Episode 6: From data literacy to data proficiency

There’s a lot of talk about data literacy in the enterprise. Ishit Vachhrajani, Enterprise Strategist at Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the former Global CTO at A+E Networks, prefers the term “data proficiency.”

“It’s not just about being data-aware or being data-informed, but really developing proficiency to put that data to use, and do that at scale,” Vachhrajani told Tim Crawford in Episode 6 of the Ahead of the Pack podcast.

Data proficiency should apply across the enterprise, beginning with the C-suite and extending beyond the roles that traditionally deal with data, he said. But the challenge for many organizations is infusing this mindset.

One common stumbling block, Vachhrajani said, is that many organizations begin with collecting the data and then try to figure out what to do with it. Instead, Vachhrajani recommends a “customer- or business-backwards” approach:

  • Identify an important business opportunity or area of improvement
  • Build a strong hypothesis around it
  • Define some measure of success as to how you’re going to test it
  • Bring in the relevant data you need to experiment and put it in the cloud
  • Test and iterate and see if it’s providing the results you were expecting
  • If successful, scale it out

Vachhrajani and Crawford also discuss:

  • How culture and technology work hand in hand to improve data proficiency
  • The importance of eliminating data silos
  • Steps to enable front-line action
  • How to keep the momentum going to scale
  • The skills and roles needed to support data proficiency.