Data maturity refers to the degree to which an organization uses and makes the most of its data. This article introduces our new Data Maturity Assessment and outlines the benefits of being a data-driven company.
The reality is an organization doesn’t pull a lever and becomes “data-driven.” It’s not one month they aren’t data-driven and the next month they are.
Instead, it’s a process.
This is why “data maturity” is such an important concept. It recognizes that there is a spectrum where some companies are using advanced data collection and analysis methods consistently at all levels of the organization and some have a few departments investing in more simple data projects periodically.
So, while there are many debates about appropriate data regulations and privacy, there is one simple fact: data is valuable and its importance in business decisions is expanding exponentially.
The Benefits of Being a Data-Driven Company
Why does improving your company’s data maturity matter?
Companies that don’t utilize data lean heavily on intuition, rank and industry experience when making decisions.
None of those qualities are bad, but they can have significant blindspots. For example, just because something worked in the past it doesn’t mean it will work in the future. Or, just because it feels like the right choice doesn’t mean it is the right choice. And, just because a person is a director, president or owner doesn’t mean they know all the right answers.
In contrast, a data-driven company will use market insights, trends and patterns found through analyzing data in their decision-making process.
As a result, they often experience several benefits including:
- Improved performance
- Increased efficiency
- Better products and services
- Faster speed to market
- Improved brand image
- Quicker/better identification of opportunities and risks
Pragmatic Institute’s Data Maturity Model
Organizations at this level do not use much or any data. Instead, they might depend on processor outputs to measure progress and make decisions. This organization might say things like, “this is just how we’ve always done things,” when pressed to explain the reason behind certain business activities.
Organizations at this level understand the value of data. However, they use data on an ad hoc basis and only by some people or in some departments. Mainly, it’s used descriptively to explain what’s happened in the past.
In organizations at this level, data is leveraged in the organization by most if not all departments and all stakeholders. However, consistency is lacking. Additionally, data is typically limited to describing the current state of a project.
Organizations at this level use data descriptively to understand the past and present. But, most importantly, they lean heavily on data to make decisions about the future. It is fully integrated into the organization. Meaning all departments and stakeholders look to data to optimize their workflow and uncover risks and opportunities.
Back to the Original Question:
How Data Mature is Your Organization?
Pragmatic launched an assessment to help you uncover your company’s data maturity. Ideally, many people in the organization should complete the assessment.
Afterward, you can compare results to see if there are different perceptions about how your company is currently leveraging data. Additionally, you can uncover if there are departments or people who are already on the path to using data in transformational ways.
The Journey to Data Maturity
It can take five or more years to reach full data maturity. This means you should give your organization enough time to make incremental steps forward.
Everyone in the company should understand the end goal, but also have realistic expectations for how much time it’ll take to get there. Utilizing micro-goals to document and celebrate progress can help prevent frustration during the journey.
In other words, it’s like planting a tree. If you know it’s not going to grow to full maturity in one day, quarter or even year, then you’ll have the patience in knowing that every step forward will come with added benefits.
Keep in mind that data is a byproduct of business activities. When someone visits your website, there is data about their session like the buttons they clicked and the visited pages. When someone makes a purchase, you capture data in the POS system. There is data generated from current and past users of your products or services.
So, while businesses can “find” data (as in purchasing it or establishing new ways of collecting it), more often than not, companies would benefit from learning to first manage the data that already exists.
You’ve completed the assessment and know where your organization falls in the data maturity continuum; that’s the first step.
The next step is to identify gaps. It might be areas of the organization that needs to start collecting and analyzing data or improving data processes.
Monitor progress with appropriate metrics, which isn’t always financial in the beginning. Instead, look for growth in areas like increased innovation, improved customer experiences or better efficiencies in workflows.
Pragmatic Courses that Support the Journey to Becoming More Data-Driven
Data Science for Business Leaders
This 7-hour live-online course shows you how to partner with data professionals to uncover business value, make informed decisions and solve problems.
Understand how business leaders and data practitioners contribute at each stage of data projects to drive results that have real impact on your organization.
Business-Driven Data Analysis
This 8-week live-online course teaches a proven, repeatable approach that you can leverage across data projects and toolsets to deliver timely data analysis with actionable insights.
You’ll leave the course able to figure out what a stakeholder truly wants, refine the project based on available data, produce results and provide strategic insights.