Why You Need a Data Management Maturity Assessment

Are you investing money in Business Analytics, Machine Learning, Big Data or Artificial Intelligence? The answer is almost certainly “yes”.

As a result you ought to have invested in Data Management beforehand. Did you? I’m going to guess the answer to this question is probably “no”.

Let’s fix that.

Why Should I care about Data Management?

Let’s face it, Data Management does not sound as sexy as Artificial Intelligence. If you’re an Executive leader you’ll start frothing at the mouth at the prospect of a juicy dashboard that’s going to show you what business decision you need to make next. You’ll positively swoon when you see the Predictions from your AI model that tell you what new product to launch, or which new market you can go on and Dominate. But how do you know whether those reports are accurate? How much can you truly trust the decisions you’re about to make? That’s where Data Management comes in.

Think of Data Management as the prep work you do before a big meeting. You don’t just waltz into the office and blurt out information without making sure it’s correct. First, you do your homework. Then you check your facts and figures. Finally you feel confident enough to make your case. Data Management does that for all your Enterprise Data.

Where does Data Maturity Fit into this?

Do you know how well you are managing your data today? Do you know whether your organisation values their data? Can you confidently predict which Data Management activities will deliver the greatest value to your organisation? If the answer to those questions is “no”, then you need a Data Management Maturity Assessment. Read on!

What can I use a Data Management Maturity Assessment for?

Data Management Maturity Assessment Results
See how you stack up against key Data Maturity Dimensions.

I presume you are here because your Organisation is aiming to improve your Data Management capabilities, or because you would like your Organisation to improve its Data Management capabilities.

In order to improve anything, you first need to know what capability it has today. “What Gets Measured Gets Managed” is the mantra. In order to measure your Data Management capabilities, you need to run a Data Management Maturity Assessment.

How can I use my Data Management Maturity Assessment Report?

Our report is targeted at those looking to improve or enhance key areas of their Data Management capability. The report gives you a sense of the areas you could focus your attention on, and scores you against each. Armed with the scores you can build a roadmap and Data Management Strategy that will take you where you want to be.

Because you were a smart cookie, you also ended up with a Baseline View of Data Management in your Organisation before you started the hard work. This means you have proof to show your Business Stakeholders that the work you do has value. You can repeat the quiz later in the year and demonstrate what great work you’ve done. So come back and re-run this in 6-12 months time to understand how much progress you have made. Show that to your boss to justify next year’s Data Management spend!

Without the Report you run the risk of:

  1. Missing the opportunity to prove your value to the Organisation
  2. Lacking the ability to accurately describe the current state of Data Management to the Organisation
  3. Not knowing which parts of your Organisation need improvement the most

What Do the Different Maturity Levels Mean?

The model we have adopted uses the Capability Maturity Model framework, which breaks your maturity into 5 different levels:

Level 1 – The Initial Level

Transition from Level 1 to Level 2 of the Data Maturity Assessment

This basically means you’ve not stood up a Data Management function yet. As a result, your data is at risk. It’s quite likely that your data is scattered around the organisation.

Typically in this stage you will have no formal processes for managing data. The costs in this level are largely in:

  1. Duplicate data – you’ll have multiple copies of data and reports that you’re paying to keep. Different teams might have different versions of the same data which costs money in missed invoices and missed opportunity.
  2. Project overruns. Because your data is unmanaged, you will keep having to clean and organise data for every single IT project. This causes delays and project overspend and is extremely wasteful.
  3. Risks of corruption or unauthorised access. You won’t know where your data is stored and who has access. As a result it could be easily lost or stolen. This could cost time to replace the data (if you’re lucky). The worst case is a massive GDPR fine for losing Personal Information.
  4. Re-work as your team battles data quality issues. How much time does your monthly close process take? This is wasted time trying to understand what expenses are for and how to reconcile invoice payments. How much of your sales team’s time is wasted looking for the right contact details? This is wasted time that prevents them from making more sales. Have you seen how much money it costs to send an order to the wrong address?

Hopefully you can see the need to move away from such a poor level of Data Maturity.

Level 2 – The Repeatable Level

Moving from level 2 to level 3 of the Data Management Maturity Assessment

At the repeatable level you have begun taking steps to fix the issues identified above. However your efforts to do so are likely to be limited. It’s quite likely that the work is being done in pockets and not across the Enterprise as a whole. This can lead to different approaches and inconsistencies of meaning.

To move up from this level you need to make efforts to stand up a dedicated, Enterprise-wide team that performs Data Management.

Level 3 – The Defined Level

Moving from Level 3 to Level 4 of the Data Management Maturity Assessment

At this level you’ve begun to make some progress. You have probably got some policies and processes in place. By this level they ought to be reasonably well defined and adhered to.

It’s quite likely at this point that your Management team states “Data is an Enterprise Asset”. At the same time it’s not that likely that all executives really understand what that means. In order to move up the curve further, you’ll need to tie your Enterprise Strategy to your Data Strategy.

Level 4 – the Managed Level

Moving from Level 4 to Level 5 of the Data Management Maturity Assessment

Now we’re really getting somewhere. The organisations at this level have adopted and enforced Data Management policies and processes across the Organisation. You’ve got the business to take ownership of their data, which is crucial to the success of Data Management.

Data Quality is vastly improved, leading to tangible, demonstrable business benefits. You monitor and enforce the policies with Data Audits on a regular basis. New IT projects are also following the Enterprise Data Strategy, benefitting from shorter integration and data gathering phases.

This level may be sufficient for most organisations, and you should weigh up the pros and cons of further investment to get to the next level up.

Level 5 – the Optimising Level

You’re on the top of your game. Data Management has been successfully embedded into the DNA of your Enterprise. All staff are responsible for Data Management and know their role in treating Data as the Enterprise Asset it is.

At this level the costs of managing data drop. You are no longer in a process of constantly cleaning bad data, because you’ve rooted out the source problem and now you only capture good data. You’re now in the phase of managing by exception rather than studying and altering every single field.

The Challenge of Data Maturity Assessments

Historically there have been two choices for running a Data Management Maturity Assessment. 1.) Build your own in house, or 2.) Hire an external consultant to run one for you.

Option 1 is not ideal because it takes time and effort to compile the questions. You are also never sure if you’re asking enough questions, or whether there’s some further layer of the onion yet to be peeled. If you have created it in-house, there’s always the risk that someone thinks you’ve “cooked” the questions to give you a better score.

Option 2 is not ideal either, because you have to find an External Consultant with the skills to run the benchmark. You also need to pay them to do it – which might not be an option if you’re only just starting out on the journey. Given the benefit of the assessment is to measure progress, you’ll also have to pay them again when you want to re-measure. This could get costly, fast.

How will Cognopia Help with my Data Management Maturity Assessment?

We have created an assessment tool and made it available online. The questions have been compiled based on a mixture of best-practice and our experience working in the field. There are 37 different questions that matter, and these are broken across 9 topic areas and a further 11 subcategorisations of Data Management Maturity.

The Data Management Maturity Assessment from Cognopia has 2 key advantages over the options described above:

  1. It’s free of charge, and available 24/7
  2. You don’t have to go through the time and effort to build it yourself
  3. We put the effort in to create the report for you

Yes, I know I said we only had 2 key advantages, but we always strive to give more here at Cognopia and this is no exception. We have taken most of the thinking out of doing this assessment. You will still need to answer the questions honestly. You might need to go elsewhere to validate the answers. But we have taken most of the grunt work out of the way here.

How do I get a Cognopia Data Management Maturity Assessment?

Go to the link above, or book time for one of our team to walk you through the assessment (there’s a meeting booking form at the bottom of this post). We advise people have about 25 minutes to complete the report, however most can get it done in 10-15 mins. You might want to invite some colleagues and agree on the answers too.

The report will be made available to you within a few days. We put the effort in to build the reports, but we also strive to provide more. If we find interesting answers that might help you make better decisions, we’ll let you know and set up time to talk rather than firing over the results immediately.

Clearly you will be giving us access to your data to be able to compile the report. As such you may have privacy concerns. We have attempted to address these with our comprehensive Cognopia Privacy Policy. If you have further concerns please drop me an email or connect and share them on LinkedIn.

Why is Cognopia Providing the Data Management Maturity Assessment for Free?

I know, it’s a lot of work for us and we haven’t automated it yet. So why would we do it for nothing? There’s 2 main answers to that question: 1.) we are sick of people wasting their money to produce these reports when they could have spent it more wisely elsewhere, and 2.) because we are genuinely keen on understanding the current “State of Data Governance in 2020”.

In an ideal world we will get a depth of answers to the online quiz that will allow us to produce in-depth, informative and beneficial research that will help the whole Data Management space improve. Once we have enough responses we can benchmark you not only against the answers you provide, but also against your peers. This should help remove the stigma about having a low level of maturity, and will allow us to build a community that can help one another improve.

Enough Already! I want a Data Management Maturity Assessment NOW!

And I don’t blame you. If you’re ready to go – head on over to the Cognopia Data Management Maturity Quiz page right now. Strap yourself in for 20 minutes or so and unleash the answers on us. If you ever need help to complete it, we’re only a phone call away.

Need Help? Book a guided Assessment!

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