Data Literacy Is Key For Everyone – Especially For Leaders

Since we live in a world driven by data, organizations desperately need to leverage it in order to make informed decisions. To achieve this, it’s necessary to adopt an adequate posture and have a transversal vision that allows companies to take advantage of the enormous potential of that data.

Most organizations manage an enormous amount of data, and many gather it for business purposes. But collecting data is different from understanding it. In fact, many teams are held back by a lack of data literacy, and digital transformation initiatives across the company are stalled because companies don’t know what to do with the data they collect.

Data Literacy Importance Leaders Header Image


The Data Backing This Up Is Shocking

Qlik says, “Despite 92% of business decision-makers believing it’s important for their employees to be data literate, only 17% report that their business significantly encourages employees to become more confident with data.”

Additionally, a recent study by Tableau found that more than 2,000 leaders from 10 countries think that data literacy is the #1 skill needed to be successful. It also states that by 2025, it’s expected that 70% of employees will extensively utilize data in their work.

So, what’s happening here? Why is data literacy being neglected even when companies see it as a critical asset? And what can you do about it? Read on to find the answers!

What Is Data Literacy?

Data Literacy represents reading, working with, analyzing, visually representing, and discussing data. It focuses on the skills needed in working with data, such as asking the right questions, building knowledge, making decisions, and communicating data meaning to others. These skills include critical thinking, which is used to make decisions involving data and explain its value to others.

Central to this definition is a recent scientific paper published by MIT. In the paper, they point out the following four distinctions when defining data literacy concepts:

Read Data

It means understanding what data is and how it represents different aspects of the world.

Work With Data

It includes creating, acquiring, cleaning, and managing data.

Analyze Data

It involves filtering, sorting, aggregating, comparing, and performing other analytic operations on the data.

Argue With Data

It means using data to tell a story to a particular audience.

This document also emphasizes the conflicts to overcome in order to achieve a more significant improvement in data literacy: lack of transparency, extractive collection, technological complexity, and lack of impact control. Furthermore, there are three exciting concepts to consider for a more intensive stage of data literacy.

  • Identify when and where data is being collected.
  • Understand the algorithmic manipulations performed on large data sets to identify patterns.
  • Weighing the real and potential implications of data-driven decisions in your business.

Over the past few years, this concept has begun to resonate more strongly in organizations because companies with a well-established corporate data culture have demonstrated a 5% higher business value. This is related to the certainties of making data-driven or data-supported business decisions.

Why Is Data Literacy Important?

Understanding and using a large amount of data companies process, especially those going through a digital transformation, is one of the essential skills for dealing with the current digital complexity.

Many people don’t know that we are currently in the Zettabyte Era. This means that 97 zettabytes (97 billion terabytes) of information have been produced this year, and it’s expected that by 2025 this number will double. This means that we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day, which is growing due to the increasing use of IoT devices.

In addition, about 5.5 billion people use the Internet daily, which means that:

  • Seven million blog posts were written today.
  • 707 million tweets were sent today.
  • 1 billion emails were sent today.
  • 95 billion searches were processed by Google today.

In today’s data-driven world, and even more so in the future, leaders must have an advanced understanding of data or data literacy. This will increase their chances of adaptability and success within their companies.

How To Start A Data Literacy Process In Your Company?

Organizations can make smarter, data-driven business decisions thanks to the digital transformation of industries. That’s why you’re hearing the phrase “you can’t improve what you don’t measure” more often. To make this happen, you need a team that is empowered from the bottom to the top, from the CEO to the last employee.

These are the keys to success in a data literacy training process:

Leaders Must Lead

Since leaders of an organization are the ones who guide and motivate their workers, they must be the ones who become data literate first and then create an environment that thinks and acts with a data-centric approach.

Evaluate Your Company’s Data Literacy

Before training the teams, it’s essential to know the company’s data literacy level and what kind of knowledge the employees have. When a digital transformation is happening, this type of analysis is usually focused on managing new sources of data creation, but this is the wrong approach.

Testing and training the organization’s members in the most needed areas is also necessary for these changes to be successful.

Set Realistic Goals

Training employees of all levels to become data literate will take time, which is often a continuous process. So, setting specific goals, targets, and KPIs is critical to understanding and supporting progress.

When setting goals, it’s essential to ensure that the organization uses best practices for managing and centralizing data. If this doesn’t happen, there is a risk that data will be spread out across departments with no single place to bring it all together. This is why you should seek professional help to better define your goals.

Establish And Adhere To A Clear Data Literacy Strategy

Lastly, but as indispensable as the rest, managers should make a training plan that includes different types of educational content, such as seminars, group classes, quizzes, online courses, and games.

In these educational situations, it’s important to consider how different people learn. Data literacy training should allow all types of learners to feel comfortable and get the skills they need in an environment that encourages them to do their best.

Data Literacy As A Way To Boost Your Business

The process of developing data literacy is ongoing and iterative. Leaders must embrace new technologies and ensure that all employees are proficient in using them and communicating their results.

Doing this ensures that the company doesn’t lag and is able to take advantage of the latest technologies to become more efficient, profitable, and ahead of the curve.

Data Literacy Importance Leaders Article Image


If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.