Data literacy: What is it and why is it essential for success?


Data literacy as info knowledge and education skill set tiny person concept Image: VectorMine/Adobe Stock Company leaders that are aiming to gain a competitive edge can do this by prioritizing information literacy for employees across departments and at all levels within their organization. With information literacy skills, workers much better comprehend how business data works and how they can utilize it, allowing them to be more reliable and streamline processes for the company. Continue reading for more information about what data literacy is and how to implement data literacy efforts within your business.

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What is information literacy?

Data literacy describes the ability to read, understand, communicate, evaluate and obtain information from information, all while putting it into correct context. Forbes defines data literacy as utilizing “data successfully all over for organization actions and results.” Data literacy is typically related to information science, which utilizes analytical techniques to theorize insights from data.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Database engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

Data literacy is generally thought of as a private skill, but it’s also an organizational skill; extensive information literacy helps organizations accomplish better service results as they gather more worth from their information.

With the growing value of information literacy in companies and the abundance of information, there is increased focus on developing data literacy training programs and appointing primary information officers to continuously assess and improve information literacy in the organization.

Why is information literacy important for your organization?

Information literacy skills are not just required by the analytics or the IT group; all departments and functions within a company can benefit from data literacy skills. Information literacy enables staff members to ask the right questions, gather the ideal data and connect the ideal information indicate derive significant and actionable organization insights. It also makes sure that all employees comprehend how to manage and use data in ways that are ethical and compliant.

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According to a current Qlik data literacy study of 6,000 staff members, that included 1,200 executives, 85% of business leaders believe information literacy will be important for company success in the future. The study also highlighted that the majority of magnate anticipate their groups to decide based upon data.

Amazing technological strides have actually been made in machine learning, artificial intelligence and huge information. However, there is a lack of data-savvy specialists who have the abilities to use information efficiently. With proper information literacy training, organizations will have the internal knowledge to enhance these emerging innovations for a range of commercial and customer utilize cases.

Information literacy is also important to the user and customer experience. It aids with faster decision-making, enhanced productivity and data-driven vital thinking. Workers can use data literacy skills to make their functional procedures more efficient, grow sales performance, and make other enhancements in their job tasks and duties. These enhancements trickle down to customers who gain from higher quality items.

Information literacy examples and use cases

The following data management frameworks and tasks work best when the whole company is comprised of data-literate personnel:

Data environments

Information literacy works in establishing and keeping a dependable information community, which can include physical facilities such as cloud storage or service space and non-physical components, such as software application and information sources.

Data governance

Organizations utilize information governance to handle their data properties so that they are total, accurate and protected. Data governance is not the sole duty of any specific group; the whole workforce should have the suitable information literacy levels to add to its success.

Many companies have an information policy that all employees should comprehend and follow. This consists of how to gain access to sensitive data, how to make sure information remains protected and other information processes.

Information wrangling

Data wrangling is the process of transforming raw data into a more structured and functional format. Information wrangling helps reduce mistakes in the data. A company may have individuals or automated software for information wrangling, however every worker that works with any form of data likewise plays a role in keeping information in an appropriate format.

Information visualization

Developing a graph of information, such as a chart or chart, permits data specialists to more effectively communicate insights originated from information. Visualization can consist of infographics, tables, videos, charts, and maps. Both the creators of these visualizations and the stakeholders to whom they are presented requirement at least baseline levels of data literacy to understand the ramifications of the information in front of them.

Essential data literacy abilities

The most standard information literacy skills include knowing the distinction between different types of quantitative and qualitative information, consisting of nominal, discrete, constant and ordinal data. Having the ability to determine the source of data is also an important part of fundamental data literacy. Knowing the type of information and being able to evaluate its quality assists to minimize data misconceptions and predispositions and makes the most of information understanding.

At an advanced level of data literacy, people begin to acknowledge the nuances and limitations of data. For example, a survey question framed in various ways can lead to extremely various answers and qualitative information results. Similarly, data visualizations can be deceptive. Data literacy helps specialists to lessen misconception of visual information, as data-literate individuals can recognize trends, gaps, outliers and patterns in information.

Whether their general understanding of data is more basic or sophisticated, it’s crucial for employees to understand data ideas that are relevant to their individual functions. For instance, anyone working in digital marketing would take advantage of comprehending marketing information terms such as web traffic, page views, unique visitors and impressions.


For companies to be truly data-driven, it needs to not simply be the tech experts who become information literate; everyone in the workplace must establish data literacy skills to keep business competitive and compliant.

Service intelligence specialists and data researchers can coach their peers on ending up being data literate. However, it needs to be an organization-level commitment that covers all employees with information literacy training courses and other resources for support.

Services might not instantly see the value of supplying data literacy education to all of their employees, however the long-term advantages are clear: Data-literate people have the ability to skillfully question and evaluate information logic, using their data-driven knowledge to each service problem they’re asked to fix.


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