Why Data-Driven Thinking Is Important Across Your Organization

Everyone agrees that data has immense value – but for who exactly? Many companies conclude they need to start collecting and leveraging data. data centerThen they assign the job to a small number of scientists and share the insights only with the C-Suite. This approach is understandable, to an extent. It’s also extremely short sighted.

The air of exclusivity around data is giving way to a more democratic understanding. Companies currently using data have quickly realized that if it’s good for some, it’s good for all. Instead of trying to isolate data-driven thinking, these companies are trying to expand it. And they are making it a priority because this skill is important to have throughout an organization, not just at the top. Here are a few examples of why.

Every Decision Has an Empirical Basis

Decision makers at all levels would love to know the outcome of their actions in advance. Instead, they have to rely on guesses, predictions, assumptions, and gut feelings, none of which are really reliable. Data allows for empirical, objective decision making since every choice has a basis in fact. It doesn’t ensure the ideal outcome, but it makes it a lot more likely.

When everyone has business intelligence tools, like those offered by ThoughtSpot, to rely on decision making improves from top to bottom. Leaders at all levels are able to make decisions in less time and with greater certainty. They also spend a lot less time dealing with the fallout from bad decisions. It just makes sense to enable everyone, not just executives, to choose wisely.

Every Team Has the Same Capabilities

There is a growing awareness that innovation is the product of communication and collaboration. In response, companies are moving away from compartmentalized, hierarchical structures and towards something more organic. Teams and departments are expected to work together, sharing information, ideas, and resources as seamlessly as possible.

Integrating their efforts is much easier when everyone relies on data equally. That way, each group has approximately the same tools, resources, and skills. If and when they are called on to work together, there is not a disparity between them. They share the means to work productively and efficiently, which only benefits the organization as a whole.

Every Employee Is Equipped to Evolve

The reason data has been historically limited is because it was incredibly complex and expensive. It simply didn’t make sense for companies to invest massively in something few could use. But now that the cost and complexity have dropped significantly, data is much more broadly accessible. Everyone expects data to be a resource that fuels and focuses tomorrow’s companies.

Reaching the point won’t be easy or automatic. Rather, companies will have to plan early and actively evolve. Otherwise, they risk having an under-skilled workforce that can’t keep up with the competition. Implementing data-driven thinking now, across the enterprise, is a smart way to prepare for the potential of the future.

Every Opportunity Is Understood

If every company knew exactly what to do every company would be a success. The simple fact is that companies often overlook opportunities, ignore innovations, and misunderstand mistakes. Not because they are incompetent or reckless. Simply because they lack visibility and need better insights.

It’s impossible to predict when and where opportunities will arise. That means data-driven tools can’t be applied selectively, they need to be available universally. When everyone has access to data, everyone is equipped to find hidden strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Companies have the broadest perspective possible, which is the only way to uncover everything that is important.

Here is some eye-opening research: A survey of professionals showed that less than 50 percent of companies treat value as an asset, and more than 50 percent base decision primarily on gut feelings. If companies value data-driven thinking they can’t wish for it flourish. Instead, they have to proactively make it a part of the organization. There has never been a better time to get started than now.

About Nate Goodman

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Nathan Goodman is a freelance fiction writer and the author behind The Special Agent Jana Baker Spy-Thriller Series. "A terrorist on the loose, a country in panic, and time is running out..." FOR A FREE COPY of book one, visit the author's website.