Fit Data Intelligence into Your Organization's Culture

Fit Data Intelligence into Your Organization's Culture

In this blog post we will discuss the organization culture that will maximize the benefit of data intelligence and data governance at all levels. And that data intelligence needs to be a part of your organization’s culture.

We’re hoping that your current culture consists of the following:

  1. Helping People
  2. Communication and Engagement
  3. Empowerment and Training of Employee
  4. Change and Action



First some definitions. Culture is shared values plus beliefs plus norms plus behavior. Culture happens over time. A norm is how you do things in your organization. Behaviors are beliefs turned into action. Most organizations have a culture of helping and guiding which usually applies to their current staff, clients, prospective clients, and partners.

Now some thoughts on culture and data intelligence (data governance):

  • You need to look at if your organization can execute data intelligence. You do this by looking at your culture.
  • Use data intelligence tools and processes that fit your organization’s (or department’s) culture.
  • Observe what leadership values and rewards. If helping others and improving staff is not a focus then work to fix this first. The key is to spend time focusing on what is important.
  • Organizations that have a clear culture and strategy are more likely to be successful. If your culture is right, the data intelligence initiative will go smoothly.

Let us discuss more about our culture areas:

Helping People
Data intelligence should help people, including those on staff. It is not about control. Most organizations strive for a culture of helping people to make the world a better place. Tie your data intelligence program to helping people (customer service). Use data to understand your current staff, clients, prospective clients and partners. Use data to make informed decisions. Better decisions should save time, lower costs and increase satisfaction. Help staff with easy to use processes (such as those on problems with data quality or requesting new reports). Do not stick staff into time wasting meetings or with confusion over definitions.

Communication and Engagement
Data intelligence requires communication and engagement. Leaders and staff need discussions and asking questions of each other for success. When someone receives a data request, they need to ask why. And then translate request into action. When a data quality issue is found, report it immediately. When an issue is reported, resolve it quickly. Listen to front-line staff on what can be done to improve data. Do not forget to communicate the importance of data intelligence to new employees. Open communication will build trust in data.

Empowerment and Training of Employees
Data intelligence relies on empowered, knowledgeable people. Organizations must have domain expertise in place who have firsthand understanding of the business at their organization. Domain expertise is knowledge and insight into a specific area. Domain experts use their insight to see through complexities and to imagine what could be done. Data stewards should have domain expertise. Therefore, the organization needs to emphasize training of its staff and empower staff to make the necessary decisions (not some large data governance / intelligence committee). Make sure that there is a library of resources available along with the necessary technology resources so employees can get training when they need it.

Change and Action
Data governance and data intelligence is about action. If you (or anyone on staff) see a data quality problem, let the appropriate person know. If a data definition is incomplete, help make it better. If you see that a new report will make decision making easier then submit a data request. The impact of data intelligence is made by many incrementally small improvements. Therefore, the organization needs to have a culture that change is necessary, and especially that small change is OK. The hardest step in data intelligence is getting started. Start small, one definition, one data quality issue and one data request at a time.

In conclusion, if your organization has the right culture you will have success in data intelligence, and it will be beneficial. Everything starts with people. Make sure the staff is trained, has the necessary resources and is empowered. Accept that small change is good. Make sure that you have the right culture in place so that data intelligence can be a success in helping people and being beneficial for your organization.  Additional data governance and data intelligence resources (blog posts, recorded webinars and videos) can be found at

IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, data intelligence, and data quality initiatives. IData also has experts that can assist with data governance, data intelligence, reporting, integration and other technology services on an as needed basis. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can assist.   Contact Us

(image credit StockSnap_TX6OSDXEC0_FitDGintoCulture_BP #1212)

Jim Walery
About the Author

Jim Walery is a marketing professional who has been providing marketing services to technology companies for over 20 years and specifically those in higher education since 2010. Jim assists in getting the word out about the community via a variety of channels. Jim is knowledgeable in social media, blogging, collateral creation and website content. He is Inbound Marketing certified by HubSpot. Jim holds a B.A. from University of California, Irvine and a M.A. from Webster University. Jim can be reached at jwalery[at]

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