The Problems With Data Literacy

Malcolm Hawker is Head of Knowledge Technique at Profisee. Thought chief within the Knowledge Technique, Grasp Knowledge Administration and Knowledge Governance fields.

Many data-centric applications are gaining prominence as many newly minted CDOs implement the individuals, processes and applied sciences wanted to leverage information for aggressive benefit. One such program is information literacy, which, in response to Gartner, is close to the height of its annual “hype cycle” for the most well liked traits in information and analytics.

Knowledge Literacy Outlined

Gartner defines information literacy as “The power to learn, write and talk information in context, with an understanding of the information sources and constructs, analytical strategies and methods utilized, and the flexibility to explain the use case utility and ensuing enterprise worth or consequence.”

The definition of information literacy means information literacy applications are primarily coaching workout routines. Corporations that wish to be extra data-driven should prepare their staff on what information to make use of in what conditions—and it could even require staff to know the strategies and methods used to generate the information. These with enough expertise are information literate; these with out are information illiterate. The distinction between the teams is the abilities hole that information literacy applications are designed to shut.

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The Issues With Knowledge Literacy

Because the self-discipline of information literacy grows and evolves, three issues emerge inside firms that embrace it.

1. Knowledge literacy applications with an extreme deal with the strategies and methods of information creation will negatively impression productiveness.

You may swing a hammer to efficiently sink a nail with out realizing how the hammer is made. All that you must know is {that a} hammer is the perfect software for the job. Growing an intimate understanding of the hammer manufacturing course of is pointless—and can take valuable time away from the enterprise of hammering.

The identical is true with information. An extreme deal with studying the strategies and methods used to create an information product will present little worth whereas negatively impacting your productiveness.

2. Assuming information illiteracy is the rationale firms fail to understand worth from information creates a poisonous divide between information producers and customers.

If the customers aren’t getting worth, then the information isn’t being utilized, or the stories are going unread—then information literacy would say a expertise hole is accountable when, in actual fact, the information itself could also be the issue.

Conditions the place enterprise customers lack confidence within the high quality or worth of information abound in giant organizations. A 2020 research by Gartner discovered that solely 25% of organizations measure the impacts of their key info belongings. Which means that in absence of information to show in any other case, 75% of firms could possibly be negatively affected by information. The identical survey famous that 62% of respondents cite information high quality as a high precedence and that 27% of respondents are reluctant to share information as a result of information high quality considerations. A 2021 Gartner survey discovered that poor information high quality prices firms, on common, $12.9 million a yr.

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Clearly, information high quality is an issue for firms. However an even bigger downside is assuming that low worker expertise are the rationale for low information adoption or worth and never the standard of the information itself. This has poisonous impacts on information organizations since information customers are blamed for an issue that rests with the producer. This example creates animosity between the producer and shopper, and it occurs usually.

The idea enterprise leaders don’t get worth from information as a result of they’re information illiterate is a pillar of information literacy. In his e-book Be Knowledge Literate, Jordan Morrow, the “Godfather of Knowledge Literacy,” cites analysis that 32% of enterprise executives stated they’re unable to create measurable worth from information—the place it’s assumed this downside is solely a perform of information illiteracy and never a mirrored image of the standard of the information or the lack of the corporate to measure the impacts of information.

When reflecting on the problem of information high quality in an information literacy program, Morrow acknowledges that “information high quality is an crucial to information and analytical success” however then suggests a consumer ability hole could possibly be a reason for poor information and never a failure of information leaders to know consumer wants. Morrow asks, “What if [users] are usually not assured of their information literacy expertise they usually poorly talk with the information workforce itself, inflicting poor information for use?”

3. If most firms don’t measure how information impacts their enterprise, how assured can anybody be within the effectiveness of an information literacy program? f 75% of firms don’t measure the impacts of information on their group, how can these firms know if a literacy program will lead to constructive outcomes? An efficient literacy program would require firms to separate coaching on the nice information from the dangerous information, which is one thing most firms can’t do. In concept, one might use an information coaching program to attempt to determine issues with information, however this might be an costly method when merely getting extra detailed consumer suggestions on information product high quality would suffice.

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Having a well-trained, extremely expert workforce is vital to enterprise success. This consists of having staff who’re comfy figuring out the appropriate information to make use of to unravel a given downside and how you can apply that information for enterprise profit. Nevertheless, issues come up when chief information officers and different information leaders assume that information is failing to offer worth as a result of their customers are information illiterate and never due to issues with the information itself. When this occurs, a cultural and belief divide is created that can solely worsen ought to the information chief pursue an information coaching program to enhance consumer satisfaction.

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Jean Nicholas

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