Why Your Company Should Care About Data Literacy


Data literacy is the ability to understand and communicate what kind of insights you can derive from your organization’s data. Being data literate means that you know what kind of data is useful to analyze, what you can do with the enormous amount of data your organization has, what kind of techniques, people, and tools you need to uncover the hidden value in your data, and how to communicate that value.

Data literacy tends to vary at different levels in an organization. For a manager, the most important skill is the ability to ask his data scientists the right questions in order to get the best possible solution to a business issue. In addition, managers need to understand the possibilities big data offers and have a general idea of the available tools and techniques. A data scientist, however, should be able to apply those tools and techniques in the best possible way in order to help others in the company gain the insights they need. But whether you are in a management, analytics or business development position, you would probably agree that you could always do a bit more to build up your team’s data science capabilities.

A pressing need for data literacy

Data literacy is a pressing challenge for companies today. There is a huge gap in the data science talent pool and companies are struggling to keep up with the pace of technological change. Business leaders are increasingly interested in the opportunities analytics and big data can offer, and the public sector is also starting to realize that there is an urgent need for data knowledge.

That’s why we have worked with Amsterdam Business School to build The Analytics Academy. With our courses, you can train your existing staff to develop the Big Data, Business Analytics & Data Science skills and knowledge your company needs. Our course for managers, for instance, helps managers understand the importance of analytics and enables them to engage in an informed and fruitful dialogue with their data specialists. Having the right information at the management level and the right data skills in-house is crucial to gain a competitive edge, uncover new ways of doing business and face your organization’s challenges with a creative and informed outlook.

What can you do to improve your data literacy?

The first thing you need to do is embrace creativity and keep an open mind. Old approaches and tools are no longer enough. You need to be open to change. In the past, our data was more structured, clear and organized. Now, we have a lot of unstructured data, we have to learn to uncover new tools and methodologies to get the right insights from it – and this means we have to think outside the box.

The next step is to understand what analytics and big data are all about. What kind of skills does your organization need? What problems are you trying to solve? What tools are at your disposal? What are the possibilities?

Finally, you need to develop your ability to communicate these possibilities to the rest of your team. Understanding and communicating this value is crucial to garner your team’s support.

What role does technology play?

To increase data literacy across your entire organization, you will also need to use the right tools. Most companies are hesitant to invest in big data platforms, given that they don’t always know what they need. ORTEC’s Big Data portal offers companies an opportunity to test different tools in order to find the ideal solution for their team and specific situation. The portal is a web- based environment where beginning and advanced Data Scientists can perform analytics without dealing with IT infrastructure installation and configuration. Through our portal and our training courses, we strive to equip organizations with the knowledge and practical skills they need to take their data literacy to the next level.

If you would like to know more, please contact Steven van Dijk, Product Manager Logiqcare & Software Architect at ORTEC Health Care, via Steven.vanDijk@ortec.com or via our website: www.ortec.com.

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Steven van Dijk
Steven van Dijk is Product Manager Logiqcare & Software Architect at ORTEC Health Care. Steven holds a PhD. in Computer Science from Utrecht University where he worked as a researcher on automatically constructing (learning) high-quality Bayesian networks from data with genetic algorithms.

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