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Creating and maintaining a successful data culture has become a priority for many organizations in the modern business climate. This is no different for Kuwait-based Gulf Bank, who recently decided to build out a data division headed by experienced executive Mariam AlOwaish. Within that mandate was for her to sort out the bank’s plans, build a small team, and execute.

Two years down the line, it is difficult to definitively say that the data culture has been embedded into the organization’s operations but there are promising signs. Things such as data literacy being increased, data-driven processes being implemented, and data governance witnessed throughout the bank all point to a data culture that is beginning to gain traction. AlOwaish and the bank also have bigger ambitions, which include artificial intelligence, shared language, data-driven innovation, data-supply-chain management, and even monetization.

But how can other organizations learn from Gulf Bank’s example? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to creating a successful data culture. Factors including the organization’s existing culture, leadership’s enthusiasm for data, and the team’s capacity for acquiring new skills need to be taken into account. No matter the approach taken, it is important to resist the urge to overhaul an organization’s entire culture in order to create a data driven one since this often leads to resistance and confusion.

In conclusion, while two years may not be enough time to fully embed a data culture within Gulf Bank, the organization’s progress so far points to the potential success of its efforts. As with any changes, what works well for one organization may not work well for another. Nonetheless, by looking for the aspects of their existing culture which will help create and move forward their desired data culture, organizations can learn from Gulf Bank’s example and build an effective data culture of their own.