Monday, October 2, 2023

Data Literacy: Biggest Barriers and Ways to Overcome Them

By Nikhil Sonawane - July 17, 2023 6 Mins Read

Data Literacy: Biggest Barriers and Ways to Overcome Them

Businesses are exploring opportunities to embrace data-driven programs throughout the organization.

CDOs must align people, processes, technology, and data to keep their organization on track. Since data is the most important asset, they must also ensure best possible data literacy across the organization.

These steps are crucial to making informed decisions and leverage the power of data. This exercise is essential for organizations to get a competitive edge.

Data Literacy

Data Literacy

The capability to read, write, evaluate, understand, and communicate data in context is data literacy. A data-literate has an in-depth understanding of the data sources and structures.

A data-literate also understands the analytical methods used to determine the business value.

Enterprises that want to make more data-driven decisions must train their resources on use of data for business. They must also know the analytics processes and tools, to get the best insights form this data.

Employees with skills to interpret and use data to understand the business value in context are data literate. Today’s businesses must focus on developing a data-literate workforce to make the most out of the data gathered.

Biggest Barriers to Data Literacy

Data has become the most valuable resource of the 21st century. Still, many organizations are struggling to achieve higher data literacy rates. Businesses have a huge gap in their organization’s data literacy, and this restricts the paths to the organization’s success.

Following are a few bottlenecks that companies face in achieving data literacy:

  • Culture

One significant challenge in achieving higher data literacy rates is culture. In many organizations, stakeholders put the entire ownership of data literacy on their resources. They do not try to work with it at all. Business data decision-makers need to practice what they preach.

Leaders need to be digitally literate too, and use data insight for new product pitches and for making data-driven decisions. Employees in such organizations will be motivated to work with data, along with the leadership. So, the onus is on the leadership to adopt a data-first approach and create a culture of data literacy.

Embracing a data-first strategy needs effective change management too. This willingness to change should come from the senior ranks, down to all team members. Without with, the entire data literacy strategy would fall apart.

Knowing how best to use data, so it gives an advantage to the business plan, is a skill that is not very common. This becomes a significant barrier to adopting it. In addition, without clear knowledge of ‘why should we use data”, employees will resist any change.

If they do not see the purpose or benefits, it will be a waste of time, in their opinion.

So, in many organizations, the fear of change prevents them from achieving data literacy. A few business leaders resist change, considering the complexity of data, but this creates a general negative thought about being data literate.

Teams need to realize that not everyone is expected to have the capabilities of a data scientist. Even if a few resources interpret the data or the information passed due to their training in data literacy, it will help the company.

The decision-makers must have clear interactions with resources, to explain this. Once acceptance comes, businesses can educate the resources to read, evaluate and understand data based on the organization’s needs.

  • Data Literacy – Priority and Stages

Another significant bottleneck to data literacy is its prioritization. Business leaders keep other tasks as a top priority instead of focusing on data literacy. This approach also slows down the organization’s data literacy journey.

A few enterprises still focus on gathering data instead of training resources to use it. At the same time, other businesses are still trying to explore what tools they need to integrate to improve data literacy. They get an upper hand in the market. This will be the loss if leaders don’t prioritize use of data.

Businesses can use various tools to review, consume and manipulate data to get valuable insights. Decision-makers must design and implement data literacy in phases, to ensure success.

Here are some tips to help you enhance data literacy within your team:

Best strategies to achieve data literacy 

  • Lead by example

CIOs should continuously learn and stay updated with data-related tools and technologies. Driving data literacy throughout the organization by encouraging the workforce to do the same is crucial.

  • Create a data-driven culture

Foster a culture that values data and encourages its use in decision-making processes. Promote the objective that data is everyone’s responsibility. CIOs need to emphasize their role in achieving business objectives.

  • Offer training and education:

Invest in training programs and workshops that focus on data literacy. Give employees opportunities to learn data analysis techniques, tools, and best practices. Tailor the training to different skill levels and job roles within the organization.

  • Promote data storytelling

Empower employees to communicate insights effectively through data storytelling. Help them understand how to frame a narrative around data. Please encourage them to present findings compellingly. It is an effective way to connect data-driven insights to business goals.

  • Evaluate and celebrate success

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the progress of data literacy initiatives. Regularly assess the impact of data literacy efforts and celebrate success stories. Recognize and reward individuals that demonstrate exceptional data literacy skills. Identify the teams that have the most contribution to data-driven outcomes.

  • Democratize data

Ensure that employees have access to relevant and reliable data resources. This includes data repositories, data catalogs, and data documentation. Centralize data sources to streamline access. CIOs should make it easier for employees to utilize the needed data without compromising security.

  • Establish stringent data governance policies

IT decision-makers need to design and implement a robust data governance framework. It should outline clear roles, responsibilities, and processes for data management. Defining data ownership, quality standards, and access controls would be a part of this framework. Data governance ensures that data is correct, consistent, and reliable.

  • Integrate data visualization tools in the data tech stack

Provide user-friendly data visualization tools that enable employees to explore data. The best data visualization tools will help resources create their visualizations. Various top tools can help individuals understand data patterns and insights.

Also Read: The Changing Value of Data and How Enterprises Can Improve Data Literacy

  • Encourage data collaboration

Decision-makers can facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing among teams. Businesses can create platforms for employees to discuss their data-related experiences and challenges. Encourage cross-functional collaboration to foster a holistic understanding of data across departments.

  • Identify data geeks

Identify individuals within the organization who are passionate about data. Assign to them the responsibility of driving data literacy. Designate them as data geeks. These resources can act as advocates for data literacy. They can assist in data training initiatives & support others in using data effectively.

By implementing these strategies, CIOs can improve data literacy within their organization. Empower employees to make more informed decisions based on data.

Check Out The New Enterprisetalk Podcast. For more such updates follow us on Google News Enterprisetalk News.


Nikhil Sonawane

Nikhil Sonawane is a Tech Journalist with OnDot Media. He has 4+ years of technical expertise in drafting content strategies for Blockchain, Supply Chain Management, Artificial Intelligence, and IoT. His Commitment to ongoing learning and improvement helps him to deliver thought-provoking insights and analysis on complex technologies and tools that are revolutionizing modern enterprises. He brings his eye for editorial detail and keen sense of language skills to every article he writes. If he is not working, he will be found on treks, walking in forests, or swimming in the ocean.

Subscribe To Newsletter

*By clicking on the Submit button, you are agreeing with the Privacy Policy with Enterprise Talks.*