Using ERDs to unlock a Data-Driven Culture



For business leaders needing to unlock the potential of an organization they know is there but yet unrealized, switching to a data-driven culture may be the answer. In essence, changing to a data-driven culture involves a change in mindset where data is not a by-product but an asset. Data is used to make key strategic decisions. If implemented correctly such a shift in corporate culture can allow for increased stakeholder engagement and buy-in to better serve customers and consumers.



Several organizations have already dedicated a host of resources to researching the potential behind such a mindset change. One MIT professor found that if adopted a company could see an improvement in output and productivity of up to 6%. Research conducted by Forrester revealed that data-driven companies are growing at 30% annually with one senior researcher stating in a webinar, “For a typical Fortune 1000 company, just a 10% increase in data accessibility will result in more than $65 million additional net income.”

However, unlocking next-level productivity is not as easy as one day sending out a company-wide memo saying that the company is now data-driven. It involves a complete redesign of how all involved view data. As mentioned above, data can no longer be viewed as a by-product but an asset which if used correctly can drive the organization to new heights. Changing the entire business culture can be a difficult task but this can be supplemented by technologies that bring data visualization to the fore.



There is a wealth of information online about how to shift both culture and employee mentality. This is not the scope of this article, rather, it is to show how entity relationship diagram tool, often in the form of a software package can assist in a culture change. ERD, or to give it the long-form name entity relationship diagram, the software can be used to map and visualize an organization’s database. For simple applications, ERD principles can be used to draw by hand data relationships but when a database is terabytes this could take longer than an employee's working life-span.

The old adage that time equals money is equally true to a data-driven culture. Data needs to be readily available when required, this allows for the quick modification of strategies to better exploit current market realities. An ERD tool can enable quick retrieval data from a database providing the necessary factual basis for a change in course. Further, the data can be provided to employees and stakeholders easily and quickly, and in an easy to comprehend manner, so that all parties are working on the same page.



ERD tools can be a massive assist to organizations looking to adopt a data-driven culture. Such tools are capable of allowing all involved to visualize how databases are constructed and where the vital information stored in the database is. From there, it is easier for an employee to exploit or manipulate the data to better operations and productivity as the employee is not spending ages just trying to find the necessary data.

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