The idea sounds appealing. Make your organization more data-driven. Use data, also known as facts, to drive decision making and strategy. Organizations that make decisions and measure outcomes based on data are more likely to challenge status-quo and innovate. This kind of innovation is compelling and creates a competitive edge.

Chances are, some of your people are already doing it. Why not everyone?  The reasons will of course vary, but in general we have observed two major inhibitors of data-driven organizations. One challenge is technological. Data analytics may be (or appear to be) out of reach to many employees. Yet, even if this deficit can be addressed, culture may present an obstacle to people adopting a data-driven mindset.

The two issues intersect. A lack of intuitive, accessible analytics technology slows the move toward being data-driven. Lacking technology, the culture shuns data-driven processes. This divergence defines the problem but also shows the way to a solution. It’s at once about technology, culture and the interplay between technology and culture.

What is culture, really? Definitions abound, but answering the following questions exposes the truth about corporate culture: “How do things actually get done at your organization, regardless of the org chart? Why do instructions get followed or ignored?” For example, in a sales-driven culture, a project that appeals to salespeople as a low-risk money maker will get more attention and credibility than one that is more subjective.

What if the subjective idea was actually a better money maker, just one that is harder to see without quantitative proof?  What would it take for the sales-minded people to see the data points underscoring the financial promise of the idea?  To make that happen – to make a sales-driven culture into a data-driven culture –you have to put the analytics into the hands of those very same sales-driven people who dominate the pragmatic decision making in the organization. Then, the water cooler conversations where real work occurs will turn to discussions of data.

The move to a data-driven culture requires a foundational transformation in the way people think as well as changes in infrastructure and the entire relationship between workers and technology specialists. Leaders set the tone, helping drive a shift in attitude where people at all levels get interested in new competencies, technologies and methods. The leaders of the organization need to become champions for a data-driven culture, but it cannot be solely a top-down process.

Everyone has to feel a stake in becoming data-driven. In our advisory role working with organizations that want to move toward a more data-driven culture, we often encounter a perception that data analytics is happening somewhere else. Analysis of data is an “IT department thing” or a matter of “data experts…whoever they are.”  Unfortunately, these perceptions may be based on the truth. In many organizations, analytics is secluded in specialized departments that have access to advanced technology. It doesn’t have to be that way any more.

Transforming your organization to a data-driven culture starts with our hands-on Data-to-Decisions Workshop. They can last from one-day to three-weeks. Our data scientists bring together your IT and LOB leads to help align objectives and identify and shape data analytics use cases that will have the biggest impact on your business. Our big data engineers then perform an assessment of your existing environment and design the infrastructure, application and network infrastructure for optimizing your data across your organization.

CenturyLink is pioneering new approaches to data analytics for everyone and creating pathways to cultural transformation around data. Our managed services, hybrid infrastructure offerings, expertise in SAP HANA and data science come together to put powerful analytics into the hands of anyone who wants it. With our managed services and BDaaS Foundation cloud offering, you can speed your way to deploying analytics on a broad, economical basis. You can give critical analytics access to your cultural influencers. Thus equipped, they can champion a data-driven approach throughout your organization.

Specifically, with CenturyLink, you can deploy SAP workloads up to 4x faster with integrated solutions to expose analytical insights. You can improve deployments, reduce spend and eliminate disruption of migrating to SAP applications or migrating your existing SAP applications to HANA. We are a recognized SAP Gold Partner and a Cisco strategic partner. We are able to accelerate and simplify the management of large-scale SAP applications and advanced analytics initiatives.

Join Us at Sapphire

CenturyLink is a Diamond Sponsor of Sapphire this year in Orlando.  Come to booth #651 and see a demonstration of our comprehensive, integrated solutions for SAP HANA. If you are ready to learn how to use your enterprise data to build your data-driven culture, visit us for one-to-one conversations and customized demos. Or, come hear Vijay Atti, our Practice Lead / Sr. Architect – SAP HANA, BI and Big Data deliver a presentation on May 19.  For more information, or to request a private meeting, please contact us.


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