There’s more and more data created every year. Businesses are generating more and more data every day. Data about their customers, their products, their employees. Business owners are surrounded by data, but they can’t seem to make use of it. Case in point: In the 2019 PwC Annual Global CEO Survey, CEOs voiced how dissatisfied they are with how data is used in their organizations. What’s the way out of this dilemma? Upskill your employees.

The Main Finding: No Progress in a Decade

The PwC survey asked about how important each of nine categories of data were to business owners, and then asked them about how comprehensive that data was. So for example, 95% of CEOs ranked “data about your customers’ preferences” as critical. But just about one-fifth of them responded that they had enough of it, or enough analysis of it. That’s a huge gap!

And as the chart below shows, there’s been no significant movement in the past decade with the exception of one type of data (financial forecasts).

Let that sink in for a minute. Even with the explosion of data that we’ve seen in the past decade, CEOs still report that they’re not able to get the data they need.

What’s more, the gap for the category CEOs named the most important of all (Customer Preferences and Needs) has actually widened in the past decade.

The past decade hasn't seen any improvement in businesses using data.  One quick way to start taking advantage of your data is to upskill your employees. dilemma is to upskill your team.
Source: PwC 22nd Global Annual CEO Survey, Exhibit 12.

Financial Data saw an increase in its comprehensiveness and usage since 2009. And that makes good business sense, since the bottom line is an organization’s ultimate metric. But other categories that the survey asked about are just as important, and they decreased over the past decade. Take Brand and Reputation, for example. It ranked as one of the top five important categories, but its comprehensiveness figures dropped since 2009.

Upskill Your Way Out

What’s the cause of this? The lack of analytical talent in their organizations was the most-often cited reason. And unfortunately there’s no silver bullet solution to this. You can’t just hire more specialized data scientists, because that’s not addressing the underlying problem.

Because in today’s organizations, analytics is part of everyone’s job. Employees across every functional area, and at every level, are being called upon to work with data on a regular basis. Analytics is no longer the bailiwick of a highly-specialized data science team. So why are they the only ones with analytical skills?

Analytics is no longer the bailiwick of a highly-specialized data science team. So why are they the only ones with analytical skills?

Now, not every employee needs to be able to build machine learning algorithms. But every employee does need to know how to critically look at data and trends. Every employee should be able to look at forecasts or projections and be able to interpret how it applies to the question at hand.

3 Tips To Get Started Today

Just because the respondents in this survey are global CEOs doesn’t mean that these findings are only applicable to large organizations. In my conversations with business owners here in New Hampshire, I’m hearing the same frustration. The amount of data available to them has grown exponentially, but their capacity to analyze it and use it for business decisions hasn’t kept pace. In fact, I’m often hearing that the capacity has stagnated, or has been de-prioritized in favor of “more pressing” short-term initiatives. Here are three ways to upskill your team without breaking the bank or buying yet another piece of software.

  1. Broadcast Leadership Support Change management tells us that without the support of leadership, an initiative isn’t likely to succeed. It won’t come as a surprise to you that this change, like most changes, needs leadership’s support to be successful. Make it clear to your team that understanding data is important for everyone, no matter what their job is.
  2. Include In Your Routines Make data and analyzing numbers a part of all your standard procedures. Add a standing item to your weekly team meetings to review your high-priority metrics. When you’re having performance discussions, add in a question about basing decisions on data.
  3. Offer Training Opportunities Make it easy for your team to upskill by offering training. This might look like an on-site training session dedicated to a deep dive into a few key reports. Or it might involve signing up for online courses or micro credentials. I offer courses in data analytics through the University of New Hampshire and NHTI – Concord’s Community College. Both are online, so wherever you or your team is located, you can participate.

Want to hear more ideas about how to upskill your team and start capitalizing on your data?

Schedule a free 30-minute discussion using the scheduling form below. I look forward to connecting!

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