t compare. He/she would also remember that scenario #2 shows that campaign A is converting better, but without knowing the error, no-one cannot ascertain if it is statistically better than campaign B.

A Citizen Analyst would follow a structured process for analyzing the campaign, conclude which campaign converted better, and make recommendations for the future.

A Data Scientist would employ more advanced methodologies, if need be, to take the learnings farther.

A Data-driven Executive would hold his team responsible for the campaign results they promised, be able to interpret the results they present, and make positive decisions for the future.

Key Points

From the scenarios, it can be seen that facts and, more importantly, their analysis would allow a business to make informed decisions. Hence, Data Literacy becomes imperative for companies that wish that information is analyzed and utilized before decisions are made on any given subject matter.

A company where 75% or more of its workforce is data literate is called a data-driven company.

However, a data-driven company has more than just Data Literacy at its core. It should to be supported by other components in analytics to be considered truly data-driven.

Four components of Analytics Maturity

data-driven company shows analytics maturity in these four areas:

  1. Data-driven leadership – The leaders of the organization understand the power of data and analytics and have a strong motivation to lead by numbers.
  2. Data Literacy across the organization – Both the analytics and the organization’s non-analytic side have an appropriate Data Literacy level.
  3. Decision-making process – There is a mechanism to make decisions in the organization, which is aligned with the business’s critical drivers so that everyone feels motivated to work on their project. It is so because the decision-makers understand how their work moves the key metrics and thereby adds value to the company.
  4. Data Maturity – There is a single source of truth for data, i.e., people can access data with ease, and that data is accurate.

Role of leadership in a data-driven company 

data driven leadership

Data-driven leadership is key to bringing Data Literacy within an organization. The leaders have first to champion the nuances of Data Literacy themselves. This will make the process effective and successful. Data-driven leaders lead by example and ask the right questions to unmask the correct information. 

You can read more about the pillars of organizational analytics maturity and assess them in this blog. 

5 Steps to building data literacy in the organization

To build data literacy in an organization, you need first to understand the leadership’s view on it. Ask questions such as: What is currently not happening that needs to happen by the end of the project? What skills are being asked of what profile?

However, only the leadership cannot alone lead the company to be data-driven. Here are the five steps to building data literacy in the organization.

  1. Defining Data Literacy for the organization
  2. Analytics Maturity Assessment
  3. Planning a stratified learning solution and success metrics
  4. Communication and Execution
  5. Evaluation and Improvement

To build data literacy, you need to find the current level of Data Literacy among your employees. From there, map out your goals for data literacy of the employees. 

Once you understand what is required, you need to plan for the next steps. You can read in detail about building data literacy in the organization here. 

Tips for Success with your Data Literacy Program

The journey to building data literacy in an organization is exciting and fruitful. But it can be daunting at times. To make sure the trip is successful, here are some tips :

It always starts with the leadership – As you begin this process, the first learning cohort is the executives. An executive session should be held at the directorial level to set up the analytics agenda

Use framework/recipe-based learning – Using a recipe-based approach to learning makes it faster and accelerated. Using a structured analytics framework like BADIR, we take the rocket science out of analytics and make it accessible to everyone irrespective of their roles.

You can read more about this here. 

How is BADIR helpful

BADIR is an efficient tool in harnessing the real powers of analytics. 

BADIR enables actionable hypothesis-driven analytics and ensures that the right problem is being solved.

  1. Identify the Real Business Question – The process of analytics starts with clarifying the Business question as a problem well stated is a problem half-solved. The Business Question framework gives the ability to get to the real question, i.e., what exactly are we trying to solve?
  2. Layout a hypothesis-driven analytics plan – Plan before you act and make sure all the key stakeholders agree with it. A hypothesis-driven approach enables accelerated discovery of insights toward the problem at hand.
  3. Pull relevant data – BADIR propounds using hypothesis-driven plans to winnow down the exact data needed to answer a question. This makes reaching insights in the fastest manner possible.
  4. Convert it to insights – BADIR has an exact recipe to follow for every methodology you will use. Also, it has clear guidelines on which method to apply for different kinds of problems. The insights recipe provides accurate analytics and the fastest results with early check-ins with stakeholders priming them up for action.
  5. Make recommendations to drive impact – With BADIR, we have the exact science to make winning presentations loaded with actionable recommendations that drive dollars and influence.

Few Important Points

Every company has big rocks and KPI that they genuinely care about. Every project that the company works on should tie up to those numbers. The projects should be decided based on how it moves these top metrics. The question is how to identify the critical analytics projects your organization should be working on, i.e. how to lay the organization’s analytics agenda. We have a structured framework for that. Please email us at dataliteracy@aryng.com to get your copy.

About Aryng

Aryng is a Data Science consulting and training company. We are a unique partnership of analytics professionals with decades of experience in Fortune 100 companies, conducting analytics, building and managing Business Intelligence and Analytics teams, and delivering cumulative results in the $100s of millions.

Analytics Consulting:

Aryng’s SWAT Data science team is uniquely positioned to get guaranteed Rapid ROI because of our proprietary hypothesis-driven BADIR framework, which aligns the stakeholders to a standard problem definition, rapidly brings to an actionable solution, and preps the stakeholders toward actions and $’s.

Analytics Training:

Aryng’s proprietary and unique BADIR framework drive ROI with training. We have industry-ready, immersive, hands-on training that delivers impact. We have role-based training from citizen analysts to data scientists, and our training uniquely covers Data Science as well as Decision Science that takes insights to decisions and dollars. Our applied learning ensures that the data culture is established through live projects from their work.



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