by Caroline Carruthers

QA Group is working in close partnership with Carruthers and Jackson to deliver consultancy and learning interventions to help executives, senior stakeholders and the wider organisation understand how to deliver transformational value from data. The following blog by Caroline Carruthers and Peter Jackson, re-published with permission especially for QA's customers and for any other organisation seeking revolutionary opportunities from the best use of data.

There are many conflicting views and analogies about what data is and more critically how important it is to us. It is, however, generally agreed that data is your base component, the building block on which the rest of your information and insight stands. Nothing happens in a company without data being part of it, data comes into play in every process and every interaction.

Despite the critical nature of data and its importance to organisations both large and small, it is often not regarded as an asset in the same way as other resources, the standard mechanisms to govern, value and protect assets often do not apply to data, despite the potential value it can bring.

As data is so fundamental to every company, a shift in how it is viewed is emerging. This is demonstrated through new roles such as the Chief Data Officer, an increase in data science and a focus on data literacy across organisations, all of which elevate the importance of data in an organisation.

Data driven and data enabled organisations are being talked about, however what is the difference between data-driven and data enabled and what is the right approach for your organisation?

Data-driven organisations are either based on a data activity, such as Uber, Airbnb and Nectar; or wish to turn around their fortunes, driven by insights in data, to acquire more consumers, retain customers, increase customer lifetime value or decrease operational costs. They undergo transformation driven by data. They are, in effect, data companies to some degree: data is their major asset.

Data enabled organisations are those which use their data to deliver their business strategic goals and achieve successful business outcomes either for themselves, their customers or the community across which they operate. By using data and data insights as the enabler for business transformation, they can deliver their business strategy.

For the majority of organisations the overall goal is to be a data-enabled organisation. A company with governance and ethics built into how they treat their data can drive value from their data at a phenomenal rate.

Whichever level of change or transformation is attempted or delivered, the common denominator is ‘data’, that is, the insights in and the use of data. The commonality of data ensures that the ‘business’, ‘business outcomes’ and ‘business value’ are the focus rather than the ‘technology’, and that any transformation is initiated and driven by the business using their data.

It is, however, extremely important to remember that whilst it is the data that underpins and enables the business it is the people that underpin the data. An empowered team with the right skills and a deep understanding of the value of data, aligned against common goals is essential for success. This is key to all organisations, however especially those embarking on transformational change.

We live in exciting and challenging times. The world is changing, new companies are emerging and growing faster than has happened historically, while older more traditional companies are struggling to compete and survive. At the centre of this challenge and opportunity, whatever the prevailing political and economic environment or shifts, is data. And, in fact, in some cases, and in some ways, it is data that is shifting the political and economic environments. Organisations ignore the data at their peril, or they look to it for opportunity. One thing is for certain, the winners will be using data to drive change, transform and build the future.

About QA Group

QA helps individuals and organisations achieve their potential through world-class Learning Strategy and Solutions . This includes: training and certification, innovative talent solutions that solve both business critical skills and capability gaps, business transformation solutions, enabling change and transformation through engagement and education of workforces, and managed learning services. In addition, QA provides consultancy, apprenticeships and post graduate degrees on a range of technical, business and leadership subjects. With over 22 UK training centres – including Apprenticeships, Consulting and Cyber Academies – and a range of online learning options, QA offers an unparalleled set of learning solutions to both private and public sector organisations.

About Carruthers and Jackson

In the world we live in, data is recognised as an asset but organisations are still struggling with how to drive the true value from it. We look to all the exciting advances being made around innovations like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (augmented intelligence), but if organisations don't get their data right first, they are just building houses of cards. Carruthers and Jackson was set up to make sure this doesn't happen to you.

For more information on the products and services Carruthers and Jackson offer, please visit