TKI’s Interview with Google’s Chief Analytics Evangelist: Building a Data-driven Culture
The KPI Institute (TKI) recently caught up with Kevin Hartman, Google’s Chief Analytics Evangelist, to discuss how data is changing the way organizations develop their strategy and improve their performance.
Below is an excerpt of the interview, which will be published in the next issue of Performance Magazine – Print Edition.
TKI: How important is data today to businesses and organizations?
Hartman: It’s really at the center of everything now, and not just [in] business, but also private life and public sector life and everything in between. It’s data [that] should play a role in every decision that an organization is making — to make them more effective, more efficient… Data and [the] collection of data should play a role in any organization’s operations. It is really at the center of everything that companies are doing today, at least those that are successful.
TKI: What do you think are the challenges that organizations are facing in terms of using data or maybe attempting to use data?
Hartman: Ohh, there are many. You know, from organizations who just don’t have the digital and data maturity — meaning they lack the people, the processes, the technologies to really collect and utilize data. We see that as an enormous challenge. [There are] organizations [that] just haven’t made the investment necessary either because they don’t believe in the return. They don’t want to spend the resources, whatever that is.
But that presents an enormous challenge. Another is just the idea of organizations lacking the kind of leadership that is required to get that organization invested in data and its use, and moving the organization behind a mindset that says data is going to be important to us and we’re going to use data to drive decisions.
…I’d like to say measurement — today getting that right is a leadership challenge, not a technological one. The technology is there. [What matters is] how the organization [will] embrace that challenge and lead from a position of data being a strength.
TKI: Are there times when you’re able to apply what you do at work to your personal life? For example, are there practices at work that you think that people who are not really in the data world professionally can actually adopt at home or for their day-to-day activities?
Hartman: Well, data is a part of everyone’s life… You don’t have to be the chief analytics evangelist at Google for data to affect you. And so I think there’s a lot of crossover, particularly because people are awakening to the existence of data that they are generating online that others are holding and using. And so I think that there’s great opportunity for consumers to just become more savvy in how that data is used, who’s using it, and why.
And it’s no longer a secret should not be because of regulation. And so it — in that way — can become a bigger part of consumers’ lives.
For me personally, I’m in it all the time. I’m either in my work. In the environment and role. Or I teach at a number of institutions and programs, analytics, and so I am fully immersed in this idea of data and the data field all the time.
And it’s really the ability that I have or the opportunity that I have to be that practitioner and see what’s happening in the public sector and private sector, and then stand in front of a classroom of students with the expectation they have that I can explain that to them and make it accessible is really challenging and it keeps me kind of using both of those roles to strengthen how I perform in each area, right? Like my practitioner role at Google makes me a better teacher. My teaching role makes me a better practitioner at Google. So it’s a very symbiotic relationship for me.
To dive deeper into our conversation with Hartman, stay tuned for the release of Performance Magazine – Print Edition No. July 2022. Get updates from the LinkedIn page of The KPI Institute.