Data Literacy

Data Literacy: What It Is And Why It Is Essential?

Modern business success depends on data literacy. Although business users now have more data than ever before they will not be able to understand and interpret the information to maximise their potential to drive business value.

Nearly everyone is now proficient in data literacy. Companies require more data literacy specialists who can interpret and draw insights from data and ask the right questions.

Data literacy is a key factor in achieving net gains in data quality and collaboration, innovation, and process efficiency. Data literacy is a way to achieve more benefits with fewer problems.

Unfortunately, only 21 percent feel confident about their data literacy skills. There is still much to be done to improve data literacy in organisations.

Businesses must look for data literacy solution and participate in data democratisation if they want to maximise the potential value of the data that is available to them. Understanding what data literacy is and the skills required to achieve it is the first step.

What Is “Data Literacy”?

Data literacy refers to “the ability to read, write, and communicate data in context,” including understanding data sources and constructs and applying analytical methods. It also includes the ability to describe the use, the application, and the resulting value.

This means that business users must understand the data available to them, its limitations, and how they can use it. They need to understand how data can be combined from different sources or how it could be enhanced with trusted information from other parties.

They need to understand the geospatial context and how it can be used to provide deeper insights that will help them make better decisions. Businesses should be able to recognise the importance of proactive management of data quality.

Let me put it more succinctly: Decision-makers today must be able to translate raw data into business value.

Data literacy is the ability to interpret and communicate data within context. It is similar to literacy, which involves reading and understanding the written word. Data literacy allows an organisation to effectively use data to achieve desired business outcomes.

A lack of data literacy can hinder an organisation’s digital transformation, and make it less competitive in a digital-first environment. Organisations that are data-literate reap substantial benefits.

Building Organisation-Wide Data Literacy

How can you create a culture that supports and encourages data literacy within your company? These are the steps you need to take to get started on your journey.

1. Your current data literacy level. These questions will help you get started:

What percentage of your employees can do simple statistical operations like interpreting correlations and judging averages?

How many managers can they build a business case using concrete, relevant, and accurate numbers?

How many managers can explain the output of their processes or systems?

How many data scientists are capable of explaining the outputs of machine learning algorithms to their users?

How many customers can truly understand and absorb the essence of the data that you share?

2. Based on your data literacy levels, set goals and objectives. Prioritise the areas where data literacy can make a difference and focus your efforts on them. For each role, detail the skills, capabilities, and data literacy needed.

3. Create a data literacy program for all employees that offer essential tools and training. Make sure that all employees have access to the training and tools they need to achieve the required level of data literacy.

Flexibility is the key to allowing employees to learn data skills and to be able to use data to support business decisions every day.

To ensure your program’s success, include sufficient follow-up measures that track and monitor individual and organisational progress towards data literacy.

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