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How to Create a Data-Driven Culture at Your Organization

Discover our top tips for creating a data culture in your organization and gaining buy-in from the top down. 
Mar 2023  · 9 min read

There’s no denying that we’re living in a new age of data. Information is a commodity, and knowing how to effectively read, write, analyze, communicate, and reason with data is an essential skill that allows individuals and organizations to make better, data-driven decisions. Given its importance, creating a data-driven culture that gains buy-in across an organization is increasingly essential in the modern world. But how do you create such a data culture? And who is responsible for implementing it? 

In this post, we look at findings from our State of Data Literacy 2023 Report, as well as various case studies, to outline how to create a data-driven culture in your organization. 

What is a Data-Driven Culture? 

Let’s start with the basics; what do we mean when we speak about creating a data culture? As highlighted in our report on data literacy, three of the top five fastest-growing skill sets across the UK and the US were data skills, spanning business intelligence, data science, and basic data literacy skills. 

A data-driven culture is one that’s built upon these analytic skills, where an organization's people use data to make data-informed decisions. A truly data-driven organization empowers people at every level to have an understanding of data and how it’s used and equips them with the necessary skills to work with it. 

The Benefits of a Data-Driven Culture

Once again, we can look at data literacy statistics gleaned from our report to explore some of the benefits that come from a data culture. When asked how data-literate employees provide value over those with insufficient data skills, leaders pointed to the top benefits being more accurate decision-making, a stronger ability to innovate, and the ability to create better customer experiences.

Important Data Skills

The benefits of being data-driven go beyond just the individuals themselves.  Our report found that 67% of data and business leaders believe that organizations that invest in data upskilling are more likely to be recession-proof. Similarly, 85% percent felt that countries investing in data literacy skills will outperform those who are not. 

Other reports echo the findings of the State of Data Literacy Report 2023. Data from the McKinsey Global Institute outlines that data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to attract new customers than those who don’t have such data cultures.

How to Create a Data-Driven Culture

So how can organizations adapt to the era of data literacy? This is the challenge that many leaders face, and it’s not always an easy undertaking. Our report found that while many organizations have some form of data training, it’s rarely an organization-wide initiative and often encounters resistance. 

Below, we’ve highlighted some tips for creating a data culture at your organization. These are based on our findings from The State of Data Literacy Report as well as various case studies from our DataCamp for Business customers. 

Identify who is responsible for data training 

In a data culture, almost every role should have a relationship with data on some level. Yet often, the responsibility should start at the top. 

Chief Information Officers are concerned with data access for the rest of the organization, Chief Marketing Officers are vested in accelerating customer insights for better decision-making, and Chief Technical Officers would like product and engineering teams to use data when making product decisions. However, it is usually the Chief Data Officer who is the best leader for promoting the data literacy agenda. 

As one study suggests, in the past ten years alone, the number of Chief Data Officers within organizations has increased sevenfold, going from 12% in 2012, to 82.6% in 2023.

This ownership is essential in driving a data-driven culture. As Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Officer at ThoughtSpot, highlights, 

“Ideally, the Chief Data Officer should own the data literacy agenda, but that is also largely dependent on where CDO sits within the broader organization. The Chief Learning or People Officer is also integral, as they help assess the organization’s current skill set and can contextualize data literacy within the overall future of work conversation.”

Identify current challenges

In many organizations, the quest for comprehensive data literacy across the board will often encounter challenges. As outlined in our report, some of the key issues are lack of budget, inadequate training resources, lack of executive support, lack of ownership of the training program, and employee resistance.  

By understanding the challenges that your organization faces, you can start to address them head-on and start working towards building a data-savvy workforce. 

One key challenge is data democratization, which you can read more about in our separate article. 

Start with a pilot project

Progressing from a non-data-literate organization to a data-driven culture can seem like a long process. However, starting small is often a good plan. By launching a pilot learning program targeting a small fraction of your organization, you can then iterate and improve as you expand.  

For example, one of our DataCamp for Business clients, Allianz, started with 100 people using DataCamp courses and resources to upskill in certain areas. The learnings from this small-scale upskilling were then used to upskill more than 6,000 people on data. Allianz created 22 personalized learning paths for different learners, tied learning goals to business goals, and was able to measure a 1.9 hours average time saved per week for each upskilled employee. 

Align learning goals with business goals 

To encourage everyone to adopt a data-driven mindset, it’s vital to set goals for those who are upskilling. Setting transformational outcomes tied to business objectives can help in this regard. An example of such a goal could be “reducing tickets sent to the data team by enabling supply chain analysts to do simple analysis with Tableau or Power BI dashboards.”

These goals are measurable and can help specific teams or areas of the organization to work towards their targets, increasing buy-in from all involved. 

According to Vijay Yadav, Director of Quantitative Sciences & Head of Data Science at the Center for Mathematical Sciences at Merck, successful data strategies mean prioritizing culture and skills transformation initiatives. Vijay explains: 

“Data culture and skills are a big part of a successful data strategy. Ultimately, what leaders need to understand is whether everybody in the company sees data as an asset and, if so, how do they see it? For example, somebody who’s worked on the shop floor all their life may not know how data can deliver value for them. So I think the upskilling and data literacy program is definitely something that you want to do early as part of your data strategy, to be able to deliver value down the line.”

Create data personas

Data upskilling is not a one-size-fits-all approach. In reality, data skills are largely dependent on the needs of the individual and the relationship they’ll have with data in their day-to-day work. 

As such, a crucial part of creating a data culture is identifying the data personas throughout your organization. Having such archetypes can help you understand the different needs when it comes to understanding and working with data. 

In the full State of Data Literacy 2023 report, you can find our data competency framework, which can help you understand the entire spectrum of data skills that may exist within your organization. You’ll also fund an editable framework that you can tailor to your organization. 

Data Skills Matrix

Make data human 

It’s easy to talk about creating a data culture, but for many people, working with data can seem like a daunting task. Building a data-driven culture includes reducing the fear associated with working with math and numbers. Data leaders must assuage data fear by communicating at a level that their audience is comfortable with. 

Setting clear expectations can also help with making data human. Outlining how different teams and departments can benefit from being data literate and setting clear milestones for how they can achieve this plays a vital role in gaining buy-in from across an organization. 

Similarly, it’s important to recognize and reward data-driven behavior throughout your organization.  Those who demonstrate a commitment to using data to drive decisions should be championed. It’s also worth considering adding incentives that reward such behaviors. 

Download the State of Data Literacy Report 2023

Discover the latest data literacy stats and insights from industry leaders and experts.

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State of data literacy

Promote data literacy

Much of what we’ve covered in this article so far revolves around data literacy. Having a mature data training program can help to promote data literacy throughout your organization, encouraging adoption from people at all levels of seniority. 

With DataCamp for Business, you can help your team develop data skills using the deepest learning curriculum in the industry. Supporting teams of all sizes, our data training platform helps learners of all levels gain new skills, improve in their current specializations, and gain confidence in understanding and working with data. 


As we’ve seen, a data-driven culture is becoming increasingly important in today's world, where organizations must effectively collect, process, analyze, communicate, and reason with data to make informed decisions. A data-driven organization empowers people at every level to understand and work with data to improve decision-making, innovate, and create better customer experiences. 

The benefits of being data-driven go beyond individuals, as data-driven organizations are more likely to be recession-proof, outperform those that do not invest in data literacy skills, and attract new customers. 

Creating a data-driven culture is an ongoing process that takes time and planning. Starting small often helps, allowing data leaders to claim responsibility, identify current challenges, and align learning goals with business goals. With the tips we’ve outlined, an organization can move towards building a data-savvy workforce and gain buy-in from the top down.

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