Data Evangelism: Not Just a Leap of Faith

“When you become an effective evangelist, you don’t just promote your organization—you set an example for other employees. You show that you are a passionate, engaged team member. You inspire your colleagues. And you demonstrate your leadership ability.” - Guy Kawasaki


Data analytics is a cornerstone of the corporate world. In every corner, crack, crevice, and culture data is a trend. Progressive organizations know all too well that having a solid foundation in quantifiable data applications is beneficial.

It’s a no brainer that data plays a vital role in helping companies develop a competitive advantage. It is a data evangelist who steps in to help rein in and shape data analytics in companies so that organizations understand the story their data is telling them so it can become an asset and not just a disjointed pile of reports.

Why data evangelism matters

Data evangelists are modern day crusaders of gathering and leveraging data insights. 

Data evangelists possess deep technical skill to solve complex problems with the use of interdisciplinary fields, processes, and algorithms to extract insights from structured and unstructured data. 

That’s a little like saying that Steve Vai is a diligent guitarist, or that Michael Schumacher was a fast driver, or that Stephen King is an interesting novelist. 

Like those luminaries, a data evangelist is so much more than their title suggests. 

Data evangelists help make sense of large data, helping to convert, dissect, and manage findings so companies can grow by developing the right strategies to solve a variety of different business problems. But even more importantly, data evangelists translate large data sets into cohesive, meaningful stories that are grasped across the gamut of the organization. 

Data evangelists translate large data sets into cohesive, meaningful stories that are used across the organization.

How can data evangelism improve a company’s business performance, overall efficiency, and adapt decision frameworks to solve cultural challenges that emerge in the future? And how can data evangelism help broaden the use of analytics for the benefit of the organization? 

Let’s take a quick plunge into the abyss, take a swim and a dive and have a righteous good look. 

How to turn business users into data converts

Data evangelists need to create stories that inspire passion and establish trust. A solid data evangelist is able to connect the dots charmingly to build human connections to data by means of bringing technologies and consumers to life through an inspirational and influential narrative. 

Take the time to establish trust

The first step in helping decision makers leverage data as an asset is creating trust. It’s essential in forging new alliances and partnerships and winning people over, especially those who are unfamiliar with how important data is to their decisions.

A data evangelist builds trust by constructing bridges and building solid foundations to forge lasting partnerships and business relationships, by turning data points into a driving narrative that is gripping and helps influence decision making. 

Convey complex ideas via an understandable narrative

Once you have the data you need, interpreting it, condensing it, deconstructing it, and finally presenting it in a clear light is the next objective. Data evangelists can help business users understand their consumers, buyers, suppliers, and competitors by developing a narrative based on the information and insights the data contains.  

Conveying concepts clearly helps everyone engaged in the business to be on the same page, while connecting various departments within the organization itself. This also is useful in guiding organizations to adapt quickly to market needs while continuing to improve its product and service offering to its clientele.  

Empower and educate your business colleagues

Data evangelists can also embed a culture within your organization that offers more transparency—and thereby ensures that those outside of the tech sphere understand the value of data analysis and engineering. 

Here are some tips for data evangelists looking to empower and educate their coworkers:

  • Data hackathons can help open data to others in the company, in order to brainstorm new ways to visualize and find new approaches to effectively build predictive models. Planning out meetings to map out business needs can also do wonders. Formal chats or Zoom meetings while in lockdown could help start a conversation and help you to build human capital as well as greater awareness of and comfort with data.
  • Workshops and learning sessions enable guest speakers and specialists in the field to impart their knowledge and experiences on a topic that is engaging and intriguing. While these will likely be evangelist-led, having domain experts speak about the contexts in which data is used could be equally enlightening.
  • Newsletters can be used to focus on internal or external topics, can raise awareness, highlight developments, and help coordinate action. 
  • Electronic feedback and surveys will help team members and departments air questions and make suggestions using Google Docs, Survey Monkey or Google Sheets.  
  • Democratizing data science in your organization aids in collaboration and experimentation by using available data sets and algorithms to test new business models, optimize existing processes, and foster new insights through data driven decision making. By working with business users to create these tests, data evangelists can create organizational value by tapping into the wisdom of the crowd. 

Navigate to a brighter future with stories that matter

The business world will always need a data evangelist to interpret and communicate the data to create more organizational value and drive actionable insights. The volumes of large, complex data and their potential insights will only continue to grow vastly and with it the dire need for thorough, off the charts data engineering tools and methods to analyze the findings.

Explaining the whole story the data is telling in a narrative that is distinguishable, discernible, and definable will be beneficial to organizations and help in successfully navigating future hurdles across the business world. 

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