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What Is Data Literacy and Why You Need to Properly Understand It

As you can probably tell, data literacy is literally just being data literate. In other words, it is the ability to understand, create, read, and communicate data. In modern business, data is extremely important. Unless entrepreneurs take steps to educate themselves on how to use it, failure is inevitable.

In today’s tech-driven business world, data illiteracy is a death sentence. As important as data is, becoming an expert in it is not actually that difficult. This post will explore it in more detail, explaining how you can become a data genius:

Image of a laptop on a table displaying data charts.

Professional Support

Unless you are data literate, achieving success in business will be a challenge. Individuals interested in becoming better at understanding and handling data can do so by working with a professional governance agency.

These organizations can improve overall data literacy for your organization, working with staff to increase their proficiency in using data. Hiring an agency is something that should be done cautiously and with care.

There are many organizations claiming to offer data literacy services. You need to find the one that is most qualified and has the best reputation – to do this shop around, read reviews, and conduct online research.

Statistical Information

In business, data has never been more important. Unless employees are able to interpret complex statistical information you will never understand what customers think or what you need to do to improve your organization, internally and externally.

Training staff in interpreting statistical information should therefore be one of your main priorities; the organization you hire to improve company data literacy will do this for you. To this end, find an agency with experience in training even the most data-illiterate individuals.

Collecting Data from Customers

One of the main reasons that understanding data is important is so you can collect it from customers. Until employees know what they are looking at customer data is absolutely useless.

Learning how to use and interpret this data will significantly improve your business’s performance. You will then be able to tailor services around consumers, giving them what they want.

Offering a tailored approach to customers will improve their satisfaction and contentment with your business. When customers are more satisfied, naturally, they are going to spend more money with your business, increasing profits.

Interpreting Information

Unless data literacy is high in your business, interpreting information will be impossible for employees. Customers are not the only source of data. Businesses also collect it from industry performance, internally, and from social media. All of this data is then used to improve business performance.

Data illiteracy will negatively impact your company’s performance by reducing your ability to identify areas that need improvement. While you can hire a service to interpret and handle data for you, experts agree it’s better to learn to do this yourselves, rather than relying on external agencies. External agencies do not offer their services for free after all.

Creating Forecasts

Until data literacy is high in your company there will be no financial forecasts or predictions. Raw data is used to create business forecasts, usually annual ones. Annual forecasts can give different departments a better idea of what’s expected of them. They can also identify goals that need to be worked towards and challenges that must be overcome.

Without forecasts, your business will be dead in the water. You can, again, hire companies and independent agents to create them for you, but it’s cheaper and more efficient to create them internally, which can only be achieved by improving data literacy.

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Product Development

Developing products and services should be one of your main priorities as a business owner. Until your product development department is able to interpret data progress cannot be made. The reason for this is that through data, businesses are able to analyze what’s going wrong with their products and establish changes that need to be made.

Hard data can also give businesses insight into what’s going well with their competitors’ products or services. Copying one’s competition is one of the easiest ways of boosting sales and improving development. It is not possible to do this until better literacy has been achieved, however.

Understanding Consumers

No customers means no profits. Business owners that understand this make real efforts to improve data literacy because unless customers are understood, services and products cannot be tailored to their needs. Data can help you to identify what your customers want.

You can also collect data from customers, asking them to leave feedback. Requesting feedback is usually incentivized by offering discounts and coupon codes. You can do this or you can just outright ask for feedback, with no benefits. If your customers are loyal enough to your company and brand then this should not be something they are averse to doing for you. Ask for genuine feedback, not exaggerated or overly positive replies. Tell customers to be honest.

Machine Learning Algorithms

Today, machine learning algorithms are becoming very important in business. Unless your staff are data literate, however, they will not be able to make use of them. To understand machine learning algorithms data must be understood.

These algorithms work with and process pure data, deriving meaning from it. Your staff will need to put data in, as well as interpret the information that’s spat back out. If your staff become experienced enough, they could even begin creating their own algorithms or working with ones created by programmers exclusively for your company.

Training and Improving Staff

Do you want a workforce that’s stagnant and untrained? The answer is probably no, why would you after all? Such a workforce would be more of a drain than an advantage. Training staff in as much as you can, including in data literacy, will make them more productive employees and also benefit their careers.

There is no guarantee employees will work with your company forever but developing and improving their skills in business will increase the chances of them remaining loyal – offering data literacy training is something that can make your employees a lot more knowledgeable and useful.

Only ever hire qualified instructors to train your staff. Training them the wrong way or on the wrong topics will cause more harm than good.

In modern business, data rules. Unless you understand the importance of data your business will never achieve success, at least in any real way. Improving company data literacy should therefore be your main priority. It is not something that will take a lot of time either, as you can hire expert agencies to work with you and train staff.

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Julius G. Evans

Julius is a business writer that specializes in the marketing and technology segments. He is especially keen on topics that help small businesses navigate and grow their enterprises online through incisive articles on various internet marketing trends.