Introducing a Value-Centered View of Data Maturity

What Are You Doing with Your Data?  |  March 21st, 2017

The great data rush is well and truly under way. Across virtually every industry, companies large and small are committing serious money to standing up their data infrastructure, beefing up capabilities, and hunting for the value hidden in their data—but often without a clear plan. No wonder that many of the business leaders we speak with suspect their initiatives are underperforming. The complaint we hear most frequently, regardless of industry, is that technology investments aren’t generating the expected returns.

These leaders naturally want to know what their companies are doing right and where they’re missing the mark. For many, the next step is to assess the capabilities already in place. Typically, these assessments focus first on various data management and governance concerns, with most of the questions keying into how data is gathered, cleaned, validated, controlled, and protected. Important topics all, to be sure, but by concentrating on tactical and operational data tasks, organizations risk overlooking important strategic considerations.

To put it another way, benchmarking what your company is doing to data is necessary but insufficient. It’s even more important to know what your company is doing with its data to deliver returns on substantial investments in data capabilities.

Like everything else we do at Silicon Valley Data Science, our approach to data maturity focuses on generating value from data. It explicitly recognizes the central role that data and analytics play in today’s enterprises. It emphasizes business outcomes. And by zeroing in on what matters to a company, it helps lay the foundation for the changes needed to reach business objectives.

The questions that underpin our approach are designed to measure how effectively an organization has developed the people, processes, and systems that enable it to be truly data-driven. We don’t just benchmark operational capabilities, we measure how far an organization has progressed toward generating value.

Having helped clients take these soundings as part of many of our engagements, we realized the need to formalize the approach and organize it into a full-blown maturity model—one that not only helps you know where you stand but also keeps your eye on the ball. Now we’re releasing it into the wild, hoping to change the conversation on maturity.

Although it won’t give you a full picture of your organization, it will help you gain a better sense of your company’s data maturity and spark productive exchanges with your colleagues. Is your organization using data just for generating reports or focusing on use cases in mission-critical areas? Or is it putting data first in every business activity? Knowing where you stand will increase your understanding of your organization’s potential, provide a baseline for measuring progress, and give you a framework for thinking about your data operations and how they might compare with the competition’s and your industry’s as a whole.

After a self assessment, you might be interested in a more extensive conversation with us. We’re happy to talk. Whatever form the conversation takes, you’ll have an opportunity to start determining whether your organization has the right capabilities to be competitive, what industry leaders are doing, and where and how to start the data transformation that positions your organization for success. It can be a big step toward a data strategy that delivers real returns on your investments in data.