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Finding the Recipe to be Data Driven

Every company wants to be data-driven nowadays – or at least they say they do. But one of the main hurdles towards realizing this is the belief that access to data should be limited to a few specialist roles. This approach almost always results in bottlenecks and prevents access to an organization’s most valuable data. Fortunately, at JBS USA, our culture is defined by easy access to data and the powerful innovations that it creates. And this in turn requires a data literate workforce.

Building a data literate workforce

JBS USA is an organization driven by innovation – we want every single corner of the company to be able to explore the potential benefits of making smarter, data-driven decisions. There’s no question that this policy results in dividends – our astounding growth over the decades is proof.

To ensure that we engrain a data-centred culture within our organization, we needed to provide training to everyone interested in using data. We currently offer a three-day training course to any employee who believes they may be able to use data within their job. Employees learn how to load data and relevant applications, as well as use functions such as pivoting, scripting, and designing a data model. They experiment with creating tables, graphs, and other basic analysis tools. The point is to make sure everyone is exposed to the fundamental elements.


“We’re not expecting to create data scientists during this training. Instead, we cover the basics.”


Providing continued support to employees

We have found that most people don’t learn by analyzing widgets and abstract concepts. The real learning happens when employees go back to the job equipped with new skills developed during training and applying what they’ve learnt to their own data. Our business intelligence (BI) team is then on hand to provide them with the assistance they need to go from a screen full of numbers to realistic, useful insight.

For example, we run “collaboration hours” once a week, where one of our data experts is available to meet with anyone who needs help developing a dashboard or a specific research project. We let people find their own interests and then provide them with the support they need to develop expertise.

“Becoming data literate is not about teaching employees a single skill: it is about demonstrating a commitment to lifetime learning.”


Investing in change management to real see results

Building a data-driven organization is largely psychological. You can’t make your organization smarter, and then stifle the resulting suggestions. That’s why we also encourage innovation amongst our employees and have created mechanisms for communicating new concepts to leadership. This more inclusive approach to innovation and change management is a necessary component of a business intelligence environment.

Of course, no company wants to transition to becoming data-driven simply for the fun of it. Enterprise leaders want results. While other organizations beg employees to think outside the box when facing critical problems, our staff upskilled in data literacy see opportunities for innovation as a perk of the job. That difference means we are nimble enough to quickly adapt to market changes and take advantage of the possibilities.


Using data and business intelligence means having a much better picture of the interior environment of the company. We are rarely surprised by internal trends that have gone unnoticed for years.


With multiple teams across the organization having access to data, we’re able to tap into different perspectives in order to reveal new insights and analysis.


With people in every corner of our organization regularly performing robust reports, we have been able to experience truly enviable expansion over the last ten years.


Easy access to data tools helps drive a culture 
of innovation throughout our company, enabling employees to explore the benefits of making 
data-driven, smarter decisions.