Just as Gutenberg’s movable-type printing press transformed a mostly illiterate European populace into a body of readers, so too do we need a printing press equivalent for enterprise data. However much we may like to proclaim the possibilities of data for enabling digital transformation, without growing data literacy those possibilities will fail to be realized. Fortunately, there are ways to improve data literacy among employees and customers.
Though we often focus on the technologies that enable big data, from Apache Iceberg to Google BigQuery, those technologies fail without people to understand the data behind them. As Gartner’s Svetlana Sicular declared over a decade ago, “Learning Hadoop is easier than learning the company’s business,” or its data.
The nuances of data—knowing which questions to ask of that data and getting some sense of signal amongst all of the noise—are critical to master and serve as a precursor to mastering data technologies.
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