- Data analytics informs important decisions, helps companies boost revenue, and creates the ideal work environment for employees.
- Accessibility to modern tools that capture and organize data is sometimes a privilege.
- Companies that are equipped with these tools and resources can close the data divide and help resolve issues plaguing the environment and society as a whole.
Data has historically played a critical role in the way companies operate.
Collecting analytics makes sense — it informs important decisions, helps companies boost revenue, and creates the ideal work environment for employees.
However, research from IBM shows that companies are not using data analysis to its fullest potential, creating a “data divide” that is keeping businesses from creating an equitable workplace.
More specifically, 67% of nonprofit organizations lacked the know-how in terms of applying data to benefit their message according to IBM.
“We found that organizations that are more advanced in data and analytics practices are more
effective in driving performance against mission and achieving internal efficiencies,” the report reads.
What is causing the data divide?
According to the World Economic Forum, there are four factors widening the data divide:
- Actionable solutions
Accessibility to modern tools that capture and organize data is sometimes a privilege. While collecting data is the foundation for many major technology companies like Google and Meta, nonprofit organizations often don’t have access to these tools.
For those who do have access, knowing what to do with this information poses another challenge. Having the capability to measure data and apply it in a beneficial manner requires the right talent and knowledge, which leads some firms to outsource their data analysis.
While outsourcing data collection seems like a simple solution, doing so can be expensive. For nonprofit organizations that rely on donations and investments, or small businesses tight on cash, this poses a challenge.
Seeing how data collection can lead to real actional solutions can sometimes feel far-fetched. Without tangible proof that data analysis is boosting an organization’s operations, leaders may disregard its necessity.
Different ways to collect data
Data can be collected in a myriad of ways, but understanding the best ways it can be applied changes how a company is perceived.
Some methods to collecting data in the workplace include:
- Employee feedback surveys
- Taking a pulse on the workforce can help inform and guide leaders to make the most effective operational decisions, as well as receive insight into how satisfied (or unsatisfied) workers are.
- Customer service surveys
- Encouraging customers or clients to participate in customer service surveys gives leaders insight into what is and is not working with current policies or strategies.
- Utilizing booking systems
- Companies that incorporate booking software can use this data to understand how their space is being used and adjust the office to better accommodate occupants.
- Monitor smart systems
- Buildings that utilize smart systems can also see how employees are interacting with these tools. From there, companies can adjust the heating or lighting depending on the time of day, which can help reduce energy consumption.
These are just some of the sources that companies and organizations can collect data from.
While leaders can take this analysis and make decisions that benefit the company (as they should), much more can be done with data in a way that impacts society and the global economy.
So what could happen if leaders did fully utilize these analytics?
Closing the data divide benefits the world
Companies that are equipped with these tools and resources can close the data divide and help resolve issues plaguing the environment and society as a whole.
Although much of investment into analytics technologies is focused on modern technology such as driverless cars, a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds that venture capital investment into AI startups has grown to $75 billion.
So to say there is room for companies to broaden their investment choices would be an understatement.
Giving nonprofit organizations, whose sole purpose is to make an impact on the world, access to the right data can help resolve global inequities such as poverty, education accessibility, gender and race disparities, climate change, and everything in between.
The past few years have seen the rich become richer, while the poor become poorer.
Companies that ignore their role in making a change in the world lose out on improving the lives of others, while also hurting their reputation with the public.
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies have become a bigger priority from the consumer standpoint. So much so, that a PwC survey showed that 76% of customers said they would stop purchasing from companies that treat the environment, their employees, or the community poorly.
Addressing wider issues isn’t just a nice public relations move any longer — companies that want to maintain customer and employee loyalty should shift their focus on how closing the data divide can help the world at large.