While many “talk the talk” of being data-driven, very few actually “walk the walk.” The benefits of being data-driven are clear—including growing exponentially more than companies that aren’t—but getting there is easier said than done.

A recent Forbes post by Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Julian Archer provides the definition of what it means to be data-driven, instructions on how to assess where your company stands, and guidelines for improvement. According to Archer, “Though the importance of making data-driven decisions is frequently discussed, few organizations have a clear understanding of this concept and its implications for employees and organizational processes.”

From a definitional perspective, being data-driven typically refers to a company or department that understands the insights it needs for its business, the data needed to deliver those insights, and how to empower employees to take action—through a combination of technology tools, employee collaboration, and the right culture. Data management is also a critical requirement for a data-driven business. This “helps ensure that credible, high-quality data can be delivered in the right format to the right audience,” according to the article.

Next, it’s critical to assess the company’s current state across key areas including data access, use cases, and ethics. This is usually carried out by the Marketing Operations team or a company’s data governance group. According to Archer, “This process will provide a view of current insight requirements by assessing the clarity of processes and defined data needs, a view of the organization’s confidence in its data management process to deliver quality data, and a view of the organization’s ability to enable teams to use and understand the data.”

Finally, Archer stresses the need for companies to provide employees with clear guidelines for improvement. This includes “team enablement” aimed at upskilling employees with the rights skills and competencies and building a data-driven culture and mindset.

In the end, Archer contends that being data-driven is an opportunity, especially for marketing departments to lead the charge. If you’d like to learn more, you can read the complete article here.