Data fluency is a spectrum and those with less mature data capabilities are falling behind

Everybody needs to be able to work with data today the way everybody needed to start using email 20 years ago. We don’t expect only writers to know how to write—so why would we only expect data professionals to understand and analyze data?

At DataCamp, we believe that data fluency is a requirement for professionals and data-driven companies in the 21st century. Data fluency is the ability to understand data, communicate insights from that data, and ultimately to make more informed decisions. It’s about empowering employees with the skills to drive better business insights, faster. But just as with any other language, data fluency is on a spectrum of proficiency.

Every employee should have a baseline understanding of the language of data, and each individual’s data fluency should scale in relation to the complexity of the problems that pertain to their role.

To understand the current data fluency landscape, we conducted a survey of over 300 learning and development (L&D) leaders from diverse industries including healthcare, technology, consumer goods, government, and finance (1).

(1) Data referenced in this article is from a survey conducted August 15 to 29, 2019 by Training Industry of 303 L&D leaders with decision-making authority over training practices at their organization. Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.

Data-fluent companies are performing up to two times better in key business measures

We compared those who described their company as fairly or very mature on average across multiple competencies—based on their ability to build data-related skills, provide access to digital tools, and empower employees—to those whose company is fairly or very immature on average. Companies that have mature data fluency competencies are experiencing up to two times better performance than those with immature data fluency competencies in several important measures of business impact: revenue growth, market share, profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction. Companies with immature data fluency competencies are in danger of falling behind their competitors in these critical areas.

Building data fluency is a priority for 89% of companies