Back in October 2021, we introduced the results of the first Profusion UK Data Literacy Benchmarking Study. We surveyed over 300 Business Professionals ranging from CEOs to Senior Managers and saw a mean score of 34% – which included some excellent scores of above 70%.
The low average score should come as little surprise to experienced data leaders and professionals, after all, issues with data literacy are widely recognised as a barrier to the successful datafication of organisations of all types and sizes.
At the same time the last two, pandemic blighted, years have highlighted the critical importance of digital connections and data-informed decision making, data literacy and digital skills are now widely recognised as critical to business agility, competitiveness, resilience and success.
So where is the urgency in addressing this situation? How many organisations have prioritised data literacy for 2022? How many have established training programmes for their teams? How many are working to effectively integrate their data teams with their core business teams?
It can be too easy to assume on the one hand that data literacy is a highly specialised skill set, the domain of mathematicians, statisticians and data scientists, or on the other hand that data literacy comes naturally, especially to younger people, as a result of their digital behaviours.
The reality is that you can see issues with data literacy everywhere you look, whether it is the Cabinet debating new Covid restrictions, trade envoys quoting college students, salespeople grappling with research results, or even debates over the meaning of weather forecasts. As a result, time is wasted, poor decisions are made, and your feet might get wet.
Complementing our own research findings, work by Data IQ in partnership with Multiverse, showed that poor data literacy is a direct cost for organisations today. Their 2021 research paper suggested that 1 in every 11 minutes of UK company time is currently spent on attempting data tasks unproductively. Put another way 8.5% of annual revenues are lost to the data & digital skills gaps.
And that is arguably the tip of the iceberg – these are at least people who are actively engaging with data and attempting (if failing as yet) to make the best use of it. There are other people, often in more senior roles, who are in denial about the role and potential for data use within their organisation.
Such fear-driven denial of the opportunity for data analytics can have a catastrophic impact on the health and future of their organisations. After all not doing anything is a decision, an active choice, it has consequences across the organisation.
Fear manifests itself in different ways. The positive response from business leaders is to recruit the best talent available to establish and lead a data analytics function – and leave them to get on with it. Yet we are increasingly seeing that such an approach only kicks the can down the road – the leaders themselves must have a working knowledge of the data domain in order to evaluate that team.
And that is where the Profusion Data Academy can play a crucial role. Our Executive boot camps are designed to fast track Execs into the world of data. By the end of the course, they won’t be data scientists – but they will be fluent in the most important terms and concepts required for success.
Armed with this knowledge they will then be equipped to tackle the data team on their terms, to ensure that data initiatives and projects are properly aligned to business priorities and strategy, and to enable and support the data teams’ integration with business teams and internal functions.
So, the best resolution you can make for 2022? Make data literacy a leading organisational priority – and check out how the Profusion Data Academy can help to meet your needs!