Dropping the ambition of entering data science because you think your company cannot afford it or starting the design of a data strategy just because your organisation can afford it, are, in my opinion, comparable mistakes.
Whether your organisation is a tightly budgeted small radio company or a humongous multi-million dollar actor in the broadcast industry, the main reason that keeps you away from a successful data strategy might be the same one.
It’s not about affordability, but readiness.
Let’s have a look at what some experts say a data strategy needs to succeed.
That’s the topic of Nick Ismail’s interviews on 6 experts reveal how to ensure your data strategy doesn’t fail. These, I believe, are the most relevant pieces for us:
Caroline Carruthers, co-author of Data Driven Business Transformation and The Chief Data Officers Playbook, says: “One of the most common reasons for data strategies failing is that they are not data strategies at all. Lots of organisations come up with strategies for data tech or data management plans, but unless you’re looking at data holistically, from the collection of data through to the management of it and everything in between, then you’re essentially building a one-legged stool. Saying that you’re going to ‘do data’ just for the sake of it is a sure-fire way of your strategy being a huge waste of time. If your data strategy isn’t fully integrated into the wider organisation’s goals and objectives, you’re just putting together a very hollow house of cards that will eventually fall down!”
Rich Pugh, Chief Data Scientist and Co-founder at Mango Solutions, also claims that data strategy must have purpose or will fail: “A data strategy should describe how data will be used as a strategic asset, enabling a shift to a more data-centric business model. If you’re not looking to change, you don’t need a “strategy” as such”. He insists a data strategy must align to, and enable, your business strategy. If it doesn’t describe how data will help to deliver your business objectives, it will have little impact.
Purpose or failure. That brings us to THE question. What do you want data for?
I assume the most likely answer is that your objective is having more insights for making decisions. What does “more insights” mean exactly? More continuous, more granular, more in depth? Even if those “more insights” help you make decisions, do you have a clear goal? Is that goal increasing revenue? Growing listener loyalty? Increasing listener engagement?
You don’t need to answer these questions now or to me. Your organisation needs to ask them to yourselves for finding alignment within, before designing your data strategy.
And please, do not underestimate the importance and the difficulty of insights. In my experience, what organisations in the audio industry must aim at is not becoming data-driven, but insight-driven. (I believe this topic deserves a stand-alone post)
For Deloitte Insights, Tom Davenport describes insights as understanding of the true nature of something by virtue of extensive and systematic analysis of relevant data. In the article The insight-driven organization: Management of insights is the key, Davenport analyzes how critical and complex the management of insights is, beyond the difficulty of the insights generation process.
Insights need to be produced but also accessed, accepted and understood by the rest of the organisation, which leads us to our second crucial element for organisations preparedness.
In his article 3 Secrets of Successful Data Strategy to get, Doug Bordano compares two very different attitudes towards data. Some organisations say “Do you want access to that data set? You’re not approved, you’re not in the right department”. They treat data as luxury. On the opposite end, there are organisations that treat data as utility. The author asserts that until everyone in your business takes data for granted and wouldn’t make a decision without it, you won’t really be a data-driven organisation.
Once we accept that data should be a utility, not a luxury, we have to think about how to get people access to data. Any future solution should be framed around getting data to people where they are, not getting the people to the data, Bordano says.
Lead Analyst Jeff McClelland wrote an article explaining why TransferWise doesn’t have a Business Intelligence team, despite being an incredibly data-driven company. They focus on ensuring that analysis translates into meaningful impact, fast. “Our greatest fear isn’t messing up a formula, it’s a much worse scenario: working tirelessly to produce cutting-edge insights, only for them to be ignored by the rest of the company”, he confesses.
An important part of not having a Business Intelligence department, McClelland adds, is ensuring that analysts do not become bottlenecks for data. All individuals are able to use data to answer questions, with or without the help of the analysts.
McClelland affirms that Business Intelligence is only valuable if something happens as a result: “If nothing changes for your customers, then there’s simply no point.”
Jordan Morrow has a very interesting professional role, relevant for us regarding both preparation and affordability when it comes to embracing data. He is the Global Head of Data Literacy at Qlik. Morrow helps normal people (not data-scientists) read, work with, analyze, and communicate with data more effectively within organisations.
By improving data literacy across the entire organisation, both the employer and the company benefit from smarter and faster decisions. Morrow’s formula for data literacy improvement is based on three C’s: curiosity, creativity and critical thinking. If you would like to learn more about Jordan Morrow’s work, don’t miss his interview on All hands on tech podcast.
This second element of readiness for a data strategy, openness or accessibility to data across the entire organisation, has proven to be one of the most critical lacks in the Radio industry, in my experience.
The area of the company closest to the listener in Radio is the On-air team. They are usually ignored during the data strategy design phase, excluded from the conversion of data into actionable insights and left as the last link in a communication chain that degrades vertically. Sometimes due to fear, distrust or misalignment. Always caused by a company culture that needs to be fixed before making any investment in a data strategy.
So, can Voizzup help you or not?
Actually, the elephant in the room has already been addressed. We can only help those organisations that are prepared or, at least, are willing to prepare in the ways we have described above.
Embracing an open company culture based on information sharing across the organisation and ensuring alignment with your common goals are essential for a successful data strategy. Whether the resources are large or scarce.
If your aim is generating insights daily for producing the necessary changes that increase listener engagement and, ultimately, enable continuous improvement, we believe we could be a match.
Voizzup can help on the technical and the human side. For you, we can collect data, interpret it, translate it into actionable insights, as well as train your programming department and show teams to embrace daily evaluation and coach your on-air talents to enable continuous improvement.
We are open to committing to a couple of productive discussions with your team, no matter whether it involves several departments or just a few colleagues, for free and without compromise.
If you are ready, so are we! Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org