Gartner: Measure and communicate the value of data literacy

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data literacy

Data literacy is a top critical enabler of business and leadership success. However, organizations often encounter challenges when attempting to implement data literacy programs, leading to initial setbacks. The uncertain business landscape, evolving work dynamics, and rapid advancement of digital technologies are causing skill gaps that must be addressed by developing new skills within the workforce. Formal data literacy programs, regardless of their size, are essential for Chief Data and Analytics Officers (CDAOs) to achieve the ambitious goals outlined in their D&A strategies.

Gartner predicts, by 2026, the CDAO’s ability to deliver data and AI literacy, culture, and a skilled workforce, will be the top three determining factors in supporting business strategy.

Given the increasing importance of data and analytics in driving business success, it is vital for CDAOs to prioritize the development of a culture centered around continuous learning and change management. In most cases, a skills gap for an employee becomes apparent due to a performance issue or an upcoming change. Employees and their managers require clearer understanding of the expected outcomes during and after data literacy training. This can be achieved if CDAOs cultivate a culture where learning D&A skills and gaining data literacy knowledge are integral to the organization’s values and individual expectations. This approach not only attracts, retains, and motivates employees, but also prepares them to meet the objectives of the department and company. It also equips them with valuable and transferable professional skills.

To measure the impact of data literacy programs, CDAOs must use progress assessments and performance criteria to validate that employees found the training favourable, engaging and relevant to their jobs, and that they acquired the intended knowledge, skills, attitude, confidence and commitment. CDAOs must also ensure that they are tracking measurable business outcomes and effectively communicating the success of data literacy training through evidence.

These outcomes should go beyond simply describing the outputs of a data-literate workforce. Instead, consider factors such as revenue growth, cost reduction, and risk management. CDAOs must develop a portfolio of business outcomes that will ultimately increase the overall value of the enterprise. Additionally, they must ensure that the data literacy initiative has a clear mission or vision that unifies the workforce. Ultimately, establish some form of traceability from the data literacy initiative through the resulting changes in business action to the final measurable outcome, even if the traceability is only correlatory and directional.

Gartner analysts will be discussing best practices for D&A literacy at the Gartner Data & Analytics Summit, taking place April 24-25 in Mumbai, India.

Author: Donna Medeiros, Sr Director Analyst at Gartner

Image credits: Image by freepik

Read next: Gartner: Top data and analytics predictions for 2024

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