Lights and Technology
11 February 2022

Data Literacy, the Key to Data's Future

Have all organizations learned this "language" yet?

By Luís Gonçalves, Data Analytics & AI Director at Noesis
Over the past few years, data has become more and more essential in developing companies' business. This way, it becomes more and more urgent for the corporate world to give meaning to data and find relevance among the "noise" and wealth of data made available by several systems in its technological ecosystem.
Data currently takes center stage, and the recipe for success is directly related to the ability to process, interpret, and extract relevant information.
But then, what does Data Literacy mean?
Data Literacy is, by definition, the ability to access, read, interpret and demonstrate the insights discovered and then act and make decisions based on them. In today's organizational ecosystem, large companies are no longer the only ones with the ability to create large repositories of information, such as data lakes or real-time analytics. Fortunately, these are increasingly democratized concepts made available to organizations, regardless of their sector of activity or size.
With the massification of the cloud, the vast majority of organizations can nowadays have more straightforward and more accessible access to more information. The truth is that this increasing accessibility to data poses a new challenge within companies, the ability to analyze and interpret this data.
Without any doubt, we can say that data is the new language of business, but the question is: have all organizations learned this "language" yet?
Not necessarily.
According to Forrester, 60 to 73% of corporate data is not analyzed, and less than 10% of companies are considered data-centric, which illustrates in a very significant way all the potential that is still not exploited by organizations. On the other hand, the largest companies in the world and those with the highest revenue are data-centric companies, meaning that there is a growing gap between the most sophisticated companies in terms of data analysis and the generality of organizations. 
There is, therefore, great potential for evolution and a considerable effort to be made on the subject of data literacy. This path is also identified in this area's leading trends and forecasts. It is estimated that by 2023, 80% of companies will invest in data literacy.
In this sense, and for organizations to understand the path to take on the subject of analytics and data literacy, they should ask themselves the following questions:

1. Do you trust the data available in your organization? If not, why not?

2. Do you ask the right questions about your data?

3. Do your executives still make decisions based on good feelings and intuition?

4. Do you have a corporate culture where employees from different departments feel comfortable "challenging" executives based on data?
The truth is that organizations today, despite having access to data, do not have a culture in data literacy. In a study conducted by Qlik, it was identified that only 24% of business decision-makers feel comfortable with the effective use of data within their organizations; 32% of C-level executives are classified as data-driven, and finally, despite 92% saying that this data literacy is vital, only 17% feel that they can work with it.
The benefits of leveraging data and interpreting it correctly are evident:
1. faster and more accessible information
With the correct use of data, the organization has access to all kinds of information immediately and in real-time.
2. Better decision-making capacity
By including more information based on the available data, the decision-making process will be more supported by facts and less intuitive, providing better decisions...and better results.
3. Competitive Advantage
The correct use of data adds a competitive advantage in that the decision-making process is faster compared to the competition.
4. Greater employee engagement
By being available to all employees and different functional areas of the company, data may provide greater engagement among them, greater knowledge of the business, and, consequently, better organizational results.
In short, Data Literacy will be determinant in the future and success of organizations. Currently, it is no longer enough to have data and the installed capacity to extract, process, and make it available. It is necessary to go beyond technology and foster an authentic data-centric culture, empowering teams to interpret all the collected and available information. It is essential to assume that, at this moment, we live in a context of data illiteracy, a scenario that urgently needs to change. The way forward is to provide knowledge and empower your human resources. Data can no longer be exclusive to IT departments but rather something accessible to the entire organization.
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