Blogs   News   Resources  
 

The Comma Reading List: Lessons in Data Literacy

As Gartner said, “over the next two years, data literacy will become essential to driving business value through data”. So, how should an organisation utilise data literacy to achieve a data-driven future?

‘Data literacy’ is a hot topic in the data world at the moment, as data leads look to create a culture where the value of digital information is understood across the entire organisation. In Gartner’s words, data literacy is “the ability to understand, share common knowledge of and have meaningful conversations about data”.

Which sounds great, but…does it really matter? Do businesses really need to create this kind of data democracy, where everyone shares the same foundational knowledge of data and can use it to achieve commercial goals, make decisions and enact change?

In short, yes. If you want to extract commercial value from data in an increasingly competitive market – where data alone is, let’s face it, no longer a differentiator – then you need to adopt a data-first culture, where every action is influenced by relevant, reliable data. And to do that, you need to make sure that your company is data literate.

Here’s why.

Blog image 1 1

Understanding the importance of data literacy

Have you ever been to a library where the books are organised by colour? Or height? Or the zodiac sign of the author?

Of course not. We all know, roughly, how a library works: books are categorised, sub categorised and stacked in a way that makes finding the information inside them a simple process.

You want the latest Lee Child? It’s there under C in fiction. Need a recipe for lasagne? You know you can find it in cookery.

Thousands of books. Hundreds of categories. All watched over by a librarian, with a clearly delineated set of rules to make sure every book has its place and can easily be found by whoever needs it. When a book is used, it gets put back where it belongs. When a new book comes in, it gets slotted into its rightful place. And everyone who uses the library has some contextual understanding of what that library is, and what’s it’s for, to keep it ticking along in an orderly fashion.

Now imagine a library without a librarian, without a set of rules, and without people who know how to use it.

This library is used by hundreds of people every day, but they all have their own agenda, and no knowledge of how a library is supposed to work. They come in and take what they need. They bring in new books and leave them where they think they should go. Why not put a fiction book in the non-fiction aisle? Why shouldn’t the art books be grouped by colour? Why not section off a few shelves so that only a select few people can access them, if they are the people who use those books every day?

Pretty soon, that library is going to become unusable, and all of the valuable information it contains lost to those who need it.

Blog image 3 1
Blog image 5 1

The role of data literacy in your data culture

An organisation without data literacy is that second library. From conflicting data interests, to data siloes, to missing or incomplete information, a lack of data literacy prohibits full organisational data adoption – rendering the idea of a ‘data first’ culture a pipedream. When it comes to extracting value from data, businesses without data literacy are restricted, with CDOs needing to fight a constant battle to push the data agenda across the business, as opposed to supporting every department to use it effectively.

According to Gartner, poor data literacy is the second-biggest internal roadblock to CDO’s success. It’s the difference between an organisation that utilises, values and respects data at every level, and one that, well, doesn’t.

Gartner also say that, by 2023, data literacy will become essential in driving business value which is demonstrated by its formal inclusion in over 80% of data and analytics strategies and change management programs.

So what can CDOs do about it? How can they transform their organisation’s approach to data and make data literacy a cornerstone of their corporate identity?

The clue is in the name. The first step to developing data literacy is to find the right literature to support it.

The right literature to support data literacy

When it comes to a normal, everyday library, we know where we need to go to find specific, useful information – like that lasagne recipe, or a travel guide to Cuba. But when it comes to data, it can be difficult to find the books that contain the information you need. As a data professional, you already know there are tons of data books out there, and you’ve probably read your fair share of them. But which ones are right for your organisation right now? Or can support your team through the specific data initiative you are trying to launch?

That’s where you need a librarian who can help you locate useful information: which is where Comma come in. Our team of experts have been there, read the books and bought the proverbial t-shirt: and are now available to help CDOs to identify the literature they need, and support them throughout their data management projects.

Here, we’ve rounded up the Comma team’s top five books that can help CDOs tackle specific data issues in their organisation and develop data literacy across their business.

To see our literary recommendations, download the Comma reading list here – for suggestions on everything from fixing data governance to bringing ISO standards to life.

Download the Comma Reading List

In our guide you’ll find our top 6 books to help CDOs, CTOs and CIOs create a data culture through data literacy. Make sure that as a data leader, you’re sharing your knowledge and taking the right approach to data literacy for your organisation’s needs.

Download Reading List