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Succeed With Data

Why data literacy is the next big thing

Facebook and Google and the other giants of the knowledge economy don’t own great factories, and they don’t produce objects you can touch, such as bicycles, radios or lipstick. What they do own (whether we like it or not) is a lot of data about the millions of people who use their services.

Strange thing, data. There’s so much of it these days. So many facts. So many figures.

Everybody collects data. The knowledge economy, everyone says, runs on data.

Yet the reality is that data is gobbledygook until you can arrange it so that meaning emerges.

We worked hard in the not-so-distant past to make our societies literate, to teach people to read and write.

The next phase of literacy is about making people and companies data literate.

Klipfolio is in the data business. Our mission is to help people succeed with data. That puts us on the front lines of data literacy.

Not enough people are there yet. By some estimates, only one-third of people today can confidently extract meaning from data. Imagine trying to run a business in which two-thirds of your employees can’t read or write!

Businesses today have no shortage of data. They know who clicks on their ads. They know what it costs to acquire a customer. They collect data on page views, page likes, and page unlikes.

But even as businesses collect this information, they struggle with two fundamental things.

First, they want to figure out which facts and figures are going to be most useful to them. Do website visits really matter to the sales manager? Or would that person get more value from monitoring the number of qualified leads available for follow-up?

And second, businesses struggle with extracting meaning from data. Meaning that will help them make smart, quick decisions while minimizing risk.

What, for example, does it mean when a business’s Click to Open Rate changes? Or when their Net Dollar Retention Rate changes over the course of a year?

Every day, we see people wrestle with questions like these. Every day, we help them learn.
There is no direct path to data literacy. It’s not as easy as learning your A-B-Cs. Data literacy grows through experience, curiosity and a dose of healthy skepticism about what you’re seeing.

It arises out of knowing the context for the data, having basic math skills to figure out things like ratios, and the ability to see and interpret patterns, trends, correlations and gaps in information.

The reward is insight.

Gaining that insight should be front and centre for every business owner. Becoming data literate will change your life.

You will be able to read the signs. Literally.


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Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1A5

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