If asked, nearly every organization is likely to espouse a desire to become more data-driven, but there is a large gap between hope and reality—particularly as new technologies are introduced that further complicate data-driven efforts. For example, according to MIT, approximately 80 percent of new data is unstructured, which makes it difficult for companies to capture and quantify the information. 

Another key barrier the study cites is the cultural change required to become more data-driven, with nearly 92 percent of executives citing this as the prime roadblock. In addition, many companies have yet to appoint the right leadership function to champion data-driven efforts, with only 40 percent of organizations reporting that they have established the Chief Data and Analytics Officer role. 

So, what can companies do to overcome these and other challenges and accelerate data-driven efforts? A recent HBR article outlined three driving principles to consider: 

  1. Think Different. As mentioned above, the successful transition to a data-driven organization requires a cultural change. As such, it also necessitates that leadership adopt a different mindset. Critical thinking, human judgment, and a creative viewpoint must be matched with every analytic algorithm to drive new innovation. 
  1. Fail Fast, Learn Faster. Individuals and companies learn from experience, even if the experiences entail trial and error. Organizations that embrace the fail-fast, learn-faster mentality—also known as iterative learning—will obtain critical insight and knowledge before their competitors and be that much further along in their data-driven efforts.
  1. Focus on the Long-Term. Becoming more data-driven is a journey that may involve detours, stops and starts, and changes over time. The HBR piece argues that perfection in this process is rarely achievable, and that companies should instead view success as something that happens iteratively. Focusing on the long-term and recognizing that small achievements will grow and spread into big wins over time can help companies adopt the right mindset for future growth. 

Head over to HBR for more on the above and other considerations for companies to accelerate their data-driven efforts.