Every organization today needs to develop a data culture, one that would pervade the whole of the organization and touch every single member within the organizational set-up. This is because we are living in a world where organizations are basically data-driven. Hence there is an absolute need to develop a data culture, with focus on people as well as the processes involved.

Everyone who is associated with an organization, from the CDO to data owners, data process owners and users need to be involved in developing and retaining a data culture within an organization.

So, where do we begin? Agreed that this is a challenging job, with total involvement and demanding great amounts of calculated and continuous effort from everyone.

To begin with, it would be best to bestow the responsibility upon someone at the top, preferably the CEO or the CDO. Then, there is the need to work out a proper hierarchy, which would be possible only when the top executives involved take into account the personal skills of their people and then accordingly assign them titles, roles and responsibilities. Don’t forget, you can build up and retain a data culture only by working it all out in a collaborative manner. The collaborative mindset is what counts the most.

So, assigning titles, roles and responsibilities is what needs to happen first. What next?

Now comes the principles; every organization must have data governance principles and those involved, especially those in charge of it should see that such principles are strictly adhered to, without even the slightest kind of lapse. The data governance principles should bring together people as well as processes and must blend it all with technology as well.

It’s only when you have proper data governing principles that there would be a proper, collaborative data culture, which would focus on securing data quality as well as compliance requirements. The thrust should be on increasing the general data awareness within the organization. For this there are certain things that need to be covered, with all meticulousness. Those at the top, the CDO and others who are in charge of the affairs regarding data culture, must take proper care of aspects like accountability (appointing people who would have responsibilities as well as access to data), data security (pertaining to the organizational data as well as users’ data), risk management, data quality (focus on the richness, accuracy and consistency of data), proper tracking of data and data-flow, and finally the deletion of data that’s out of use or illegally stored.

The next step, which is a decisive one, is doing away with the siloed data culture. It needs to be remembered that a typically siloed data culture could result in various versions of the same data records being there, consequently causing data to become outdated and inconsistent. This could also have a negative impact upon the accountability of people involved and cause issues with internal processes as well. Customer experiences too might be impacted and there could be internal conflicts as well. Hence, there is the need to unlock data from its silos and do away with all kinds of organizational (and technical) barriers. There should be a free flow of data within the organization and it’s should be properly organized and connected. Do away with all kinds of technical and organizational silos and make it all transparent within the organization. So, always go for a silo-free environment as regards data and make it completely transparent and collaborative.

The most important part of working out a data culture comes next; this involves creating and ensuring data literacy, educating and training those involved, introducing and implementing best data practices, ensuring proper participation and thus ensuring a total and proper implementation of the data culture that the organization needs. The CDO or those who oversee the affairs must look to it that these things are worked out well and there are no skill gaps. It should be ensured that there is proper data literacy; hence there should be well-planned moves to educate all those who are involved in the processing and management of data. There should also be plans to ensure that every single individual within the organization is educated and trained well about all aspects of data management and data culture. Data campaigns need to be launched and there could be camps that focus on proper data training given to all staff members. All members within an organization should be brought on board as regards having a good, well-organized data culture.

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