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Being Data-Driven: What does it mean?

It’s a phrase, and perhaps verb, that we hear a lot, isn’t it?

LinkedIn profiles, job descriptions and PR articles are all talking about how to become data-driven, how to make data-driven decisions, how to be data-driven.


To the uninitiated – and perhaps even to the initiated – it might be worth pausing for a moment to ask what this really means? 



10 August 2020  \\ Technology                             Author: Alexander Boast

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A Google search for the term “data-driven” returns some 655 million results, and a quick adjective definition that reads thusly:


“The adjective data-driven means that progress in an activity is compelled by data, rather than by intuition or by personal experience.” Wikipedia


That sounds fair enough, and perhaps advantageous in some if not most decision-making situations, but how does one collect the data and use it in an actionable way?


You first need to be ready to be data-driven


The thing we are forgetting is that most founders and entrepreneurs, as well as humans in general, love to trust their gut, enjoy a personal anecdote, and will make decisions based on how much they like the person they’re buying from or selling to.


Surely, then, this is at odds with being data-driven?

It is worth noting that a healthy combination of your human intellect and machine-derived insight is probably a superior approach to being entirely data or instinct-driven in your business pursuits. 


Need help becoming data-driven? Get in touch with the team. 

How to actually become data-driven (if you want to)


We’re going to quickly lay out a framework of actual steps you can take to prepare yourself for becoming, and then be, data-driven.


Preparatory phase:

  1. Acquire and profile historical data 
  2. Ensure efficient and accurate capture of present data 
  3. Install governance framework around your future data to ensure standards never slip


Data-driven phase:

  1. Assign business value to data
  2. Assign risk value to data
  3. Assign financial value to data
  4. Show it to somebody that cares, and can do something with the information (that might be you!)


So there you have it, that is how you actually prepare yourself for becoming and being data-driven, alongside what it actually means.

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