According to a Gartner study, digital leaders who encourage people to use data and share insights can generate up to three times more economic benefit than those who don’t.
If you’re rolling your eyes at that, we understand. Empowering employees to get involved in data-driven decision-making is easier said than done—but, when clarity is a priority, it can be done successfully.
When used thoughtfully and successfully, digital experience insights are like having a fortune teller who’s always right. Organizations that optimize and democratize DX data can proactively ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to interpreting complex datasets.
To demonstrate how to create that alignment day-to-day at work, panelists at a recent webinar tackled some of the most common questions about empowering democratized DX insights:
Elizabeth Simmer, Head of Customer Engagement at FullStory (Host)
Sudy Majd, Senior UX Research Manager at Squarespace (Panelist)
Lars Wiedenhoefer, Observability and Engineering Lead at DailyPay (Panelist)
Let’s polish off the crystal ball and get started.
What if you’re seeing a pattern of product decisions being made by personal opinion or instinct rather than data?
TL;DR: Measure opinions (yours or others’) by putting data-based controls (like A/B tests) in place so that instinct and opinion can be validated.
Looking deeper: When a project first kicks off—whether a UX research initiative or a new customer enablement program—there are likely lots of ideas floating around. And, that’s a good thing. Different perspectives lead to innovation.
“But then you need to pivot the discussion toward the quantifiable,” said Lars Wiedenhoefer. “How would you measure the impact of one of those ideas to find out if it’s working?”
“Ask ‘why’ over and over. Get a sense of where the ideas or assumptions being offered are coming from. Why would that be a solution? Why should we go down that route?” added Sudy Majd. “Treat ideas like hypotheses and figure out how to validate them as possible paths forward.”
What if the insights being delivered aren’t well understood?
TL;DR: Democratize data insights and document data processes to create clarity and alignment. Consider different means of unlocking understanding for your team and org.
Looking deeper: The most compelling data in the world doesn’t mean much if you can’t see where it came from.
“Sometimes we see data that people are talking about really passionately, but I want to know how to recreate it. So I ask questions like, ‘How did you build this, show me the steps,’” Lars said. “At DailyPay, we’re working toward having documentation around how we got to certain data insights and building shared dashboards where everything is easily discoverable. For example, in FullStory, you can see how every Segment or Dashboard was constructed.”
“At Squarespace, we always use written documentation instead of decks for communicating decision rationale to teams,” noted Sudy. “To us, decks leave too much room for interpretation. Writing everything out in a document ensures that insights aren’t being misunderstood within or across teams.”
How do you identify what skills your team needs and how to grow them?
TL;DR: Curiosity and varied perspectives drive innovation.
Looking deeper: Both Sudy and Lars lean on curiosity and innovation to drive their team’s skill development.
“My team is made up of great researchers, but I’m still always pushing them to look at different approaches we can be taking to questions or problems,” said Sudy. “Leading with a question like, ‘How can we do this better?’ lets people flex their creativity and curiosity.”
“Building on natural curiosity encourages broader innovations,” added Lars. “I like to remind my team that we don’t have to live with the status quo.”
To keep the ideas flowing, Sudy says she is always looking for ways to add new perspectives. In hiring, that means looking for people with skill sets that don’t already exist on the team. And day-to-day, that can be as simple as encouraging her team to read books and listen to podcasts about their area of expertise, and then share what they’ve learned.
How do you figure out if you have the data you need to be successful?
TL;DR: Weigh the consequences of not being able to answer certain questions about your product. How detrimental would it be to your users? The answer can help you decide how to proceed.
Looking deeper: “A product team could ask endless questions to feel confident that they’re moving in the right direction. You have to know how detrimental it would be to not answer those questions, and weigh the risks and benefits,” shared Sudy. “When I see a team at a juncture like that, I lean toward encouraging them to move forward rather than continuing to do discover.”
What if your team lacks a clear understanding of the decision-making that happens in your organization?
TL;DR: Clarity is key. If your team lacks clarity, others do too—which can be a reflection of a wider issue. Invite stakeholders into the discussion early and often.
Looking deeper: According to Sudy and Lars, solving for a lack of clarity among your team or cross-functionally requires managing on all sides. This can look like:
Managing down: Talk to your team to find out specifically what they don’t understand. Get all the context you need.
Managing up: Take the context you got from the conversation with your team up to the leadership level to encourage more proactive clarity.
Managing sideways: Often when a new project or initiative is launched, it takes cross-functional collaboration and communication to understand who the key stakeholders should be.
How do you drive a change in mindset so that data is treated as a first-class citizen?
TL;DR: Demonstrate how data is directly tied to business objectives and users. Structure it in a way that helps you tell a story.
Looking deeper: Proving that data is worth someone’s attention can take time and soft skills.
According to Lars, the first step is “democratizing and demystifying” data so that people around the org can see and use it for themselves.
“Then you have to pull the string a little bit by tying it back to the product, user, and business metric they care about,” added Sudy. “Show them how it makes their job easier.”
Discover more expert insights at the world's first Digital Experience Intelligence conference. Save the date for Spark here.