Looker Blog : Data Matters

Inspiring a Data-Driven Culture

Brian LaFaille, Account Management

Aug 25, 2015

We’re in the middle of a data renaissance.

The idea of data democracy is radically new for most employees who have never had open access to data before. This data democratization represents a radical shift in mainstream thinking of how everyday employees access meaningful information for their day-to-day work.

In the past, Marketing Managers, Sales Reps, Finance, and generally anyone needing data, would run to the analyst team whenever they needed a report. After waiting hours, sometimes even days, the analyst would return with a CSV of raw data, which, many times, might not be exactly what that Marketing Manager wants to see.

Traditional Approach

A typical data experience

This experience has left a bad taste in the mouths of all those professionals thirsting for data, but hesitant to repeatedly make requests of their colleagues.

Enter the self-service BI tool.

A Fundamentally Different Approach

With what Looker provides, that Marketing Manager no longer has to continually hound a data analyst for a needed report, but instead can build, schedule, download, visualize and dashboard the data relevant to them.

It's powerful stuff.

The best part is, it frees up the time of the analyst, data engineer, CTO, or BI lead to focus on the really complex analyses in something like R or Python.

Despite this, the question still stands:

How do you get people excited about using data?

With hundreds of happy customers under our belt, we have seen some of the best ways for that Analyst, that BI lead, that CTO, or Data Engineer to get the rest of his or her team excited about using data in their day-to-days.

Here's what works.

Visualize

Pictures are always worth 1,000 words

Team Meeting visualizations

Ah, the company dashboard. We have all seen them on TVs in companies of every type, which makes sense — most people are inherently visual.

It’s how we shop — Pinterest & Polyvore . It’s how we share moments with friends — Snapchat & Instagram. And it’s where our attention is drawn while on the web.

Why should consuming data be any different?

The most powerful data-inspiration tool in an any analyst’s arsenal, is the Team or Company Dashboard.

Something your team will instantly be excited about for your company’s high-level metrics. Displaying something as simple as sales that happened just hours ago will get them energized about the opportunities available. It will have them start asking questions of what else is possible, and what other questions can be answered immediately through data.

Need help on designing this visual dashboard?

Here's a great article to get you started.

Scaffold

A little structure goes a long way

Looker Spaces

In Looker, we have what we call Spaces. Areas for teams to come together around data.

If you are on the marketing team, you’re not looking at the same metrics or data that the product team is interested in seeing. To stoke interest in all teams, we recommend setting up areas for each of your departments to view the data most important to them.

By dropping that team-specific dashboard you just built into a team collaboration area, it gives that team a place to see what’s possible with data relevant to their everyday. By scaffolding the data experience on a per-department level, users can see metrics that matter to them.

Contextualize

Take the data to them

Looker Spaces

Product usage information embedded into a Salesforce Account page — perfect for a sales team to check-in on customer health.

“Another login?”

“Another tool we have to learn?”

I can hear the sighs from here.

If you’re trying to ease the rest of the team into using data, take the data to them!

If a sales team is in Salesforce everyday, bring the visualizations relevant to their clients into their Salesforce pages. Marketing in Marketo? Embed the marketing spend data directly into their familiar portal. You get the idea.

In Looker, we make it easy to share visualizations, reports, and data points as part of the tools teams are most familiar with: Salesforce, Company Intranets, Google Drive, and Excel

Communicate

Start a data conversation

knucks gif

Data conversations are the best conversations.

One of the easiest ways to propagate data ideas between you and your business constituents, is to start a Hipchat or Slack room dedicated to any and all things data.

Need a new dimension or measure defined? Post in the room. Just created a new version of a team dashboard? Post in the room.

Providing this quick and easy feedback loop for your co-worker to find out the difference between, ‘order created date’, and, ‘order date’, ends up being that extra nudge and confidence they need to start running their own reports.

Visualize. Scaffold. Contextualize. And always have a Conversation.

If you are looking for more data inspiration in the form of best practices and how companies like yours can make the most of data, I’d be happy to chat.

Email me: brian@looker.com.

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