By David Michelson
It seems like data and analytics is on the top of everyone’s agenda these days. If you are accountable for providing any type of reporting, business analytics, or predictive analytics, then you are aware of the demands being placed on your time, data, and systems. If you are an executive, you are probably asking questions about your business and waiting for answers and insights.
We refer to this cycle as the ‘speed to business insights’. One of our key principles at Ironside is helping clients to reduce the cost to innovate. How do you know that your cost to innovate is too high? Here are a few simple questions that are strong indicators:
- Are executives arguing over report values?
- Do you find that no one trusts the data you present?
- Are you continuously reconciling different reports?
- Do you frequently skip dinner because you’re responding to fire drills?
- Does your intuition trump the report you just delivered?
- By the time you deliver your insights, has the context already changed?
- Is calculating how many employees you have a project in itself?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to more than one of these questions, then you could make a case that your speed and cost to innovate is higher than it should be. If so, what’s the cost or risk to your business in either making a decision too late or making the wrong choice based on the wrong data?
The number one way to increase your speed to business insights is to improve the maturity of your data. Unfortunately, there is no real silver bullet in this domain but there are new technologies, processes and tools that can help make this an easy task that can be completed fairly quickly.
Data As An Asset
It could be argued that data is an asset, or “a resource that is used to provide a future economic benefit,” of the company (1). Unless, of course, you are subject to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into effect in May 2018, in which case you would most likely put data on the ‘liability’ side of the balance sheet, at least as far as consumer information is concerned.
Either way, understanding and addressing your data maturity is a foundational activity to help drive analytical insights and increase speed to business insights.
At Ironside, we adopt a holistic approach to data maturity, understanding that there are a number of integrated components that work together to help capture, validate, store, enhance, and analyze your data. Our data and analytics maturity model uses new technologies, processes and tools to help assess areas of strength, identify areas of risk, and make recommendations for improvement.
- Strategy: A disciplined process of developing and managing long-term business objectives, including the actions that help achieve those objectives.
- Analytics: Effective consumption of enterprise and ad hoc information with tools that are capability-aligned to analytic use cases.
- Data: An organization’s ability to capture, transform, and enrich data assets, including documentation and maintenance of standardized definitions for master data, rules, entities, and references.
- Governance: Ensuring the ongoing relevance, flexibility, and accuracy of data, and developing application and analytic solutions that fit the company’s unique needs, culture, and use cases.
- Skills: An organization’s collective expertise around supporting the full lifecycle of data & analytics delivery, including data architecture, data integration, project management, business analysis, data science, user experience, and training.
- Architecture: Alignment of systems and infrastructure to support business applications in a secure, scalable, and flexible manner.
When we discuss this framework with our clients we often find that different personas have substantially different opinions on where the organization sits in terms of data maturity. The diversity of opinion is important to acknowledge and address if you are trying to improve the maturity of your data. The process of aligning the organization on a maturity model allows you to educate, inform, and solicit ideas as to what is important to the organization. Furthermore, it allows you to think about ways in which you can improve your data maturity, help prioritize those activities, and allow you to craft your own journey based on the needs and priorities of your organization. Finally, it gives you a model to reference so when you want to make a change in your business, you can ensure that you are always advancing your data maturity.
The notion of measuring sentiment and opinion about an organization’s data and analytical maturity and using that as a way to begin a dialogue around building analytical capability is new for many of our clients. The idea that they can embrace a fairly complex topic, with disparate points of view, and craft an open conversation which builds consensus and drives action is fairly unique.
Start the Journey
Ironside invites you to begin your journey towards Data Maturity by receiving your own personalized report that measures your sentiment towards data and analytics.
We recommend you answer the questions quickly and without too much thought. Your immediate reaction or response is what we are looking for. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, otherwise you’re overthinking it! Once you’ve completed the assessment, you will receive your results. If more than one person in your organization completes the survey, we can benchmark the results so you can see the differences of opinion across your company. Use this to open a dialogue with your colleagues and begin the conversation.
1 “Types of Asset Accounts | List of Examples | Explanations | Definition.” My Accounting Course, 25 Jan. 2018, www.myaccountingcourse.com/accounting-basics/asset-accounts.
Ironside was founded in 1999 as an enterprise data and analytics solution provider and system integrator. Our clients hire us to acquire, enrich and measure their data so they can make smarter, better decisions about their business. No matter your industry or specific business challenges, Ironside has the experience, perspective and agility to help transform your analytic environment.