While most companies want to harness the power of data, the journey to determine where to begin or what are the next steps can be challenging. When an organization is data-driven, they base decisions on the analysis of data, instead of intuition, experience, rank or other factors. The concept of data maturity is related to the concept of being data driven.
Data maturity is a term we use to understand the degree to which an organization has the required elements in place to be data driven. In general, it can be described as how well or the degree to which an organization uses and makes the most of its data.
In reality, data maturity exists on a continuum. There are stages of little to no data maturity all the way to fully data mature. At each stage, there are multiple organizational features and practices that contribute to why the business is at that level of data maturity.
Organizations operate at different levels of data maturity, and it’s important to assess your organization’s current level of maturity to determine the next steps so your business can be on its way to being fully data mature.
In this article, we’ll go through the 10 major reasons you should assess where your organization falls in the data maturity scale and how to advance in the journey.
1. Identifies weaknesses
Assessing your organization’s level of data maturity will identify actions for improvements. It provides businesses a sense and a focus on what are the areas that need immediate attention. This also helps businesses improve efficiency and grow the business quicker – capitalizing on the data at hand. Moreover, having the ability to identify weaknesses from an early stage provides a clear understanding on items that can be improved that otherwise may go unnoticed.
2. Data governance alignment
If organizations don’t take an active role in their data governance, the data available will not be of much help. In addition, it can directly impact the bottom line. When a business has a mature data governance, every employee, team lead and department head understand the best practices and is able to optimize projects with the data at hand. Moreover, business leaders and data teams share a common framework around data. Data governance improves data quality and assists in ensuring the data is usable, accessible and protected.
3. Expands employees’ skill sets
When an organization prioritizes being data mature, employees are equipped with the skills necessary to turn numbers into narratives. The more people in the organization can understand and contribute their knowledge of the business to interpret data, the higher the likelihood of getting entire teams of multiple parts of the business moving in new and positive directions. This means that when employees use data to generate insights, they are empowered to make decisions that are relevant to their role. They do not have to stop and ask permission to act.
4. Establishes a data-driven culture
In a data-driven organization, data is viewed as a core business asset essential to business growth and success. When a business is data mature, data use is a requirement and a priority for everyone in the company. Employees at all levels are curious and willing to challenge assumptions with data, and data is regarded as the primary tool for decision-making by the entire organization. Data-driven organizations also offer training and support to help employees enhance their data literacy skills.
5. Explores new opportunities
When data is fully embedded in an organization, it can identify new opportunities for growth. Data mature companies are able to leverage prescriptive and predictive analytics to make decisions and power business strategy. In addition, organizations can make facts-supported decisions and strategic initiatives in an effort to reach the business’ goals. It’s important to reflect on what the data is saying and closely analyze the opportunities available to make informed decisions that will move the organization forward.
6. Provides guidance
Understanding the level of data maturity in an organization can serve as a guide to better understand customers and the market. In data mature organizations, business leaders and data teams share a common language around data. The language is tied to business goals, metrics and current business realities. Essentially, it’s a roadmap that helps companies put in place solutions based on data findings, providing long-term value.
7. Agility to adapt
Being data mature, organizations have the ability to quickly adapt to market changes and needs. Organizations have access to some much data, it’s important to assure the data being used is the most up-to-date and clean data available to ensure decisions being made are accurate. Big data can quickly and easily provide insights companies are able to apply in their strategy based on industry shifts and trends.
8. Innovation driver
Truth is, data-based decisions outperform opinions based on gut feeling. That is why assessing the data maturity of the organization will also establish a baseline from which the business can monitor closely as it progresses. The organization is able to determine the next steps and concrete action to take in data-driven projects. Data mature organizations have the ability to deploy new ideas that allow them to rapidly create, test and assess new products or services, accelerating the innovation cycles.
9. Competitive advantage
There is empirical evidence that data-driven organizations are more successful than companies that don’t rely on data to guide their decisions. Organizations that are data mature are able to improve their products and services because they have a clear understanding of their customers better. They can improve brand image and are able to foster new opportunities to market. Data driven businesses leverage insights and get a competitive edge on some highly aggressive markets.
10. Optimizes business decisions
Data and analytics are a central underpinning of a business. When a business is data mature, it can increase productivity and help drive data-driven decisions to exceed business goals. Data is explicitly used to track and advance the organization’s goals. Additionally, data mature organizations can make decisions based on the data available and not rely on intuition or gut feeling to forecast a new product or service.
So, what are the four stages of the data maturity continuum?
An organization that leverages data strategically can uncover new opportunities, gain a competitive advantage and boost return on investment.
Below are the four levels of the Pragmatic Institute Data Maturity Assessment.
- Data Naïve: rely on process and output instead of data
- Data Conscious: aware of data’s potential value but access is limited
- Data Informed: understand the value of data across the organization but use it inconsistently for decision making
- Data Decisive: empowered to use data in everyday decision making; there is a determined approach to data literacy and democratization
Take The Pragmatic Institute Data Maturity Assessment
The more data mature an organization is, the better equipped its leaders are to identify threats and drive decision making.
Complete the 24 questions in the assessment to discover where your organization falls in the data maturity scale and start building a data-driven culture. You’ll receive the full description of your organization’s data maturity category and a few resources tailored to your maturity level that will help your organization advance further.
Continue to Push Forward on Your Data Journey
Data Science for Business Leaders shows you how to partner with data professionals to uncover business value, make informed decisions and solve problems. Understand how business leaders and data professionals contribute at each stage of data projects to drive results that have real impact on your organization.