Data and Analytics Maturity Framework for SMBs

Helping small and medium-sized businesses to understand their level of data and analytics maturity, so they can take actionable steps to becoming a more data-driven organisation

Platforms - Data and Analytics Maturity Framework for SMBs

Accelerate your data and analytics maturity with TrueCue’s framework

1. What do we mean by data and analytics maturity, and why is it so important?

Modern organisations have always relied on data to support their operations. 

However, with COVID-19 bringing a level of global disruption unseen in most of our lifetimes, and with Brexit further exacerbating this, the importance of having complete visibility and truth around your data has never been more critical.  

That said, with the proliferation of data management platforms and analysis tools, businesses of all sizes can now access valuable, data-driven insights once reserved for the biggest and most well-resourced corporations. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) must therefore capitalise on these advancements to transform the way they operate, in an increasingly digitalised economy. 

This fact has been recognised none more so than amongst the C-Suite, who are investing more time and money into their data and analytics initiatives than ever before, as they attempt to re-orientate towards a more data-driven approach, in support of their digitalisation.

In fact, recent research from Gartner shows that 82% of CEOs are taking steps to transition toward digital operations and 77% are planning to increase their investments into digital capabilities.

Tie Your Data and Analytics Initiatives to Stakeholders and Their Business Goals. Gartner, 2020

Despite this, many SMBs are still struggling with what we constitute as low-data and analytics maturity. To put it bluntly, if you’re still still using spreadsheets for analysis and arguing about data quality in the boardroom every week, then it’s highly unlikely you will be able to succeed with your digital transformation initiatives.

Gartner predict that through 2025, 80% of organisations seeking to scale digital business will fail because they do not take a modern approach to data and analytics.1

It is imperative, therefore that business leaders recognise the success of digitalisation is highly-dependent on maturing their approach to data and analytics.

What do we mean exactly?

Well, a low-level of maturity implies that an organisation is struggling to harness the value of their data assets, and to construct a strategy that directly connects their data and analytics initiatives to business goals and objectives. 

There are many causes for low-levels of maturity, which go way beyond simply investing in the right tools and technologies — for example, limited budgets, lack of vision and skills, inexperience in strategic planning and deployment, and primitive or legacy infrastructure.

Other reasons may include the leadership team not paying enough attention to improving data and analytics capabilities, whilst some employees may resist new technology and changes in work practices and culture.

Low-maturity organisations also tend to have a central IT or Business Intelligence (BI) team who is often viewed as having low productivity and slow delivery, leading to the business units undertaking data or analytics projects in silos as they seek to accelerate and optimise the process, without reliance on their limited centralised IT or BI resource. This leads to data silos, little consistency in processes, duplication of effort, and poor coordination across teams and the organisation.

The impact of low-maturity will result in organisations that are attempting to modernise their business, and successfully digitalise, being constrained. It also hinders their ability to accelerate and expand the benefits that come through the use of modern BI capabilities.

How Data-Driven is your organisation

But all is not lost, as organisations with low-maturity can learn from the success of more-mature organisations. Without “reinventing the wheel” and making the same mistakes, business leaders in low-maturity organisations can take advantage of advancements in technology, access to skills training, expert advice and the necessary resources, to begin their journey toward higher maturity.

Gartner recommends that business leaders seeking to embark on such a journey should prioritise their efforts across the areas of strategy, people, governance and technology.2 Given this, and our years of experience supporting organisations to become more data-driven, we’ve developed a framework especially for SMBs looking to achieve more inclusive, flexible and trustworthy business outcomes from their data. 

2. The Framework

With the demands of digitalisation only increasing the stakes when it comes to organisations maximising the value of their data assets, it is imperative that business leaders understand both their current level of maturity, and importantly, what they need to focus on to successfully get to the next level in their journey.

Through assessing your organisation using a data and analytics maturity framework, you will be able to gain a comprehensive understanding of where your organisation stands across multiple dimensions of defined competencies. Providing business leaders with a quantifiable, objective look at how their organisation is leveraging its data, whether this be at an individual, departmental or enterprise-level, attaining and retaining momentum up the framework is paramount for success.

With this in mind, our expert team of business leaders, consultants, technologists, data scientists and business analysts, have come together to design a framework to help small and medium businesses, measure, prioritise and improve their performance against 6 critical competencies which define a data-driven organisation.

These competencies are:

  1. Strategy
  2. Process
  3. Data
  4. Platforms
  5. Analysis
  6. Culture & Skills

How does it work?

Our framework evaluates the current level of data and analytics maturity across each of these six competencies, based on four dimensions that are unique to each competency and scored between 1 (low) to 5 (high), based on the current level of maturity. 

For example, an organisation may score highly for Platforms in the dimension of ‘End-user tools, because their analysts are using a BI platform to perform their analysis, but if they don’t have a data and analytics strategy, or any alignment with their business objectives, they would also score on the low-end of the scale in relation to Strategy.

Therefore, when assessing your maturity, it is important to recognise that each competency is interdependent of each other, and must be addressed equally, if becoming more data-driven is to be achieved.

TrueCue’s 6 competencies of data & analytics maturity

Strategy 

An effective data and analytics strategy is dynamic – it’s not a rigid, step-by-step technique.

Organisations should promote the creation of a well-defined strategy and operating model that conceives data-driven business opportunities, orchestrates organisational action and aligns with the corporate strategy. 

The 4 dimensions which comprise the Strategy competency are:

  1. Sponsorship
  2. Alignment to business strategy
  3. Data & analytics roadmap
  4. Benefits tracking

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Women in data - Analytics enablement

Process 

The processes you establish underpin all your data & analytics activities, drive best practice across each of the key areas in this maturity framework and support further adoption throughout the organisation.  

The 4 dimensions which comprise the Process competency are:

  1. Demand Pipeline
  2. Reporting lifecycle management
  3. Business Processes
  4. Adoption

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Women_in-data-collaboration

Data 

Sourcing, integrating, validating and governing multiple data sources, securely, so that trusted insights can be generated, identified and immediately acted upon, is crucial for any organisation seeking to generate maximum value from their data.

The 3 dimensions which comprise the Data competency are:

  1. Data variety and sources
  2. Data availability
  3. Data cleansing and governance

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Platforms - Data and Analytics Maturity Framework

Platforms 

Investing in the right technology stack, is key to the success of any organisation’s data and analytics initiatives.

From data management platforms to business intelligence tools, building an infrastructure which facilitates a culture of data and analytics across the organisation, is integral to becoming more data-driven.

The 4 dimensions which comprise the Platforms competency are: 

  1. Data storage
  2. Data preparation
  3. Metadata management
  4. End-user tools

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TrueCue Data and Analytics Maturity Framework - Analysis

Analysis 

If data is all the things it takes to make a painting (paints, brush, canvas etc) then analysis is the artist using those components to create a picture.

Proper analysis of data allows organisations to visualise and interpret data in a way that can be understood. This can help implement better data driven decision making. 

The 4 dimensions which comprise the Analysis competency are: 

  1. Sophistication
  2. Automation
  3. Dissemination
  4. Permission and access

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People Analytics - HR

Culture & Skills 

Culture & Skills can be defined as the approach to the development of employee skills and best practices with regards to data and analytics. 

A data and analytics culture must fit within the wider culture of an organisation. If there is a clash between data culture and organisational culture, this will lead to friction and confusion and an ultimately ineffective data and analytics strategy.

As such, the very first thing to remember when trying to build a data-driven culture is that it must be supported at all levels of the organisation. 

The 4 dimensions which comprise the Culture & Skills competency are:

  1. Community
  2. Skills
  3. Learning & development
  4. Best practice & standards

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TrueCue’s 5 levels of data & analytics maturity

Level 1

Data analytics is not prioritised and as a result, activities in this area are simple, lack defined processes and do not follow best practices. 

Level 2

The organisation is aware of data analytics and has started some conscious work in this space. There is a lot of work to do before being a data driven organisation. 

Level 3

Some people and teams prioritise data analytics in their strategy and there are some highly skilled analysts. The organisation lacks a shared data analytics strategy and direction. 

Level 4

Data analytics is at the forefront and most people are highly skilled. There is a shared strategy, and most people and functions are aligned to it. Some advanced techniques are used but these skills are siloed. 

Level 5

These organisations are highly advanced across the board when considering data analytics. All are aligned to a single data analytics strategy and cutting edge approached are used readily.

Want to assess the data and analytics maturity of your organisation?

One of our data experts will be in touch to run through our assessment, and help you on your journey to becoming more data-driven

Lets assess!

3. Data and Analytics Maturity Live Benchmark

Regardless of whether you’re already using data and analytics to drive your business forward, or if becoming more data-driven is your #1 priority in 2021, every business will have at least one area of their data and analytics which requires improvement.

With this in mind, we’ve designed a quick interactive benchmarking tool that allows business leaders to compare its current level of maturity with industry peers.

Everyone who completes the assessment will receive a free personalised report, which provides insight into their organisation’s current level of maturity and how this aligns and compares with the wider SMB market. TrueCue will then provide actionable next steps on how they can improve their data and analytics maturity, addressing the areas of low-maturity where you need to improve most.

Should you wish to complete the full assessment, please schedule an assessment with us here, and we’ll be in touch to run through this with you.
 

4. Accelerating your organisation’s data and analytics maturity

Once you have a better understanding of your level of maturity, the next-step is addressing the areas where you are least competent.

To help you achieve this, TrueCue have developed a series of free resources, providing actionable insight, advice, and guidance to small and medium-sized businesses on how to improve your level of data and analytics maturity.

From guides on how-to-build a data strategy and best practice data governance, to top-tips on developing a data and analytics community and improving data literacy, some of TrueCue’s leading experts have come together to produce over 50 resources for business leaders striving to become more data-driven.

Simply select the competency you wish to focus on, and then choose the dimension, and our content tool will provide you with the relevant resources to help you along your way.

1 of 2 questions

What area of your data and analytics would you like to improve?

2 of 2 questions

What dimension would you like to receive more information for?

You selected as the dimension you would like to support with
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TrueCue’s Expert Contributors

James Don-Carolis

Managing Director

James is an economist with 20 years of experience spanning the public sector (UK Government Economic Service), large-scale private sector consulting (with PwC and A.T. Kearney), and start-up through to scale-up business growth (with Concentra). Part of the founding team at Concentra Analytics, James established the Analytical Consulting practice and pioneered their brand of data-driven, technology-enabled, analytical consultancy.

Nick Finch

Chief Technology Officer

Nick Finch is currently CTO at TrueCue leading the engineering effort behind the TrueCue Platform as well as CIO across Concentra. A specialist in building and leading teams focused on delivering scalable, bespoke cloud based solutions and products with over 19 years’ experience in technical and leadership roles across data analytics, development, infrastructure, information security and QA.

Weelin Lim

Chief Product Officer

Weelin is the creator of the TrueCue Platform, and Chief Product Officer, having worked in the data and analytics industry for the last 20 years. In that time, he has delivered numerous large and small-scale BI and data and analytics platforms across a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, media and energy.

Tim Archer

Director of Analytics

Tim lives, sleeps and breathes analytics. A Chartered Management Accountant by trade, Tim has been with TrueCue for over a decade, having previously enjoyed roles as a Finance Analyst at Walt Disney and Auto Trader.

Max Kenney

Director of Analytics

Max has a background in Business Intelligence, Analytics and Data Warehousing with over 12 years in the field. He leads the delivery of enterprise level Analytics projects with a mix of technical and consulting elements at Truecue. He has been working across a multitude of industries and strives to get business value and insight out of each project, he enjoys the challenge of solving data problems with the intention of delighting our customers.

Ciaran Gallagher

Consulting Manager & Analytics Training Lead

Senior Consultant With over 5 years’ experience in providing analytics business solutions for clients, primarily across Public Sector, Healthcare and FMCG organisations. Ciaran holds a MEng in Mechanical Engineering and specialises in analytics enablement using platforms such as Tableau, Power BI and Alteryx.

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