• Data literacy vital for marketing leaders
  • Data literacy vital for marketing leaders

    Analyst house advises businesses to develop data literacy skills and centres of excellence

    "Business domain experts need to become data literate," says Debra Logan, VP Analyst at Gartner the technology analyst house.  Speaking to technology marketing and business technology leaders on a Gartner Webcast, the data expert outlined how organisations need to develop a data led culture, data education and how to take the journey. 

    "It is a business goal to digitise more and more of the business processes as organisations go through business model transformation," Logan said, adding that transformation and analytics are "tied together".  According to Gartner, analytics is the number one investment category for chief information officers (CIO) as all areas of the business demand greater analysis.  

    The upshot is pressure on technology marketing leaders to secure data skills for their team and the outcomes today's CMO has to achieve. "We have the means to aggregate data and we are moving away from efficiency and cost reduction to monetary data," Logan said of how data is now seen as a way to improve the margin.  

    "We need data literacy skills. Which is a really big challenge that is not going to be easy to fix," the analyst said of how technology marketing leaders will increasingly require skilled data managers in their teams. "You have to look inside your own organisation as there will be people that are already doing some data analysis and doing it well," she said of how to begin finding the data skills.  

    "Because data analytics is relatively new, you can create a centre of excellence, as a virtual organisation. People like something new, a novelty as they are curious and if something is a novelty it will get their attention and then you can offer something they need," Logan said, adding that this can then lead the teaching of the business to ask the questions it needs to ask. 

    Logan said that Gartner research shows that data literacy programmes are really taking off and will continue to do so as a wide range of business communities realise that it is an essential skill of the 21st Century. "Data literacy is a stack of things and most organisations need to learn how to create data visualisation, for example." 

    As data literacy increases within technology marketing teams and the wider organisation Gartner expect to see a data centric culture spread across businesses. "None of this is easy and the data will have to be explained in terms of business value," she said. The analyst said a data centric culture will need to align with the mission statement of the organisation, an important issue as an increasing number of organisations realise the importance of purpose in order to attract and retain the talent they need to remain competitive. "You will need a story that will fire people's imagination," Logan said. 

    Data literacy has particular power for technology marketing leaders and their need to drive revenue channels. Logan advises: "Engage with stakeholders. Talk to the people responsible for customer retention and start with the outcome that you as a business want to achieve." 

    CDO challenge

    "The most successful CDOs are strategic and less tactical. We are beginning to see the CDO have profit and loss responsibilities as it is a new way for the data leader to make a new contribution to the business," Logan said, suggesting perhaps that technology marketing leaders could find themselves working for the CDO instead of reporting to the CEO.  


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    About Mark Chillingworth

    Mark Chillingworth is Contributing Editor to Tech Marketers and one of Europe's leading CIO Editors


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