Jordan Morrow, Vice President & Head of Data and Analytics, BrainStorm Inc.

Jordan Morrow is known as the “Godfather of Data Literacy”, having helped pioneer the field by building one of the world’s first data literacy programs and driving thought leadership. Jordan is Vice President and Head of Data And Analytics at BrainStorm, Inc., and a global trailblazer in the world of data literacy.  He served as the Chair of the Advisory Board for The Data Literacy Project, has spoken at numerous conferences around the world, and is an active voice in the data and analytics community. He has also helped companies and organizations around the world, including the United Nations, build and understand data literacy.


Have you been following ChatGPT and what is happening in this space, pretty amazing, isn’t it?  While the technology is amazing and has changed the world, how can an organization be ready to utilize this technology?  When we think of data and analytics, there are amazing technologies that can be utilized, but we must make sure as organizations, we are ready to effectively implement and utilize these technologies.  We cannot be sucked in by the latest shiny object.  For data and analytics to work at organizations, the organization must be ready.  This article will spell out how organizations can be utilized.

The first thing organizations need to do is ensure they have the right strategy and understanding of data strategy in place.  What is meant by this?  A data strategy should empower an organization’s business strategy and should be a part of the organization’s business strategy.  Data is a powerful thing that can empower these strategies but needs to be utilized.  You cannot just invest in tools and hope for the best.  Instead, the strategy should help an organization with the selection of tools.

Another thing an organization needs to be ready to utilize data from a more effective perspective is through the hiring of the right personnel.  Does your organization have a Chief Data or Chief Data and Analytics Officer? And I don’t mean just from the perspective of saying you have one, but it doesn’t sit in the C-Suite.  If you don’t have this, work to make it happen.  Organizations need CDOs or CDAOs at the C-Suite.  If you believe in the power of data, then you need the right personnel.  Also, don’t just hire data scientists and data engineers thinking this will take care of things.  No, hire them but for the purpose of supporting the CDO or CDAO and to implement the data strategy. 

Along with hiring the right personnel, you need to empower your workforce with the skills to succeed with data.  Data strategies should include different pieces and one of those pieces will be data literacy.  In order for data and analytics to be utilized in the organization, data literacy should be a part of the data strategy.  As an organization, ensure that the people in the organization can utilize what you are putting into place, both from a data strategy perspective and with the tools in place.  Utilize data literacy to empower the organization’s workforce. 

Also, for organizational readiness, ensure you have the proper data modeling in place.  You can say: garbage in, garbage out.  You need to ensure you have a good and intelligent data model in place in order to bring to light the data for the business.  As part of organizational readiness, having a sound data model is needed.  Utilize the right personnel to implement the data model and data strategy.

Along with the right personnel and model, an organization should adopt the right mentality with data and analytics.  Should the first goal be to drive machine learning and AI?  I hope organizations do not do this.  Instead, use the four levels of analytics as a way to drive the proper use of data and analytics.  The four levels are descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive.  We can go in this order within data and analytics. 

Ensure your organization is good at descriptive analytics before you just march forward with other levels of analytics.  With descriptive analytics, make sure they are powerful descriptive analytics and not just dashboards and metrics.  Make sure they are the RIGHT dashboards and metrics.  Then, through data literacy, empower the organization with the skills to utilize diagnostic analytics correctly and powerfully.  The majority of a workforce will be using descriptive and diagnostic analytics.  The advanced analytics of predictive and prescriptive analytics will be performed by those who are more technical in their data and analytics skills.  But, without using data and analytics appropriately and ensuring they are going in the right order, start smaller, start with descriptive, and progress to diagnostic.  Then, eventually, you are ready to use the more advanced data and analytics.  Don’t get caught in a “shiny object” syndrome.

One final thing you can do to drive organizational readiness, or the proper use of data and analytics is to ensure once you are progressing through data and analytics, individuals in the organization know how to make decisions using the data.  What good will it do in the organization to have all this data and hopefully, use analytics, if they are not using it to make decisions?  Ensure your organization has a good understanding of how to make decisions using data.

Overall, organizations can utilize technology to empower themselves better, but they need to be in a good spot to make this happen.  Don’t just jump in and buy the latest powerful technology because you may be frustrated in the end that it isn’t working the way you would like. Do things right, and hopefully, you will see data and analytic success.

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