182. THE COSTS OF DATA ILLITERACY

“The answer to my question begins with a number!”

– Jeff Bezos

Sad Survey Results

Accenture’s 1/22/20 study on “The Human Impact of Data Literacy” reports shocking stats. (Summary here or Full report here)

The highlight numbers:

  1. 87% of employees recognize the potential value of new data (13% don’t!)
  2. 21% feel confident in their data literacy skills (with courage to experiment forward?)
  3. 74% are unhappy or overwhelmed when trying to work with new data
  4. 36% avoid it (maybe while faking compliance?)
  5. 53% of management avoids data to make quick, gut decisions
  6. 1%(-) of leaders always make data-led decisions. (Always! at omnivorous Amazon)

Symptoms of Poor Analytical Focus and Implementations?

If you want new insights that matter, don’t grind existing – financial outcome and operational – numbers ever finer. Start instead by applying the “Scientific Method” to most extreme customer ranking results. SM, you may have forgotten from seventh grade…

To refresh your recall of the Scientific Method:

It starts with: focused curiosity, observations, questions and theory guesses. Then, you must invent (get) new, measurement tools and data to (dis) prove your theories and to suggest – simple, cheap, fast, learn-full – experiments. Then, new questions and ways to improve analytical tools and innovation metrics arise.

If you find a golden insight, then don’t charge everyone with pursuing it. This will avoid the survey stats. Instead, pursue a new opportunity play in the narrowest way led by a competent “intrapreneur”. Get quick, big, wins for case studies with which to educate everyone about the big upsides for all. Then, work with the most eager volunteers (with the 21% stat group) to extend success slowly (at first) across the organization.

In parallel, do exhaustive, education to all about the whys and hows of the important, data-enabled change(s). Provide job security and pay assurances while trumpeting the upside benefits to all who can fit into the shifting vision. Some will fight any change that threatens their: ego, power and existing incentives. Fix these resistors somehow, because preserving the status quo won’t work in the emerging digital commerce world.

Where To Investigate First?

For distributors, a guaranteed fruitful path is to do both customer and SKU net-profitability ranking reports. Then, do “5 x why” analysis for the extreme winners and losers. I guarantee powerful new possibilities will emerge. And, you don’t have to invent new net-profit analytics. They are – quickly, inexpensively and risk-free – available from WayPoint Analytics.

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