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Culture is the barrier to becoming a data-driven, customer-centric business

Collaborative, customer-centric models are seen as the way forward for business, but culture is hindering adoption of the practices required to enable improvement in the customer experience

Culture hinders data and virtual reality adoption

Organisation culture is the biggest obstacle to the adoption of analytics and data sharing aimed at improving the customer experience, according to the 2018 Data & Analytics Global Executive Study and Research Report by MIT Sloan Management Review.

According to leading executives interviewed for the report, the importance of data and analytics to improve innovation, decision-making, planning and customer satisfaction is understood, but creating an analytics-based culture is proving difficult.

One executive in healthcare says regulation is slowly moving companies towards creating new relationships where competitors are now seen as partners, “but the culture and the human aspect behind it is a lot more difficult to change. It is that cultural piece that’s going to be the biggest obstacle, not the technology piece”.

If people don’t come with the data, it’s almost not a legitimate conversation

Improving customer experience through the analysis of multiple data sets requires data-sharing processes and policies. Traditional organisational structures and silos are often a barrier to this. MIT says one leadership task is to identify data bottlenecks and support cross-functional data sharing.

Helping people to see the link between their role and the customer outcome is also important. In particular, data and technology experts within the business need to understand the connection between what they do and the end customer experience.

As one executive says: “If you can help people draw the parallel between the digital engagement platforms that they build and enhance and the final outcome with customer satisfaction results, then they rally around it, and they’re celebrating part of the success every time we move five points forward towards our objective. Everybody’s very happy and feels they’re contributing to it. It’s a cultural motivator.”

Another says there is a continual question between where analytics should live. Sometimes it makes sense to run it from the centre and other times it is best to manage from local teams. “The question of where it resides and how it interfaces with business groups is continuous. It needs to fit with an organisation’s strategy and goals for it to make sense.”

In those organisations where the culture is analytics-driven, conversations in the c-suite focus around data. As one executive says: “If people don’t come with the data, it’s almost not a legitimate conversation.”

MIT surveyed more than 1,900 business executives, managers and analytics professionals.

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