Seven Stages to a Data-Centric Mindset

Analysts who work with customer data are often frustrated by the slow uptake in its usage. They see a ton of valuable insights in their work that go to waste. They’re frustrated that business partners aren’t lining up for as much of this insight as they can possibly consume. What’s going on?

Are analysts unjustifiably bullish about their content? Are business people just anti-data?

No! (at least most of the time)

People are creatures of habit, so most changes are not instantaneous. Adopting something new is a process, not an event. To understand how to encourage business people to use more data insights, it’s helpful look at their path to adoption. That’s why I created what I’m calling the “Seven Stages to a Data-Centric Mindset.”

Here are some tactics that analysts can use with their business partners at different stages of building a data-centric mindset:

  • Stage 1: Resist: Try and understand the personal and professional goals of the individual business partners. Use that knowledge to discuss the value of the insights in terms of how it will help him/her achieve those SPECIFIC goals. As much as possible, use his/her language for metrics, measurement and objectives.
  • Stage 2: Consider: Show the business partner the data in different ways, trying to see how he/she may be able to use it. Do not assume that any existing reports or formats are the right ones. Look for what resonates with him/her and customize the data in those areas. Your effort in this stage is like helping someone find the right shoes in a shoe store. You’ll need to cater your pitch to tastes and desires that you may not have anticipated.
  • Stage 3: Request: Once the business partner is in this stage, you’re on the hook. You will need to quickly respond to their needs. They have interest in using the data, but can easily slip back if they feel as though you are unable to support their needs.
  • Stage 4: Incorporate: Keep in touch with your business partners and look at how they are using the information. They may have some modifications that they need, but more importantly they will help you identify new ways that you can add value across the organization with your analysis.
  • Stage 5: Envision: This is an exciting stage as business partners are really using the data insights. But they may create demands that are beyond your current capabilities or resources. Make sure to be a part of this process, but also manage the expectations about what your group is able to provide. This is also a place where you might want the business partner to fund new development.
  • Stage 6: Demand: In this stage, business partners will likely need dedicated support as data insights are becoming a fundamental component of their operations. Make the case that they might need more headcount intheir organization to support this “great” increasing use of the insights.
  • Stage 7: Embrace. Yay! Your business partners have achieved the final stage of developing a data-centric mindset. Use them to help “sell” the value of using your insights across other parts of the business.

The bottom line: Help your business partners develop a customer-centric mindset

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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