Start with Data Maturity When Transforming Culture

Joel (name changed) is the newly-appointed CEO of QWS (name changed), an American health insurance company offering insurance plans for individuals and businesses. With a vision to make the company more customer-centric, he is planning a digital transformation initiative to bring QWS on par with the information era.

Joel knows that he would have to infuse data in the company’s DNA to make it more customer-centric. He understands the importance of every decision maker’s ability to “think data” and identifies it as one of the key values that would factor in the QWS' transformation.

To complete this mission, the health insurance company decided to partner with Aryng to drive data literacy across the organization. Our leading-edge expertise in building internal organizational capability on data and analytics had appealed to them.

The Process

We start the process by onsite analytics maturity assessment. We find that the biggest hurdle to QWS’ “think data” aspiration is the lack of data maturity, which is followed by a lack of data literacy (DL) and leadership vision. 

So, we bring in our business intelligence partners to fix the data maturity issue involving data re-architecture – setting up an enterprise data warehouse and acquiring more licenses of Tableau to enable self-serve new real-time access to data.

In parallel, we start working with the leadership via a voice-of-executive (VOE) to define the goals of the Data Literacy program, and specific subgoals by personas – persona defines by learner's job responsibility and how they interface with data.

Based on the learning outcomes, we propose a stratified learning solution plan by persona.

The execution and communication phase is kicked off by two onsite executive sessions – one for Joel and his direct reports and the other for directorial level personas and above.

From these sessions, the analytics agenda is crafted to identify the top 25 KPIs and the nine highest valued data-driven projects for the organization. The executives also pitch in to pick out 25 key champions that would lead these data-driven projects, while being trained to become citizen analysts. These champions came from across the organization – from claims, customer service, sales, healthcare, and finance departments.

Now, it is time to make the transition. We work with the L&D team as well as Joel to draft out a communication strategy to initiate the “think data” culture change. All employees are given our data literacy test to self-identify themselves as one of the DL personas.

We start by putting the champions through the citizen analyst program. The three-day onsite hands-on training program is followed by hands-on work by the champions of the nine projects, where mentoring sessions by trainers from Aryng support each project. The teams are using Tableau to pull the data needed for their projects and MS Excel for applying the framework learned (Aryng’s BADIR framework) on their project.

We recorded the three-day onsite training program. Currently, we are in the process of turning it into three web-based courses hosted at the internal learning management system for all the employees. The citizen analysts have started producing results from their projects, including USD 10 million identified by one group on claims saving, opportunity to reduce customer service SLA by 22%, and also identifying 5% NPS improvement opportunity.

Three of these citizen analysts are now being groomed for the train-the-trainer program for future citizen analyst projects. We have kicked off the evaluation and improvement phase and incorporating feedback from citizen analysts and executives.

The new MMM metrics have shown very good results for the Aryng corporate learning program. Overall “think data” is off to a good start and on target to drive over USD 40 million from the first line of high-value problem. 

Four Lessons

  • It always starts with the leadership – As we started this process, the first learning cohort were the executives. As our VOE went well, the executives were well primed to receive training on data-driven leadership.
  • Always initiate with live face-to-face learning sessions before moving it to online web-based training – It is essential to get the content right the first time. We ultimately won over the champions with it, using live training and feedback. Also, doing so in a live face-to-face session added a personal touch to the program.
  • Use framework/recipe-based learning – Using a recipe-based approach like BADIR made learning faster and accelerated. We took the rocket science out of analytics and made it accessible to all the personas.
  • Make the learning real through hands-on projects – Recipe-based training is a great way to teach new content to business professionals. However, just like everything else, if the training is not applied right away, it goes to waste. So, following up the training with the live hands-on project not only ensured that the learning is retained but also proved to be quick wins on the DL initiative and made Aryng a star.

Piyanka Jain, is an Amazon bestseller author, international keynote speaker and CEO of Aryng, a SWAT data science consulting company based out of San Francisco, California, the U.S.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends.