The 5 pillars of a data mature organization

The world is changing rapidly. What will happen to the related industries when pills are digitally enabled, or cars come to pick you up from your day of shopping automatically? The future is becoming too complex to predict using traditional approaches. You do not know what you need to know, yet you must act as the digital business is an unforgiving place where winner-takes-all outcomes are common. There are no boundaries to the industries or products it impacts: it affects B2C as well as B2B companies and product-oriented companies as well as service-oriented companies
Kevin Goegebeur

A need for smart & data-driven organizations

Core competencies for incumbent organizations are fundamentally different than those of the digitally enabled organizations. Consider brand-awareness creation: reaching younger generations with targeted tv-adds & nice-looking brick & mortal stores will not cut the trick. Social media marketing & creation of true experience hubs will.
Fostering core digital competencies (and specifically those that lead to competitive advantage) require the right mindset. For us, this means the following:
Applying holistic & integrated approaches that are driven by business needs and have clearly defined governance and controls in place.

  • Holistic – Consider all aspects of the organization, but don’t end there. Take a hard outside in-view across the industry, otherwise changes will be incremental and weak
  • Integrated – Enable integration with legacy operations at the start or foresee integration in the near future. The organization does not need another silo.
  • Driven by business needs – If it does not solve an immediate business need, it will not be used. You do not want to be in a situation where the project has ended, but the business case is no longer present.
  • Governance – While the “loose all bound” spurs (mostly wrong) innovation, measure what is measurable & redirect if the situation calls for it.

One of the key competencies of digitally enabled organization? Deriving timely insights on datasets & acting on it. More often than not data is present, but nothing is done with it. Or worse, different non-linked datasets exist, and discussion arise why discrepancies are present. Or worse, to remediate the situation the IT department is being given full autonomy to remediate the solution. Or equally worse, all actors are given sole responsibility to remediate the situation, giving raise to the creation of multiple different little projects with wrong scope fighting for resources (Mushroom culture). Tip: systems are nor the foundations, nor the first point to start on. It might temporarily elevate the pain.

Why data maturity matters

Companies & industry groups are at different stages in leveraging data to create better customer experiences. All of these are happening at different speeds & methods of acquiring (in-house vs bought), giving raise to significant differences in maturity between otherwise similar organizations. Organizations with a high data maturity will excel and build the foundations for future growth.
By focusing on the above outlined approach, we created an elaborate data maturity framework to assess the data maturity of an organization. The framework comprises 5 fundamental pillars. Each covers a key enabler and they are vital in growing a strong insights-driven organization.

  • Strategy – Incorporates the level of senior engagement on all data improvement proposals. This includes the set-up of a cross-departmental function to govern issues, sponsorship of Master Data programs, the vision of data as a value center …
  • People & Culture – Encapsulates the general state of people’s interaction with data within the organization. This includes relevant understand & skills, perception of trust, roles & responsibilities etc.
  • Data activities – Includes all aspects related to turning data into insights and ensuring the underlying data assets are good quality. Among others, this includes data governance, data processing, the availability of a competence center etc.
  • Business processes – Covers all aspects on how people & systems are organized to perform daily tasks. This includes people’s understanding of the integration of specific sub-processes within the wider picture, the level of automation, cross-departmental collaboration etc.
  • Systems & Tools – Captures anything to do with the technical side. This includes how the application landscape and technology stack looks like, which systems are used or what their level of integration is among them.


Want to know how data mature your organization is? 

Click here to take our assessment and benchmark to your industry group. 

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