Want to Know if Your Organisation is Data-Driven? Ask Yourself These Six Questions

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The term “data-driven” is thrown around a lot in the business world these days. And for good reason, it’s an ambition many companies aspire to realise. After all, a data-driven organisation is touted as being innovative, flexible, and productive. It sees benefits that extend to the bottom line and beyond, with companies delighting their customers, reducing costs, increasing profits, and maintaining a competitive advantage all with insights powered by data analytics.

In fact, 52% of the 1,700 European business decision-makers surveyed by Dun & Bradstreet said they doubted that their firms could even survive without having relevant, up-to-date, and compliant business data on hand.

Yet despite the advantages and the fact that a NewVantage survey revealed a whopping 99% of firms have invested in data initiatives and 92% reported the pace of that investment is accelerating, just a mere 24% of firms said they have actually created a data-driven organisation.

If these figures are representative of reality, then where’s the disconnect? Shouldn’t we be seeing more data-driven organisations? It all comes down to the simple fact that organisations need to do more than make significant investments in analytics, business intelligence, and other technologies — they have to get their employees and shareholders to buy in.

Here are six questions to ask to determine whether your “data-driven” organisation stacks up

1. Does your organisation have leadership that supports a data-driven culture?

If your answer is yes, then great. That means your organisation’s leadership team nurtures analytics-led innovation. If you answered no, you can also take comfort, knowing you’re not alone.

According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, nearly 75% of organisations don’t have leadership that supports a data-driven culture. To be truly data-driven, that’s going to have to change. If your organisation’s key decision makers aren’t committed to embracing data, how can they convince everyone else to? It’s up to them to lead by example, trusting the data instead of relying purely on intuition to make the majority of their decisions.

2. Does your organisation have a clear and well-communicated data strategy?

If you answered yes; then, again, that’s wonderful. That means your company is driving better business outcomes with data. And if you responded, “no”, it’s not alarming.

In the NewVantage survey, only 30% of companies reported having a well-articulated data strategy. 

Why is a data strategy that’s well-articulated matter? It provides staff the relevant, useful data they need to perform well in their roles. And if your data strategy is tied to your key business objectives and priorities, then you invite people to make important decisions with it in mind.

3. Does your organisation have trustworthy data?

Yes again? Fantastic, that shows that the data your organisation has can be used effectively and value can be derived from it. Answer no? That’s cool too, but just know that means it’s difficult to make progress with subpar data. 

Data will never be perfect. With that being said, your teams still need to have a certain level of confidence in it, believing that the data accurately reflects what’s happening.

4. Does your organisation have siloed and hard-to-access data?

If you answered yes to this one, it’s not ideal. But again, you’re not alone — according to a report by Arm Treasure Data, 47% of marketers said their data was siloed and difficult to access.

Being unable to gather a consolidated view within a single department is one thing, but getting a single source of truth across an entire business is quite another — and that’s what happens with data that’s isolated and obscure data. When this happens, an organisation lacks a critical sense of cohesion, making it hard to all be on the same page.

5. Does your organisation have difficult-to-use tools?

If you answered yes, well, that can be a hard pill to swallow. That means that your organisation went out and spent a pretty penny on an analytics platform that nobody’s using. Answered no? Fantastic, that means your organisation is gleaning insights for better decision-making with its tools.

A Deloitte study revealed that 67% of managers and executives reported that they were not comfortable accessing or using data from analytics tools. And a Qlik/Accenture survey highlight that 74% of employees expressed feeling overwhelmed and unhappy when working with data.

Not everyone is a data analyst or scientist, nor should they have to be. Building a data-inclusive culture requires tools like Sisense that make the data experience inviting and user-friendly, not offensive and burdensome.

6. Does your organisation have integrated data workflows?

If your response was yes, then great news — your organisation’s teams are probably happy to embrace data-driven initiatives. Respond no? Well, if your organisation’s analytics tools are detached from business processes, they’re not likely to gain acceptance. 

By simply integrating tools into your team’s existing workflows, data becomes a natural extension of their work — not another task to check off their to-do list.

In short, while there are many obstacles businesses have to overcome in becoming data-driven; there are just as many opportunities. Leaders must develop a new vision around what it means to be an intelligence-led company. They should advocate for an organisational culture that adopts analytics as more than just a best practice, but the only practice going forward. And they must also redefine what it means to be data-driven.

About the Author

Paul Scholey, Vice President of International Sales, Sisense

As Vice President of International Sales, Paul Scholey is responsible for growing the Sisense business in EMEA and APAC. He brings over 25 years of experience in the software industry, having previously worked in and led teams in consulting, pre-sales, and sales. Paul has a track record of growing early stage and midsize software companies, with specialisation in building sales teams focused on accountability and value-based selling. Most recently, he was SVP of International at BlueJeans by Verizon. Prior to that, Paul held a variety of leadership positions at Oracle, Teradata, Pentaho and Business Objects.

About Sisense

Sisense goes beyond traditional business intelligence by providing organizations with the ability to infuse analytics everywhere, embedded in both customer and employee applications and workflows. Sisense customers are breaking through the barriers of analytics adoption by going beyond the dashboard with Sisense Fusion – the highly customizable, AI-driven analytics cloud platform, that infuses intelligence at the right place and the right time, every time. More than 2,000 global companies rely on Sisense to innovate, disrupt markets and drive meaningful change in the world. Ranked as the No. 1 Business Intelligence company in terms of customer success, Sisense has also been named one of the Forbes’ Cloud 100, The World’s Best Cloud Companies, six years in a row. Visit us at and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

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