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Blog Using Data to Create Transparency & Authority Within Your Organization

Our president, Nick Beil, recently had the pleasure of joining host, Aaron Schoenherr, on Greentarget’s Authority Figures — a podcast discussing how organizations establish authority and move beyond the traditional notion of thought leadership.

During the episode, the two discuss going beyond the dashboard and into data, the relationship between transparency and authority, and data overload in the age of COVID. You can put on some headphones and listen to it here or continue reading the recap below:

The episode begins with a discussion on whether hard data or the stories behind the numbers carry more authority. Nick explains how data on its own is not something that carries authority and that, rather, true authority comes from the contextual awareness the data provides. To further highlight this, he provides an in-depth example of how contextual data is more powerful than data on its own, particularly within the COVID-19 pandemic. He sheds light on how conflicting narratives can emerge across an organization when everyone is forced to use an intimidating tool like a dashboard.

Today, we can easily access the information that we care about in real-time using Google, Apple News, Twitter, etc. Nick walks listeners through this paradigm shift and how it has changed the way people, particularly busy executives, prefer to receive and consume data. 

Aaron sparks an insightful conversation about the relationship between transparency and authority and the importance of trust. Reflecting on the early stages of our product, Lexio, Nick shares insight into building an AI that is ethical and trustworthy. He also reveals the barriers to full data transparency and how analysts can act as an authoritative voice within their organization.

Nick provides examples of industries that are ahead of the curve with their data strategy and which are lagging — highlighting that those ahead of the curve view a data-driven culture as a competitive advantage. He shares how he gets organizations that are behind to adopt the same mindset and reconsider their data strategy. 

The episode concludes with a discussion about the potential data overload amid COVID-19 and the leaders each believe have demonstrated true authority during the pandemic.

Main takeaways:

  • Numbers without context mean nothing. Data on its own is not something that carries authority. The authority comes from the contextual awareness that the data provides.
  • Most authoritative figures are leveraging data to enhance their knowledge or expertise. 
  • Executives want to eliminate the bottleneck present in the consumption layer of analytics.
  • Removing barriers to data ultimately creates more transparency.
  • Automated data stories are only as good as the data they are derived from — and sometimes, that data sucks. Organizations need analysts who can dig into the numbers, provide clarity, and act as an authoritative voice.
  • Companies ahead of the curve with their data strategy view a data-driven culture as a competitive advantage. 

As someone who is fairly new to the data & analytics world, I found this conversation refreshing, relatable, and insightful. Whether you are an executive looking to harness data and create more transparency across your organization,  or simply someone looking to gain insight into this industry transformation — this podcast episode is for you!