John Bottega, President, EDM Council, in conversation with Robert Lutton, Vice President, Sandhill Consultants, sheds light on the concept of data literacy and how organizations should address their data literacy journey.
According to Bottega, data literacy is about understanding the scope and impact of information, and the approach has been changing over the years. “Data was always thought of as a technical issue, but there’s been a recognition that it’s a business asset and to understand its impact, you have to be literate in how it operates, how it’s gathered, how it’s collected, where it’s coming from,” he says. “It has to apply to everybody, and everybody has to have an understanding of what data literacy is because everybody touches data.”
Literacy is for everyone in an organization, he emphasizes, but it used to be limited to technology teams. Today, as businesses become more data literate and savvy, there has been a responsibility shift. Everybody — from the person at the front office to the middle office to the back office and the C-suite — touches data.
“No matter who you are in an organization, you are touching that data asset, you influence what that company is doing and what that purpose of that information is,” Bottega adds. “It is a cultural thing within organizations. It has to be a holistic perspective of the importance of information and it has to come from the top. If the C-suite doesn’t embrace this, it’s just not going to permeate the organization,” he concludes.