The term “digital transformation” can be seen everywhere in business and information technology (IT). Articles touting the merits of digital transformation focus on benefits like operational efficiency, cost savings, customer value and competitive advantage. Yet, for enterprise leaders to fully reap the benefits of digital transformation, they must first empower all employees to generate actionable insights from the vast data at their disposal.

It’s no secret that small teams with specialized training are responsible for data and analytics initiatives in many organizations, but this model is unsustainable in the digital age. Since data is an integral part of every function, all employees must have the tools and training to unlock its power. More important, they must use those insights to drive value for customers, communities and the planet.

For example, one program I oversee increased data literacy and shifted employees away from transactional projects and into insight-generating roles. Each employee joined the company with core skills, and combining those skills with the ability to process, analyze and extract information from the treasure troves of data helped employees generate data-driven insights at scale. These efforts, which involved enrolling more than 68,000 employees, resulted in increased employee performance across the entire company, improved delivery of services for global clients and led to more than 800 certifications for employees.

To reap the benefits of a data-fluent workforce, consider these four recommendations when developing training programs.

Create a Data-driven Culture

As technologies evolve and industries advance, employees need to adapt their skills to meet new demands, and the information gleaned from analyzing data helps chart the direction of training. We use the term upskilling frequently and with good reason. Investing in training helps employees improve their skill sets, which enhances company performance. For example, Amazon has invested $700 million into reskilling and upskilling programs, and Mastercard has been running its retraining program since 2016 to gain a competitive advantage over startups.

Create a Data-driven Culture

As technologies evolve and industries advance, employees need to adapt their skills to meet new demands, and the information gleaned from analyzing data helps chart the direction of training. We use the term upskilling frequently and with good reason. Investing in training helps employees improve their skill sets, which enhances company performance. For example, Amazon has invested $700 million into reskilling and upskilling programs, and Mastercard has been running its retraining program since 2016 to gain a competitive advantage over startups.

Highlight the Value of Data-driven Efforts to Employees and Customers

The more teams analyze and rely on information to fuel data-driven decisions, the more advances employees can make with products and services. Leaders must track and catalog the real-world benefits these data-driven training programs have on employees and customers. By understanding what works, what didn’t work, or was only mildly beneficial, companies can unlock value in places they may never have considered.

Motivate Your Employees

When companies implement new programs, employees might say to themselves, “Oh no, here’s another initiative that upper management is forcing on us.” While some people’s eyes might gloss over when they hear terms like data and analytics, the reality is that the information can be incredibly valuable, but only if used correctly. It’s important to highlight why, how and where to use the data so that employees can see the actual impact. For example, employees must see the value in how data and analytics can help them streamline everyday tasks such as processing an invoice more accurately or responding to a customer’s query faster.

Concentrate on the Customer

Once you equip your employees with insights and recommendations based on data-driven analysis, put that knowledge to work to improve customer engagement. Examining existing business practices helps your employees find opportunities to provide additional value to customers, which helps grow your business and strengthen relationships.

Turn Employees Into Top Performers

Training more employees to generate data-driven insights at scale improves operational efficiency, strengthens relationships with partners and customers and helps employees increase their skills and raise their performance.

If employees are truly a company’s greatest asset, it’s imperative to design and implement data literacy training that helps them apply digital solutions to the benefit of all.

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