As data analytics and AI make their way into virtually every part of the modern digital business, leaders from across a variety of industries must now get to know these new technologies better to help drive adoption in order to remain relevant and stay competitive. 

This goes beyond just applying data analytics to decision-making in their respective functions. It means communicating the value of AI and data analytics, promoting a data-driven culture, and helping employees develop the necessary skills for working with data. For many executives and leaders beyond the IT department or more data-driven functions, this can be a daunting task.

Fortunately, experienced leaders can draw upon skills they likely already have to help, including a strong ability to craft, communicate, and execute on a vision that employees will get behind. In fact, leaders can leverage all these traits to help drive business value and the adoption of data analytics in their departments while simultaneously increasing their own knowledge of these new technologies.

A recent Insead Knowledge article digs deeper into the topic, offering some sound advice on how executives from across departments can become data and AI leaders. According to the article, “You do need sufficient technical knowledge to grasp the likely value, costs and risks associated with implementation, track relevant trends, and inspire data science and engineering teams. However, it is neither necessary nor possible to know it all, so don’t expect to.”

So, what can you expect to do? Read on to learn three key steps you can take to succeed:

1. Know Your “Why.” 

Having a ready answer for why you are implementing data analytics and AI is an effective way to leave all the buzzwords behind. According to the article, “Being able to answer the big why question is crucial because it gets to the heart of a company’s vision and frames investments in data and AI as solutions to deliver that vision, rather than as stand-alone capabilities.” By understanding the “why,” leaders can narrow down all the possibilities with data analytics to arrive at those that truly support the business and drive the right outcomes.

2. Build Your Team

An effective team should combine a mix of newly-hired talent with the latest skills by providing existing employees and the training they need to uplevel their roles with data analytics. Building a team with a mix of talents and diverse profiles can help business leaders deliver more value from their data analytics and AI initiatives.

3. Define Your Roadmap

When determining the best solution, it’s critical to involve key stakeholders and partners to “socialize” the problem and continuously improve your understanding of what you are trying to achieve. From there, choosing the right priorities and focusing on quick wins can be an effective way to bring people on board with your initiatives. According to the article, “In many organizations, it’s often the simple applications that build the most momentum and help convert the skeptics.”

To learn more, read the complete Insead Knowledge article, which also features an on-demand webinar on the topic.