Beat the data paradox: How to create a data-centered culture

It's not enough to invest in technology to get the most out of your data. Here's how to make sure your people and processes are on point, too.

The phrase “too much of a good thing” applies to almost every case, from ice cream to sunshine to puppies. And it certainly applies to the most valuable asset most businesses possess: Data.

Businesses are awash in data, swimming in the stuff, frequently drowning — but unable to analyze it to generate insights or spark innovation. More data is less useful: That’s the data paradox.

While it may seem like an intimidating challenge to face, the data paradox isn’t insurmountable. Just as fast as new data streams are developed, there are new ways to parse and process that data. The technology exists to help businesses get a handle on their data streams and make the best use of what they’re collecting.

So, what’s the missing piece? Why are businesses still drowning in data?

Often, it’s because the human factor hasn’t been addressed. A culture of active, positive data management within an organization will destroy the data paradox. You can learn more in our guide: “Beating the Data Paradox: No Mission is Impossible”.

Here’s how to get started.

Lead the fight

Strong leadership is central to defeating the data paradox. The folks at the top set the tone for how the whole organization relates to and interacts with data, so they must actively enable a company-wide culture of proper data handling. Data is everyone’s responsibility, and when top company leaders – including those who aren’t in the information sector – speak positively about data management, it encourages even the most hesitant employee to step up their data literacy.

Beyond doing the hype work for data literacy, the chief information officer needs to oversee the flow of data in a way that it doesn’t get bottlenecked. This is where clear communication and strong digital pathways between departments are vital.

So long, silos

Silos have long been an obstacle to business success. Unfortunately, the very nature of divisionally structured organizations often leads to the formation of silos – especially when it comes to data sharing.

Data must be allowed to securely flow throughout an organization. When a data flow pours right into one of these silos, the data paradox is fed, and the whole organization suffers. The right strategy can help knock down silos and let data flow (securely) throughout the organization to where it’s needed.

Keep your 1s and 0s clean

An organization that has established a culture of free-flowing data and open channels of communication has the potential for greatness – and catastrophe, if the data isn’t handled with care. Every member of your organization should be educated in digital literacy and data hygiene.

For most employees, this simply means a lesson in the basics. When individuals company-wide are able to do a bit of maintenance on the data that comes in through their channels, it cuts down on the work of others who handle the data downstream.

Human labor has value

There is a great deal of wasted potential in a data team that is bogged down with a repetitive cycle of menial tasks. The brilliance and ingenuity of your teams can only shine if they are empowered to work on those high-value tasks that truly benefit the business.

Intelligent automation for ordinary tasks is key to unlocking your data team’s full potential. Minds that aren’t laboring over the mundane are free to process bigger problems, creatively propose new uses for data, and quickly resolve big issues that might come along.

From data paradox to data paradise

Defeating the data paradox begins with establishing a culture within your business that recognizes the human side of data management. With a few purposeful changes to the way your whole team interfaces with data, you will soon find that your business has gone from drowning in the flood of data to soaking in a sea of high-value information. Want to dive deeper into defeating the data paradox? Review our guide “Beating the Data Paradox: No Mission is Impossible” to give you more insight into how your business can win this battle.