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How to prepare your workforce for the future data-driven enterprise

Dr. Paul Barth, Global Head of Data Literacy, Qlik


The digital revolution has truly transformed modern organizations, embedding data and analytics in every business process and customer interaction. As advances in technology continues, workers in all roles will need a new skill —data literacy— to collaborate with these new systems and each other.

The digital revolution has truly transformed modern organizations, embedding data and analytics in every business process and customer interaction.  Advances in technology enable smart supply chains with predictive analytics, automated logistics for same-day delivery, and AI advisors that reduce medical errors.  As this continues, workers in all roles will need new a new skill—data literacy—to collaborate with these systems and each other.  Data and analytics can provide people with a clear understanding of a situation and their options, but only if they have confidence in their data literacy skills. And many do not.

Closing the data literacy gap appears daunting, starting with how and where to invest in employees to take advantage of the data evolution now and into the future. To help them in that quest, Qlik has sourced guidance and insights from some of the world’s leading experts in data, technology and human behavior, supported by extensive quantitative research of thousands of C-level executives and workers globally in its latest report ‘Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution.

The report provides enterprise leaders with the foresight on how data is evolving and how to take advantage of the opportunity to drive informed actions through Active Intelligence, a state of continuous intelligence from real time, up-to-date information designed to trigger in-the-moment decision-making. It also uncovers the new skills and roles that will underpin success in the future enterprise.

If you are interested in reading the full report, you can access it here. And to give you a flavor of what it revealed, I have summarized here some of the key findings.

The future of data is not reporting on the past but taking action in the moment

That can only be achieved if leaders and consequently their employees have confidence in using data and analytics to inform their actions. Currently, that confidence is lacking – through a lack or perceived lack of data literacy skills. Only 11% of employees are fully confident in their data literacy skills and despite C-level executives reporting a higher level of data literacy (52%), 45% frequently make decisions based on gut feel rather than data-led insights.

Leaders believe that data literacy is a strategic imperative

Eighty-five percent of C-level executives believe being data literate will be as vital in the future as the ability to use a computer is today. Not only will data literacy training prepare executives and employees for an increasingly data-led future, but it will also give them a big, competitive advantage now.

Data literacy training is for everyone, not just specialists

Currently only one in 10 employees in  finance, marketing and HR teams are offered data literacy training despite 70% of the staff needing these skills on an everyday basis. Enterprise leaders need to understand where data can solve problems or drive value in the business and invest in the skills to realize it.

It’s no good democratizing data if people cannot trust it

Forty-six percent of employees don’t always trust the data available to inform their decisions is up to date and accurate. People will only act on data they trust, which is why Explainable BI – the ability to understand data’s lineage, i.e. the changes it has gone through to arrive at a particular insight – is becoming more important. Particularly now that we are working alongside machines far more than ever before. Most C-level executives expect employees’ working practices to change and become more collaborative with intelligent tools helping them make better decisions (84%) and become more productive (83%).

The dawn of the metaprise

The shift to virtual workplaces and hybrid teams will define new roles to shepherd new working practices and incubate new ideas from data that grow to realize their value. These roles, such as Chief Metaverse Officer, Workplace Environmental Architect and Head of Gamification, will emerge to reflect the revolutionary shift in data and digital and will depend on good data literacy.

Taking a collaborative approach to upskilling will prepare organizations for this future. Those leaders who champion upskilling will see the benefits, especially in retaining talent. Employees are aware that data literacy skills will be in demand in the future. And they are actively seeking employers that are willing to invest in them too, with 45% of global employees say they would change jobs if they felt they could get better preparation for the future workplace elsewhere.

Take action now

We are poised at the dawn of the next generation of the data-driven enterprise. One where a combination of physical, digital, and virtual experiences and environments create new sources of rich data. One where data analytics pipelines fuel analytics in real-time to compel action in the business moment. One where intelligence from the Active Intelligence is acted upon in real-time to drive growth and seize new commercial opportunities.

Being successful in this next generation of data means preparing workforces today for a future of informed action.

We hope that – armed with the insights in this report – leaders can better promote the value of an active data culture, and boost confidence in data literacy and usage across their organizations.

To view the full report, visit Data Literacy: The Upskilling Evolution.

And if you want to join the discussion around how to fuel enterprise growth through data literacy, you can sign up to our upcoming webinar on April 12 here.