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Qlik and Accenture develop blueprint to data literacy

By Catherine Knowles
Thu 2 Jun 2022

To help organisations advance their journey to enterprise-wide data literacy and increase data-driven decision-making by 58%, Qlik and Accenture have created 'The Seven Principles of Data Literacy: A Blueprint to Accelerate your Business Toward its Data-Driven Future'.

According to the companies, this document is designed to help organisations no matter what stage they are at in their journey to understand the steps needed to help their employees capitalise on the opportunities of a data-led future.

C-level appreciation of data-driven decision making has increased hugely over the past two years. Nearly all global business leaders (90%) say that data has enabled them to better navigate the uncertain business environment created by the pandemic and that it was critical to the success of their organisation in this period (80%).

Consequently, this group now predict that data literacy will be the most in-demand skill by 2030. However, there is a huge gap between expectation and reality when it comes to data literacy skills within organisations.

More than half of company leaders see their workforce as confident in data literacy skills. But the reality is different. Just 11% of employees feel fully confident in this area, resulting in a concerning 46% of employees still frequently making decisions based on gut feel, rather that data-led insight.

Data literacy is essential to building a successful data culture, the companies state. Over nine in ten data literate employees strongly agree that they regularly review and use data to inform their decisions (95%) and a similar number cite that their actions are often triggered by data insights (89%) a 58% and 59% increase when compared to employees that are not fully confident in their data literacy skills.

The blueprint has been launched in collaboration with the Data Literacy Project, an organisation which is on a mission to drive data literacy across society, of which Qlik and Accenture are founding members. It draws on Qlik and Accenture's collective expertise and insights from the Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution Study.

The recommendations go beyond training. The Seven Principles within the blueprint showcase the essential behavioural change needed to reach a state where people confidently, actively and instinctively analyse and question the data that's in front of them and use it to drive decisions on a day-to-day basis, the companies states.

The seven principles to data literacy success include:

  • Foster a culture of humility and curiosity where everyone is confident to question data and insights.
  • Put training into practice by empowering employees to use their skills every day.
  • Be inclusive in offering training to everyone from the intern to the CEO.
  • Focus on outcomes by being clear on the problem you want to solve.
  • Measure the impact on employee satisfaction and engagement in training. And longer term on the ROI on the business.
  • Adopt a systemic perspective that encourages conversation and collaboration between different departments.
  • Invest in technology that meets both the user and your business's needs.

Qlik global head of data literacy Paul Barth says, “Notably, the blueprint does not focus on steps, but on principles, as the journey to data literacy is not linear, it may weave, pause and change direction like all journeys do. But getting started on that journey is what's important.

"Increasing numbers of organisations are moving away from the passive consumption of data and analytics to a more active relationship with data that drives context-rich, real-time insights for more informed decision-making.

"But to make that shift impactful, employees need to have the skills to be able to work with and make smarter decisions with data. And while the journey will look different for everyone, following these seven principles will put leaders on track to building a successful, data-driven organisation.”

Accenture Applied Intelligence Delivery European and UK augmented insights lead David Miller says, “There's no doubt that data literacy is a vital skill for the future. Believing that and putting in the investment, however, are two different things, particularly when it requires cultural and behavioural change alongside upskilling.

"Every organisation has different goals and approaches. But success comes when everyone is empowered to think differently, use data to gain new insights and make smarter decisions, and when a culture of curiosity, intellectual humility and data decision-making becomes part of the fabric of the organisation. At that point, data really does become a language of business that everyone speaks.”

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