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Category: Analytics

Analytics Maturity: The Roadmap to Transforming Your Business

July 28, 2020

Change is hard. Never has this been more true as we collectively navigate major social changes across the globe. As humans, we find comfort in routine and familiarity, while sometimes not seeing how embracing new challenges helps us evolve and grow.

This is especially true when it comes to business. Change can be internal to the business (e.g., shifting priorities) or due to external factors (e.g., industry changes). We often get so caught up in our day-to-day responsibilities that we don’t recognize that something needs to be done in order to meet these new challenges. It usually requires someone or something to push us out of our comfort zone and force us to recognize that change is occurring.

Instead of waiting and hoping for the best, I encourage you to take a step back to evaluate and decide how you can spur changes within your organization.

Change in Today’s Data-Driven World

So how does change apply to analytics maturity? As organizations start relying on data to make decisions, they find themselves eager to embrace new ideas and new technologies. This forces them to reevaluate the tools, processes, and skills needed to support effective usage of data across the organization. Beyond understanding where they’re at, organizations also need to understand where they need to go and how to get there.

Understanding your organization’s analytics maturity helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses. From this understanding, you can start to create goals and a vision for supporting and improving usage of analytics (i.e., a roadmap).

It’s important to recognize that business transformation is a marathon and not a sprint. You should be thinking in terms of years, not months, when prioritizing efforts. As much as we’d all like a quick fix to business challenges, it takes a concerted effort to drive organizational change that sticks.

As much as we’d all like a quick fix to business challenges, it takes a concerted effort to drive organizational change that sticks.

Start Your Journey with Organizational Support

Getting started is often the most difficult part of transforming a business. It’s a team effort and requires gaining buy-in across the organization to ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction. Executive buy-in and support is especially crucial since executives are responsible for driving cultural change, such as by leading through example to reinforce the importance of data within an organization. Without executive support, it’ll be extremely difficult to further mature an analytics program.

A Framework for Success — and Benefits

Transforming an organization requires careful planning and a strong sense of direction, which is why Blast developed a framework for analytics maturity. The components of the framework work in conjunction to guide and evolve analytics maturity, ensuring a higher likelihood of success. We have combined these into an Analytics Maturity Framework consisting of:

  • Assessment
  • Benchmark
  • Strategic Roadmap
  • Action Plan

Some of the benefits of this approach are:

  • Understanding of your organization’s true state of analytics
  • Increased structure
  • Alignment across organization
  • Increased internal support for analytics related initiatives
  • Thoughtful prioritization of efforts
  • Increased competitive advantage

All of this contributes towards becoming a data-driven organization and supporting better business outcomes, such as optimizing marketing performance, improving customer experience and increasing competitive advantage.

Take the First Step: Analytics Maturity Assessment

One of the first steps towards transforming your organization’s analytics maturity is identifying where you are at (i.e., your baseline). This will give you a clear picture of the areas where you excel and where there are opportunities to improve.

While the concept of an analytics maturity model and assessment isn’t new, they’re typically narrowly focused on a specific platform or tool. Blast created its own Analytics Maturity Assessment with a broader focus on processes, technology usage, and resources

This allows us to effectively measure the maturity of an analytics program across an organization, understand where it needs to go, and where to focus efforts in order to accelerate the analytics journey.

Our model consists of four different stages and illustrates the journey an organization can take to reach the ideal state:

  1. Nascent – Measure and report
  2. Developing – Discover and operationalize
  3. Proficient – Optimize and differentiate
  4. Advanced – Innovate and breakaway

AMA results example chart

In conjunction with the analytics maturity model, we developed our Analytics Maturity Assessment to addresses five key process areas, or success factor dimensions:

  • Culture
  • Capability
  • Technology
  • Data
  • Process

The assessment is administered across various departments and roles in order to get a comprehensive and unbiased view of where an organization stands in relation to its use of data. The value of the assessment is getting insight into how different departments view their maturity and understand their challenges. All of this feedback is valuable in building a more complete understanding of your maturity and informing how to move forward.

image representing creating an analytics roadmap

Creating Your Roadmap

A roadmap should deliver a long-term view and phased approach that prioritizes the different efforts required to address gaps in your analytics program. Stakeholders should work closely together to align on priorities and identify what will bring the most value to your organization. This is critical to address competing priorities and varying perceptions of the business.

As you start developing a roadmap, ensure you consider the following elements:

  • Platforms and technologies
  • Governance and data
  • Business owners and resources
  • Desired business outcomes

By addressing each of these areas, you’ll build a robust plan of action that drives your business forward.

Taking Action

Once everyone in your organization has agreed on a path for moving forward, it’s time to start taking action. Blast creates a quarterly Action Plan, based on the roadmap, in order to prioritize and track progress against multiple efforts. This helps teams clearly see what to focus on and when.

At the end of each quarter, you should have a clear view of what was accomplished, along with insight into what adjustments need to be made to the plan. You may find that, due to various factors, such as lack of resources or shifting priorities, you were unable to accomplish everything you set out to achieve. And that’s okay; your plan should be a living document that’s continually adjusted based on your progress and reality.

Below is an example of an Action Plan:

Get Going Now

Transforming an organization’s analytical maturity is a big undertaking, but you could be the one that kick starts it. To get started, we recommend completing our free Analytics Maturity Assessment to gain an initial understanding of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Armed with these learnings, you can start engaging with your co-workers. Sharing the results of your assessment could spark insightful conversations and inspire each other to take action.

Sharing the results of your assessment could spark insightful conversations and inspire each other to take action.

If you’d like to discuss your results and how Blast can accelerate your progress by leveraging the Analytics Maturity Framework across your organization, reach out to our Solutions team today.

Ryan Chase
About the Author

Ryan is a Senior Analytics Consultant at Blast Analytics & Marketing. He is passionate about helping businesses improve their usage of data to make better decisions. He has experience across industries and analytics platforms to help set and meet long term business goals.

Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn. Ryan Chase has written on the Blast Digital Analytics Blog.

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