Fast-Data Education

What your staff should know about fast data—and how to train them.

As associations take on fast data, their staff should understand data-driven decision making and how they contribute. “Data is such an important part of your job, regardless of what your job is,” says Association Analytics CEO Julie Sciullo. Historically, IT often owned the data, but today’s model is about everybody using data to make decisions.

To help train staff and enhance adoption, the Society for Neuroscience built a cross-functional business intelligence (BI) team. “It’s basically a few superstars from three or four different departments” who meet weekly and host open hours for other staff, says Liz Rumsey, SfN’s director of information strategy and business analysis. They serve as “champions of data analysis and of changing to a data-driven organization.”

The team trains staff on how to use the dashboards but also works to improve their “data literacy, which is not necessarily how to use a tool, but how to understand how to ask a data question—and being more comfortable in understanding how to read and communicate data,” Rumsey says.

As the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) has used analytics more, its role has evolved, says Emily Burke, director of data analytics. Along with helping member institutions make data-driven decisions, the association has realized it needs to provide a significant amount of training and support.
“We’ve designed video tutorials, toolkits, workshops, and consultations” to help members understand how to use the data, she says.

Along the way, ASPPH has also learned the importance of having good policies in place to manage, store, process, and report that data. “It’s definitely a very long and continuing process to ensure that the data is accurate, that members can use it for decision making, and that they’re using it properly,” Burke says.

Allison Torres Burtka

By Allison Torres Burtka

Allison Torres Burtka, a longtime association journalist, is a freelance writer and editor in West Bloomfield, Michigan. MORE

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