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The Impacts of Data Literacy and Its Related Programs

Data literacy aspires to ensure sufficient levels of training, understanding, and capabilities such that employees—at all levels—can develop meaningful insights from data and know how to apply data to benefit the organization. Data-literacy programs aim to enable these capabilities in a deliberate manner.


During a recent #BIWisdom tweetchat on data literacy, one participant emphasized the importance of data literacy as a key to unlock the utility of data:
First [people] just need to understand data, how to model it, where it comes from, how it can be interrelated. Then they can manipulate, analyze, and visualize.


Our data show that higher levels of data literacy and data-literacy programs are associated with business intelligence (BI) success, the presence of formal data leadership, greater frequency of data-driven decision-making, and an easier ability to find analytic content.

1. Success in BI initiatives continues to correlate positively with data literacy and data-literacy programs.
2. Organizations with formal data leadership report higher levels of data literacy than organizations without these roles.
3. Organizations that indicate they make data-driven decisions all the time also report the highest levels of in-place or planned data-literacy programs.
4. Data literacy plays a key role in how easily users can find analytic content.
5. Organizations whose employees have the most access to BI tools also report the highest levels of data literacy.
6. Organizations with higher BI penetration rates also report greater levels of in-place or planned data-literacy programs.
7. By function, industry, and organization size, data show that data-literacy levels vary only slightly, and, for the most part, higher levels of data literacy are associated with more instances of in-place or planned data-literacy programs.

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