5 Ways to Foster Data Literacy Across the Organization

352 billion dollars: that’s how much businesses worldwide spent on enterprise software in 2017. This number is expected to rise to over 400 billion by 2019. These numbers indicate the growing demand for intelligence software among businesses of all sizes.

This is especially true for marketing and product professionals. Keeping track of how customers are interacting with their brands, and how long products are taking to catch on with audiences traditionally requires data teams to conduct lengthy analysis. But with the right software selection, marketing and product teams can make their processes more efficient, and increase revenues by acting on insightful analysis.

Still, for these technologies to be useful, leaders have to ensure that their employees have the sufficient resources to learn them. Without the proper training and preparation for the new software, it will be challenging to use the technology to create new marketing strategies and tighten up product development cycles. It’s important to build in time for your employees to become literate in these technologies — it will not only make their job easier, but it will put the company in a position to excel. So, here are five ways to foster data literacy across the organization.

1. Foster Understanding Beyond the Purchase

Business leaders have to understand that just buying business intelligence software for marketing or product development does not mean they will know how to use it. Many non-technical business staffers — like marketers and product managers — may have never interacted with this type of technology before. This is why it is important to create a software implementation plan prior to the purchase that will help you do the following:

  • Explain the business need the software is meant to solve
  • Work with IT to correctly configure all the features to the company
  • Develop a training program
  • Plan to seamlessly transition from the old system to the new one
  • Establish a “go live” date
  • Track and measure the efficiencies of the new software

For data literacy to be successful, you have to have a plan for how you are going to introduce employees to the new software selection in a way that is compassionate to their concerns while also giving them a reasonable amount of time to get used to it before launch.

2. Make a Plan for Introduction

Before you even unveil the software to the employees, help your employees understand the need for this new tool by walking through the pain points it will alleviate. Involving employees in the “why,” will help them understand the reason this change is necessary. This step will make it easier for them to accept the challenge of learning something new. Explaining the business need gives employees a sense of purpose, and a reason to engage with the new software.

Share data that reveals where the current system is lacking. Then, show how a new software system can make your employees’ work more efficient on an individual level. Can this new software help marketers create more targeted personas? Can it provide more insight into a potential product lifecycle outcome? Will it make product development and marketing collaboration seamless? These — and similar questions —  are ones you should focus on answering when figuring out how to share information about a new marketing or product development software system.

3. Make Sample Dashboards

Marketing and product development are all about strategy, and you should pay attention to ways a new software choice can bring new insights to these departments. Give your employees something tangible that they can work with to become comfortable with the software. A new dashboard should give these employees a chance to see how they can track KPIs, understand product market share, monitor lead times, discover revenues, and track engagement and attribution.

Find out what previous software features these employees used on a day-to-day basis to accomplish their tasks, and be sure to include these on the dashboard. Creating a sample dashboard view for employees will allow them to provide you with feedback on the software itself and clue you in on any additional needs.

4. Use the Data They Need for Success

Much like the previous entry, it is essential you sit down with your marketing and product employees to see what data they need prior to purchasing a new software stack. You can buy the most robust software available, but if it cannot clearly provide the data that your workers need to do their jobs, then their willingness to learn it — and the return for your business — will be diminished.

Marketers live and breathe metrics like conversion rates, source tracking, demographic trends, and content engagement. Product managers need information related to R&D budgets, engineering cycle time, product costs, and time-to-market. New software should address these data points. Look into the existing marketing automation, CRM, or project management tools the teams use to do their jobs, and ensure that your BI solution will integrate and pull data directly. If they don’t, you may need to keep shopping for a better-fit solution or look into changing the team’s primary tools to create a more cohesive stack. You can find recommendations for marketing automation, CRM, and project management software that fit your BI integration and data needs here.

5. Invest in Ongoing Education

Education should not stop once your employees begin using the new software. Be sure to provide opportunities for continued learning and development. These are elements to include in an ongoing education and training plan:

  • Establish team leaders in marketing and product development departments who are available to answer foundational questions regarding the new software.
  • Hold weekly or monthly Q&A sessions for employees to make more advanced inquiries.
  • Invite sales representatives from the company to hold interactive training and demos for existing and soon-to-come software features.
  • Send weekly and monthly surveys to gain insight into areas where employees may need more instruction or training.

Always provide as many opportunities as possible for workers to have hands-on training with new software. This step should occur before, during, and after the official roll-out.

Final Thoughts

Change is never easy, especially when it comes to the workplace. Promoting data literacy and encouraging employees to use a new software tool is challenging to say the least. Data-heavy departments like marketing and product need software solutions that are straightforward and provide all the data they need to spur revenue growth. To get the most out of these tools, focus on providing a strong introduction to new software that informs your employees of the need and a robust training program. This approach will make it much easier to facilitate data literacy among these groups.

Sources:
10 Important Steps To Manage Through A New Software Implementation, http://kyozou.com/10-important-steps-manage-new-software-implementation
Enterprise Software Spending Expected to Reach $391 Billion in 2018, https://complexdiscovery.com/2018/04/10/gartner-says-global-it-spending-to-grow-in-2018/
How to successfully implement new software in your business, https://www.vaultintel.com/blog/how-to-successfully-implement-new-software-in-your-business