Information as a Second Language Enabling Data Literacy

Gartner Analyst Valerie Logan has written a paper introducing Information as a Second Language (ISL) as a mechanism for enabling data literacy for today’s digital society. Her full research paper is available on the Gartner website here, Valerie’s webinar can be accessed here, and we have been given permission to summarise her content in this blog to help raise awareness of this exciting new vocabulary and idea.

Valerie Logan Gartner

Valerie starts by saying;

Digital society demands of its citizens data literacy, developed for competitive advantage and agility. Data and analytics leaders must follow the example of English as a Second Language (ESL) and treat information as the new second language of business, government, communities and our lives.


Valerie introduces 3 key challenges that exist today;

  1. Chief Data Officers (CDOs) express within Gartner’s second annual CDO survey that the top inhibitor to progress with data and analytics programs is change management, rooted in ineffective communication across a wide range of diverse stakeholders.
  2. An information language barrier exists in organisations, which data and analytics leaders must break down if they are to expand data literacy across the entire enterprise. Though academic and professional programs are beginning to address the disparity in talent and skills, in many cases they reinforce this language barrier.
  3. While conversant in the “people, process and technology” capabilities of business models, most executives and professionals do not “speak data” fluently as the new critical capability of the digital era. As a result, data and analytics leaders struggle to get their message across to them.

She makes these immediate recommendations for data & analytics leaders, such as Chief Data Officers;

  • – Cultivate information as a second language (ISL) across business and IT stakeholders by first establishing the base vocabulary, clarifying industry and business domain “dialects,” and developing levels of proficiency.
  • – Drive and sustain improvements to your organisation’s data literacy by identifying areas where data is spoken fluently and where language gaps exist, and establish an ISL proof of concept for language development.
  • – Change the way you and others interact with leaders, stakeholders and peers by “speaking data” in context in everyday interactions, board meetings and as a basis for outcomes-oriented business cases.

Valerie’s paper is based on the Strategic Planning Assumption that by 2020, 80% of organisations will initiate deliberate competency development in the field of data literacy, acknowledging their extreme deficiency.

Additional Reading from Gartner

Why and How to Measure the Value of Your Information Assets

Seven Steps to Monetizing Your Information Assets

How Chief Data Officers Can Use an Information Catalog to Maximize Business Value From Information Assets

How LINQ can help

LINQ speaks data; we reconnect the data-information-knowledge value chain within your business. LINQ helps you to develop your data literacy through the capture of Information Supply Chains which visualise the flow of information in support of your business outcomes. LINQ values the data and information assets in your business, and communicates that value in a simple and consistent way that everyone can understand. We enable you to put data and information at the heart of your business and use it to drive new opportunities to create new business value. The LINQ Base Vocabulary is simple; LINQ describes your business in terms of information, actions, systems and people and how they contribute to your success. This removes the complexity of dialects detracting from understanding – you can apply your own taxonomies for describing the elements of your business if you have them, or use LINQ to enable that outcome for your business.

Our presentation of your data and information assets changes the way you think about your data and information. We enable you to benefit from this new language resolving the communication challenge which is such a large part of the problem that exists today. LINQ reconnects the diverse number of data, information and analytical experts that exist across your business and provides them with the common language which drives value through speaking data. Your team will become data language proficient. LINQ quickly helps you raise the bar as conversations lead to literacy and competency, ultimately enabling the cross section of experts to speak fluently to one another.

Organisations using LINQ are benefiting from the increase in data literacy; business executives are leading by example – they are controlling the conversation about data and information cascading the benefit of a standardised vocabulary to everyone which ensures that data proficiency increases at all levels within the organisation.

If you’d like to receive a full copy of the Gartner report on Information as a Second language please complete this form and we will be in touch. We’d also love you to contribute to the conversation, so please do get in touch with us at if you’d like to share your own thoughts.

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