Empowering Energized Data

Empowering Energized Data

This is the final article in a four-part series on Energized Data, written by Yes Energy’s Director of Data Products, Sonya Gustafson.  In this series, Sonya explains what Energized Data is, how to create it, analyze it, and empower it within your organization.

Our prior posts focused on what Energized Data is, specifically the data engineering to capture data and then the data pipelines and tools to analyze data. In this post, we’ll take a step back and make sure the groundwork is laid to energize and empower your company around data. Creating an Energized Data culture is more than just writing down priorities - you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. This includes prioritizing, learning, enabling everyone in your organization, creating tools that reduce time to insight, and minimizing the chaos around data.

Before we get into specifics, empowering your business to energize and engage with data requires support from every level of the organization.  An Energized Data Organization integrates data-driven approaches into its culture.  Data is valued, and insight is shared.  Data becomes part of the company’s DNA, creating a natural and consistent part of the company’s identity.  At Yes Energy we take a unique approach to the key cultural components of empowered data companies.  One of our company values states “nerds are cool”, this encourages our team’s curiosity and intellectual drive.  We inspire our team to remain undaunted in the face of challenges, and we create a safe space for failure which encourages learning and innovation.  Yes Energy’s core competencies are centered around collaboration, technology, and innovation, and we remind everyone of these priorities every day to help encourage these competencies as a piece of our cultural DNA.  

Incremental change leads to incremental innovation.  This is a hard, slow process for Energized Data Organizations.  Organizations that embrace learning can create a natural pathway to faster, more significant innovation.  If it’s vital to your organization to create a strategy around data lakes, then it’s necessary to prioritize projects that require using data lakes to solve a problem.  If you aren’t sure which technology provides the best replication experience for your pipeline, set up team-driven Proof of Concepts (POCs) so everyone has an opportunity to learn about the variety of solutions available.  At Yes Energy we have practice groups for established technologies and a Technology Adventure Club to talk about new technologies and solutions.  This helps us prioritize maintaining and teaching the existing technology stack, but also creates a welcoming environment for innovation.         

Everyone from your executive team to the newest analyst should know how to find data and utilize it in your organization.  The data they need may be different!  We’ve found a variety of approaches to help onboard new data users. Often, our new customers are not only learning new solutions but new positions and industries as well - so minimizing complexity is key.  Create visuals to help simplify the data. A picture is worth a thousand words, a chart is worth a million data points.  Go beyond the data and data pipelines, practice storytelling that transforms data into relatable, repeatable, and understandable information.  I recommend building communities around data so expertise isn’t isolated to an individual, and knowledge is freely shared throughout the organization.  Consider Slack or Teams channels to allow knowledge sharing and accessibility across teams and physical locations.  

It’s also prudent to consider security when granting data access - not everyone needs every piece of data, and it’s acceptable and also necessary to limit data access when applicable!  And this is specifically true for customer and personal information.  But at the same time, realizing some level of data and company transparency helps build trust and a better culture.  If the information is not private and empowers your team, consider sharing insight that will help them engage and solve problems side by side with all levels of the organization.  

Finally, after your team is familiar with the data and the process to access data, help them come up the curve with new data as quickly as possible.  Create consistency - this will allow users to apply previously learned lessons to new datasets.  Follow data protocols across different technologies so someone familiar with REST can navigate your API, and database developers can quickly learn your relational database.  When consistency doesn’t quite get you there - document it!  Yes Energy has technical documentation covering every column, every input, every output, and every integration. Building data catalogs can also help new users find data.  Make sure all material you create is centralized and visible - finding documentation should be easier than finding the data.  Put this documentation in places that make sense for the intended audience - this can include code repositories, intranets, and websites.  

Embedding data within your team’s culture and workflow will allow for Energized Data.  With time, data-driven approaches will be easier to create, and solutions will be faster to find.  Energized Data will allow you to scale your business and tackle both today's and tomorrow’s problems.  Through data engineering, pipelines, and empowerment, you’ll have the tools you need to both develop and sustain a data-driven business.  

Do you want to learn about how Yes Energy empowers its customers?  Contact us to chat with our experts!   

 

Gustafson_HeadSonya Gustafson is the Director of Data Products at Yes Energy. In this role, Sonya works closely with our customers to identify the new data we should collect and the next technology our customers require to utilize data. She's passionate about data engineering and creating actionable data from the data we collect. Sonya's an avid eco-tourist who loves experiencing new places with her fly rod.

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