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The Power of Data: Benefits of Building a Strong Data Culture

By March 12, 2024No Comments

Business data volumes are growing exponentially and increasing in value. The sheer amount of data and data sources creates nearly unlimited opportunities to uncover actionable insights into industry trends, customer experience, product pricing and cost dynamics, operational performance, risk modeling, and more.

But to take advantage of these opportunities, it’s not enough to have the data. You must know what data you have and be able to access it quickly and reliably. You must be aware of the tools and processes that will enable you to extract maximum value from your data. And you must be willing and able to use them.

What is a Data Culture and Why Does It Matter?

An organization’s culture is largely defined by the collective behavior and beliefs of its people – the ways people interact with each other and approach tasks, and their shared points of view. A data culture is one that is driven by a shared belief in the power and importance of data. As a result, using data to make decisions, improve processes, and gain a competitive advantage – and managing data in a way that makes that possible – is encouraged and expected.

The stronger an organization’s data culture, the better its position when it comes to leveraging data. Organizations with strong data cultures classify and organize data as it’s created and in a way that facilitates efficiency, repeatability, consistency, and accuracy. They stay up to speed on developments and trends in data science and technology. Their mastery of data puts them ahead of the game in myriad ways, including reducing costs by not having to pay for the same information over and over, being in a position to leverage AI technology faster and more effectively, and even being able to offer clients valuable data they might not otherwise have access to.

Building a Data Culture in Legal Practice

ProSearcher Matt Davidson moderated a panel discussion at Legalweek 2024 to explore the best practices organizations can use to build robust data cultures.

The CLE-eligible session “Creating a Strong Data Culture to Make Your Practice More Efficient” offered enlightening discussion with several leaders in discovery and knowledge management in their organizations:

  • Sadie Khodorkovsky, Managing Director, Global Head of Legal Discovery Management (LDM), JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Jessie Torres, Chief Strategic Counsel, McDermott Will & Emery LLP
  • Sara Miro, Managing Attorney – Director of Knowledge Solutions, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

The panelists shared a number of tips for creating a data culture and getting colleagues on board. Here are my key takeaways from the Legalweek session.

How to Create a Strong Data Culture

The most important thing is to start. The panelists were unanimous on this and, as leaders of organizations that have successfully built strong data cultures, they offered some ideas on how.

Great first steps, in order, are:

  1. Understand the benefits of a strong data culture for your organization.
  2. Define what a strong data culture looks like for you.
  3. Get buy-in from the right people and engage them to champion and lead the change.

These steps really must be taken in order. To get the support you need, you must present a compelling business case. This requires a clear understanding of the change you’re proposing and why your organization should want to make it.

Beyond these initial steps, the panelists offered lots of advice for getting people on board.

Show people the benefits. Begin with the end in mind and reverse-engineer it to create a road map to get there. Keeping the end in focus, create a deliverable to show what could be produced if data were managed correctly. Bring the potential benefits to life.

Making data digestible and easy to find should be a key goal. The best way to get people on board with change is to demonstrate how it benefits them. As people see good data and knowledge management making their jobs easier and freeing up their time, they will become the biggest proponents. But you have to keep it simple for them to realize those benefits. Think visual dashboards that don’t require deep technical expertise to use. Straightforward and intuitive ways of organizing data allow people to easily find what they need when they need it.

Include those who will need to change in the conversation. Engage the people who will have the heaviest lift in terms of changing behavior in the initiative from the very beginning. Make them part of the planning committee. Hear their needs and even their objections. Make sure they know they’re not the only ones who will have to change. The message you want to get across is, “We’re all in this together.”

Take advantage of the moment. With the emergence of AI, and generative AI in particular, people understand the importance – the criticality, even – of addressing technology right now. Take advantage of the tailwinds that’s creating to convince people of the absolute necessity of a strong data culture to keep up with technology.

You have to fight for it a bit, or it won’t happen. Resistance to these projects is real. To get support, you need buy-in from those with influence. This requires a business case, so put one together. You might not get buy-in on everything you want right away, but that’s okay. The important thing is to start somewhere. As soon as you get buy-in, push your initiatives out to the organization. Don’t lose momentum.

Law firms and corporate legal teams alike have tremendous amounts of data that can be used to gain valuable business insights. Are you making the most of the valuable data in your organization? Get in touch with ProSearch. We’d love to hear about your experiences in creating a strong data culture.

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