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Educating Data

What percentage of your organisation who use or should use the data you provide can you confidently say know what data you offer, where to find it and how to use it? If your team is like most of the Data & Insights teams we work with then the answer is probably as simple as “not enough”.
So, in this short article we thought we would share three things you should consider that will help you progress from “not enough” to a “sizeable majority”.

1. Set up a nursery

Data ignorance and bad habits start from day one so make sure you are exposing all new joiners to some data education. If you are luck, there may be a company induction session you can join or perhaps you are already part of such a session? Either way, while such induction sessions are useful, we all know that there is a lot of information for new joiners to soak up in those first few days in a new job and, for many, what you tell them will go in one ear and out the other.

The answer? Set up a nursery process where you plan out how you will induct all new joiners in a pain-free manner through their first few weeks in the role. One approach to consider is to send a series of emails that gently introduces them to what’s available, where to find it and how to use it.

2. Education microsite

Whether they are a new joiner or veteran employee who has done enough service to warrant a gold watch, you need to give them the opportunity to find things out for themselves. A good way to do this is to build a data education microsite that sits within or alongside your existing content hub and guides your colleagues through the data basics. Coupled with the nursery approach outlined above, it’s the perfect resource for new joiners and an excellent way to encourage everyone within the organisation to get themselves up to speed with the data you can provide them with.

An important consideration is to keep the site focussed on education only. While it should have links to any self-serve systems you offer, as well as reports and other data sources, it should not duplicate the task. The aim is to help provide access to what you already have, not to create layers of complexity in terms of where the data is housed.

3. Data ambassadors

One final thought is to extend the burden of responsibility for data education out of your team and into the actual functions that are using the data. By identifying data heroes in the key functions that use data, you can create data ambassadors who can take on roles of disseminating important data, providing feedback, ensuring new joiners go through the nursery process and, of course, helping colleagues with data education. Although not without its challenges in terms of execution, the end rewards are well worth the effort.

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