Data-Driven does NOT Require a System and Skills, so What?

The web is full of statistics about the importance of data and how data-driven companies perform better. For example, businesses that rely on data management tools to make decisions are 58% more likely to beat their revenue goals than non-data-driven companies, according to a Forrester Consulting survey of 900 global business leaders.

If you decided to be data-driven, what does that mean? Buying software? Training the staff for data analysis skills? Hire new talents? Researches show that data initiatives in companies still struggling.

What’s at the root of this slow progress? For the fifth consecutive year, a study about executives reports that cultural challenges — not technological ones — represent the biggest impediment around data initiatives. In the 2021 survey, 92.2% of mainstream companies report that they continue to struggle with cultural challenges. This represents an increase from an already high percentage of 80.9% of firms that named cultural challenges as the greatest impediment to success just four years ago.

In his recent Harvard Business Review article, “10 Steps to Creating a Data-Driven Culture,” David Waller writes, “The business obstacles to creating data-based businesses aren’t technical; they’re cultural.” Waller thinks that data-driven culture starts at the very top level. But I disagree with Waller, the top-level make decision, that’s true, but they don’t make a change, and cannot guarantee change.

In 2014, IBM reported that “over 95% of all [security] incidents investigated recognize ‘human error’ as a contributing factor”. So, change is not in systems and tools, rather change starts within individuals, the smallest cell of the company, and absolutely the most complex!

So, again, people, people, and people are the start and key solution for any change. You need to change the mindset first, for the short and long-term, and here are my suggestions of changing mindset toward data, for the current phase (tactical), and long-term (individual behavior).

Tactical tips to change mindset:

  • Evidence: use evidence to convince why we integrate data, tell numbers and facts about the correlation between using data and
  • Engage: you need to engage all stakeholders in the decision-making from the beginning.
  • Delivering: the way you show up the change and the importance of data is important, it is like pitching a new project to sell it for investors.
  • Ecosystem: look at the change in a more holistic way, don’t buy data software, and expect it will work smoothly. Think of it as a set of decisions, such as training, new hiring, assigning new internal communication workflow, etc.
  • Quick win: you need to show the importance of data through an example, it is best to make that example from your company, if not, look for an external case.

This is regarding the short-term tactic of changing mindset, but actually, the data-driven mindset should be a daily behavior of each individual. That means each person read information and insights before any strategic decision in his/her personal life. That is the data-driven life, READ!

Tactical Tips to Change Mindset Toward Data


This article is authored by Human Centered Data LLC
All rights reserved © 2021


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  • How to cite this article to your research: Human Centered-Data Co. (2021). Data-Driven does NOT Require a System and Skills, so What? Retrieved from
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