Today’s data-driven world opens up myriad opportunities for businesses and individuals. There is perhaps no other time in history when data has been so readily available and accessible as it is today. There are numerous data collection platforms, from smartphones to social media to wearable devices. Furthermore, the explosive growth of big data has led to an increased need for data scientists and developers who can effectively manage large datasets. However, while the demand for analytical skills continues to grow, research shows that adults lack fundamental data literacy skills—especially among adults with a high school diploma or less education. There is a clear opportunity for businesses to leverage accessible resources to teach their employees how to read, analyse, and understand data responsibly to drive tremendous success in the future.
What is Data Literacy?
Data literacy is finding, managing, and analysing data effectively to make informed decisions. It can be applied to all types of data, from structured data, such as numbers and dates, to unstructured data, like images and videos. Data can come from various sources, such as computer programs, surveys, sensors, and user-generated content. Data literacy is critical to organisations across industries. Still, it is especially relevant in sectors that rely heavily on data-driven decision-making, including healthcare, marketing, and education. Many people may be surprised to learn that becoming data literate doesn’t necessarily mean having extensive knowledge about data science and analytics. Data literacy can be broken down into three main components: managing, understanding, and interpreting data (We will discuss this in the future).
Baedekers: Helping businesses navigate the data landscape
A lack of data literacy can hinder companies from making the most of their data assets, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A data literacy program can help businesses understand their data landscape, improve the quality of their data, and ultimately use their data to make better business decisions. By assisting employees in gaining a better understanding of their organisation’s data, data literacy initiatives can facilitate a more efficient and effective data management process. This means that companies will be able to collect and analyse data and store and protect their data more effectively, ultimately making their data assets more valuable.
Mentors: Helping employees develop their own data literacy skills
Beyond helping companies effectively manage their data, data literacy programs can also be used to help employees develop their data literacy skills. This can be done by equipping employees with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to collect, analyse, and interpret data responsibly and reliably. To effectively do this, businesses will first need to gain a better understanding of the data literacy skills that their employees lack. Data literacy skill assessments can be a helpful resource for this. Once businesses have identified the skills their employees need to develop, they can incorporate data literacy training into their onboarding and training programs. Data literacy training can be done in person or through online courses. When in-person training is used, it’s vital to incorporate a hands-on approach that helps employees apply their new skills to real-world scenarios.
Detectives: Finding value in the data you have
Many businesses have a wealth of data they aren’t even aware of collecting. For example, many retailers collect data on their customer’s shopping habits. Still, they don’t know how to make sense of it. With abundant data, businesses need to understand how to identify the most valuable data efficiently and how to use that data to make better decisions. With the help of an internal data literacy team, businesses can identify their most valuable data assets to determine which data to analyse and which not to explore. For example, suppose a retail company wants to understand their customers to make better decisions. In that case, they can collect data on customers’ demographics, shopping habits, and buying preferences. However, to identify which data is most valuable for their business, they must first determine the specific questions they want to answer.
Scholars: Using advanced analytics to make sense of your data
After businesses have determined the data that’s most valuable to their business, they need to determine how they will analyse it. The possibilities are endless regarding the types of analysis businesses should conduct. However, companies must first understand which advanced analytics tools are most appropriate for their data. Fortunately, many online tools can help enterprises to navigate the data analytics landscape, especially when it comes to identifying the right analytical tools for their data. These tools can specify your data, how it’s structured, and what you can do with it, which will help you make sense of your data and drive better business decisions.
Data literacy is critical to success in today’s data-driven world. It can help businesses effectively manage their data, identify the most valuable data for their organisation, and make sense of their data through advanced analytics. With the help of a data literacy initiative, businesses are better equipped to make data-driven decisions that drive tremendous success.