Published on

December 13, 2022

Why you should teach your employees data management skills

Jannik Weichert photo

Jannik Weichert

Managing Director

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Learning Hub

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As businesses become increasingly reliant on data to inform decision-making and drive growth, it's important that employees have the skills necessary to effectively manage and analyze that data. Upskilling employees in data management can help improve the accuracy and usefulness of the data they work with, leading to better business outcomes. Investing in employee upskilling in data management can also help to future-proof the workforce and ensure that employees are able to adapt to new technologies and changing business needs. In this blog, we'll explore the importance of data management skills for employees and discuss why upskilling in this area can benefit both individuals and organizations.

What is data management?

Over the last decade, Clive Humby's statement that data is probably the new oil has been recited frequently. And it seems to be true at first glance.

Tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook collect huge amounts of data and make a fortune of it, so one might be willing to accept the statement without further challenging it. Even more so, also smaller companies than our tech giants have now wisely begun increasing their efforts in collecting data relevant to their business.

"Data is the new oil." — Clive Humby

However, in stark contrast to oil, it is not enough to simply possess data; it necessarily requires a refinement process before turning into value. This process, which we call data management, comprises ingesting, storing, organizing, and, most importantly, analyzing and using data efficiently and business-oriented.

The goal of data management is to support the operational decision-making and strategic planning process in a data-driven fashion using quantitative figures and insights. With data management, you can derive reasonable action steps from the information hidden in the data and, hence, increase your business' revenue and profits.

4 reasons why you should teach your employees data management

Despite its value, the collection, handling, and analysis of data are typically managed by (and restricted to) a relatively small team of data-literate people with a tech background. Employees from other areas often have to request specific data analyses for their domain from these experts in a lengthy process, in which they might struggle to express their particular requirements for the analysis.

Also, the communication of results and trust into them can be difficult as the data analysis process done by the experts remains a black box for the employee who requested it.

But why is the process of data management even restricted to such a small number of employees?

The term data literacy describes the ability to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data. Skills, that nearly everyone participating in the modern workforce needs to be comfortable with. Experts are convinced that the implementation of data literacy throughout the business is the basis of developing a digital mindset and culture for a successful company in the 21st century.

Here are 4 reasons why you should consider teaching your employees data management skills:

1. Build a competitive advantage

Education in data and tech is a necessary step to bring a business into the digitalization age. Employees in highly diverse roles all require data literacy to make the best out of different tools and large amounts of data. Enabling them to analyze the data from their specific domain helps them make informed decisions backed by quantitative facts and insights rather than gut feelings. The above-mentioned tech giants are so powerful because they have a qualified workforce that can analyze and interpret the data.

"Knowledge itself is power." — Sir Francis Bacon

Data skills themselves can give you a competitive advantage in the market by the simple virtue of knowledge. Thus, if your employees have the relevant data management skills for today's world, you can strengthen your company's position in the market and be successfully positioned for the future.

Graphic of person reading a book

2. Realize the full potential of your business

Proper data management skills enable your workforce to collect, analyze and interpret the most recent and relevant information and make it a part of their decision process.

In many organizations, however, there is no clear understanding of how to ingest the necessary information. This is because employees are often unaware of either the possibilities or the right strategies for the information source to use.

Graphic of visual data

The harsh truth is that the value of information is only as good as the information source itself. So the potential of your business success literally lies in the data. Improper or insufficient use of your data sources leads to insignificant analyses, and, therefore, results in little impact and output for your business operations.

3. Minimize the risk of missing out on opportunities

There is much truth in the saying "four eyes see more than two".

With only a few people working with data, the risk of missing out on important pieces of information about your business is high. In data literate organizations, the awareness of employees for data-related topics is of high importance: New business opportunities can be discovered more quickly and possible problems identified earlier.

Graphic of business plan

Furthermore, the agility and speed at which a business can make decisions and change its direction is an important factor in determining how successful a company is.

4. Facilitate communication

An often overlooked fact is communication and acceptance of business decisions. As argued above, backing up your decisions with insights from data is almost a necessity to increase their acceptance and impact. These insights, however, need to be understood and appreciated by the majority of the workforce in order to digest the implications. This communication is much easier in a data literate company, where employees work with data and data-driven decisions on an everyday basis.

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Learn what other skill are in demand for 2023

As you might have noticed after reading this article, data management is not a marginal topic any longer. Successful companies have recognized the urgency and importance of a skilled workforce in terms of data skills in general.

Experts wonder why the process of data management is still restricted to such a small number of employees. Every worker should at least have a basic understanding and the necessary skills to work with data. Therefore, effective company training can make a real difference for you business.

But training your employees is often easier said than done.

The range of training programs on offer is enormous, but only a few are really effective and lead to the hoped-for results at an early stage. One of the most common reasons for this is that the learningcontent is not designed to meet the needs and current level of knowledge of the learners.

Now that we've talked about the importance of data management skills, let's shift gears and look at the bigger picture: what are the most in-demand skills for 2023? As the job market continues to evolve and change, it's important for professionals to stay up-to-date on the skills that are most sought after by employers. That is why we have gathered the top 10 skills in demand for 2023.

Find out what they are in our guide.

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edyoucated is funded by leading research institutions such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).