Last month I had a great time speaking at Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose. The talk revolved around the idea that “when people are given the choice between knowing or not knowing what is going on, most people choose knowing.” But for many companies today, it isn’t that simple. Being data-driven isn’t just an attitude, or something you proclaim at a company all hands, it’s a hard-earned luxury.

I hear from companies all the time they want to be data-driven, but it turns out it isn’t always their commitment to a data-driven culture that holds them back, it’s the tools they’re using to access data. Existing solutions are slow, expensive and hard to use. They require data specialist, take days or weeks to return answers, and don’t enable the masses to use data on a daily basis.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Making data a natural extension of everybody’s day is something that companies can and need to be doing, and it starts with the right tools. Data tools need to provide answers fast, and do it in a way that is simple enough for marketing teams, yet smart enough for data specialist. They need to enable the adoption of using data daily, not hinder it. This is why I created a simple framework for evaluating data solutions to ensure they really will help a company be more data-driven. I call it FAST: flexible, accessible, scalable, and transparent. Starting with this simple framework will save companies time and money when evaluating the many tools out there.

What would you be able to achieve if your company was data-driven? Share your thoughts, we would love to hear them!