Defining how to measure the impact of data literacy programmes is a common struggle among data and analytics leaders, who strive to bridge the gap between qualitative growth and quantitative assessment.

Unlike traditional metrics, the effectiveness of a data literacy programme isn’t always quantifiable in straightforward terms. In this blog post, we explore innovative metrics drawn from CDOs and Data Culture Leaders that offer a new perspective on measuring their success.

A list of the top KPIs for measuring data literacy

Assessing the effectiveness of your data literacy programme is one of the hardest tasks for CDOs to grapple with.

The key question is: Are these programmes truly making a difference? More specifically, are individuals within the organisation developing better habits in terms of consuming, understanding, and applying data in their work? And crucially, what tangible benefits are these improvements bringing to the company as a whole?

In pursuit of these answers, Data Leaders held an exchange among peers for them to share their approaches, the outcome of which was a compilation of measures which steer away from superficial ‘vanity metrics’ and focus on meaningful impact KPIs.

While the quest to identify the most effective metrics is ongoing and the list is by no means exhaustive, certain headline KPIs emerged as frontrunners in measuring the success of data literacy programmes:

Total Confirmed Realised Value from Use Cases

Confirmed realised value of data and analytics on the business was deemed to be the top KPI. Value must be both realised and confirmed by the business for it to reflect actual impact rather than the optimism of business leaders who may have a tendency to inflate forecasts.

The number of requests coming from the business was also felt to be a useful data literacy KPI, reflecting an increased awareness of capabilities. However, the aim of most companies is to empower business units to become more autonomous. This should ultimately lead to a decline in requests to centralised centres of excellence.

Percentage of Turnover or Operating Costs Spent on Data

C-suite commitment is paramount to the success of any data-enabled business transformation programme.

CDOs report that some senior executives tend to pay lip service to the importance of data to their corporate strategy, but they don’t necessarily see words converted into action.

The percentage of turnover spent on data demonstrates concrete commitment to advancing data capabilities and skills. CDOs also consider it worthwhile to measure the tangible C-suite sponsorship of data initiatives and whether there is a publicly-expressed commitment to data in the corporate strategy.

Percentage of Transformation Initiatives Leveraging Data or “Pulling of Data Lever”

Every organisation has one or a series of transformation programmes underway, however how many of those programmes are looking to data as part of the long-term solution? Measuring how often the ‘data lever’ is pulled by transformation teams is a useful indicator of the level of data literacy within the organisation.

Establishment of Data Governance Office: Yes or No?

Data Literacy is intrinsically linked with Data Governance and data quality. The establishment of a Data Governance Office with transparency to board level is a relevant measurement of senior management’s cognisance of the value of their company’s data assets.

Usage and Access of Data Products, Applications and Pipelines

An easy-to-implement KPI reflecting evolution in adoption. Adoption should be defined in advance by persona (what is the optimum adoption behaviour and of which applications by each data persona group).

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