By Alex Wirtz, Head of Technology Curriculum at Alpha Development
In this article, I want to focus on how to progress the conversation around Data and Analytics in the organisation. This broadly divides into:
For the former, I recommend Alpha Development’s series of video shorts demystifying Data Literacy.
Here, let’s focus on the second.
What obstacles do Learning and Development professionals face in these internal conversations?
Well, the roadblock I’ve seen and heard about most frequently is where the stakeholder is assumed to be the Chief Data Officer, Head of Analytics or some such similar role. Roles such as these can represent a somewhat niche community. They’re surrounded in many cases by Data Engineers, Machine Learning specialists, Quant Finance and/or Machine Learning PhDs. An amazing place to be; but it’s not always representative of the organisation at large.
So, who to turn to? And how should we correctly characterise the broad range of data skills needs within an organisation? Let’s turn to our old friend from client-centred design: the user story.
“[…] a role-based, persona-driven learning journey is more effective at scaling data fluency training programs. Every persona has a different relationship with data and would need to acquire competencies in different tools, and grow different skills to thrive in the digital age.” Source: DataCamp
So what are these roles? The DataCamp article lists them as follows. What’s important to note is that the number of employees who fulfil these roles (and so potentially need training) increases exponentially as you iterate through the list:
(for a fuller description of these roles, follow the link to the article, The L&D Guide to Data Fluency – Data tools and data personas)
So: when preparing to have those tricky internal conversations, one of the first things you should consider is a stakeholder matrix – traditionally, a classification of stakeholders based on power to influence, the legitimacy of each stakeholder’s relationship with the organisation, and the urgency of the stakeholder’s claim on the organisation.
One way to quantify urgency and legitimacy is to ask: how many employees can we reach?
Assuming our goal is to engender data awareness and fluency firm-wide, numbers like these matter. Even if the final decision rests with someone whose role most closely fits the top of the list above, given the relative scarcity of such roles you should aim to get representation from the more densely populated interested groups near the bottom of it.