Putting Data to Good Use Today to Drive Better Outcomes Tomorrow

CK Tan, Senior Director, Solutions & Value Engineering, Qlik

Everyone loves a good story. And for every story, you must have great data and even better insights. Increasingly, organisations have accelerated the pace at which teams and functions rely on data to make better decisions – and solve challenges. 

Qlik’s recent report found that data literacy, defined as the ability to read, work with, analyse and communicate with data – will be the most in-demand skill by 2030. And 85% of executives believe it will become as vital in the future as the ability to use a computer is today. 

But the skills gap is only increasing. 

As society undergoes economic transformation to remain productive and competitive, we need to help workers keep up more digital and data-driven workplace. 

How businesses can put data at the heart of future enterprises

With a compound annual growth rate of almost 30 percent in the coming years, data will form the lifeblood of growth and transformation. It is providing metrics of progress that lead to individual, collective, and global betterment, such as reducing carbon emissions and increasing workplace diversity and equality. The future enterprise will be active in every sense, embracing the proactive model enabled by systems that leverage Active Intelligence, based on continuous intelligence from real-time, up-to-date information, to make decisions that enhance lives and businesses.

Create an active data culture that embraces the best of human and machine for better decision-making and outcomes. Encourage employees to see the benefits of data literacy and use it in their current roles and for their progress and success. Think about one’s skills and mindset. Consider how they could be enhanced or shared, and then initiate a learning program from the top down. 

Lead an active data culture  

Employers and senior leaders need to offer training to employees to improve their data literacy. Virtual training offerings, alongside traditional live and in-person instructor-led curriculums, allow for hybrid approaches with a lower entry barrier. Leaders can then consolidate the acquired skills with augmented analytics, providing employees with real-time support when using data tools. A great example is Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Malaysia’s sole utility provider. Through the use of data analytics, the organisation saw a culture and behaviour change in business performance management at the leadership level. This has resulted in a more collaborative culture and action-driven, forward looking discussions. 

Individuals also need to be curious to explore more opportunities for self-directed learning, building on what started for many as a lockdown trend of learning new skills or completing on-demand courses. There are several free digital resources available specifically for data literacy upskilling. For example, at Qlik, we launched Data Literacy 2.0 to help drive the data fluency needed in a world experiencing continued digital acceleration. This includes over 20 online self-service data literacy classes and supporting resources for employees to upskill in their own time, split across two levels: Data Fundamentals to establish basic data skills and Data Fluency to make confident, data-driven decisions.

The leadership team, including CIOs, must implement a robust strategy while creating an active data culture through investments in their people, policies, and technologies. Learning initiatives and new roles will be crucial to thriving in this new age of data.

The impact and opportunities of building a data-driven workforce

Upskilling is front of mind for organisations. And organisations that build a data-driven workforce will achieve a new paradigm: Active Intelligence, where context-rich insights are served in real-time to trigger human and machine actions at the moment. With the rise in data and advanced technologies, such as AI and machine learning, the analytical opportunities will be enormous if the insights are with those who are data literate. 

Implementing a data-driven culture will need a lot of work. I urge business leaders to start upskilling their modern workforce and creating a culture that encourages curiosity – to lead this transformation and reap the rewards of the better, more rewarding opportunities to come.