You’ve set yourself the ambitious goal of being a best-in-class analytics-driven business.   One in which data is used not just to gain insights into the past, but to predict the future and to drive confident decision-making at every level. 

You’re familiar with the success stories – businesses like Expedia, Dell, eBay, Amazon to name a few – that have achieved staggering business growth and forged ahead of their competition by instilling culture of analytics from the top down. 

Your hope is to achieve the same level of sophistication and maturity in your own organization and outclass the competition.

The destination is elusive and the path is foggy…

How far along are you towards effectively leveraging analytics and developing analytics competitiveness?  Do you know what steps you need to take to reach an advanced level of analytics maturity throughout your organization?

If you lack discipline, explicitly defined analytics processes, accountabilities and scope, you simply can’t extract the value from your analytics investments. This lack of maturity is evident by an ad-hoc, silo’d approach in the use of analytics data that doesn’t integrate, process and refine the many digital streams that available to the organization (web, mobile, social, point of sale, email, CRM, etc.)..

If this situation sounds anything like yours, then this is precisely where the value of an analytics maturity model becomes evident. The Online Analytics Maturity Model (OAMM) self-assessment tool succinctly evaluates your analytics maturity, pinpoints areas of weakness and provides strategic direction on where to focus your efforts to generate a greater return from your digital analytics investments.  This elegantly simple model measures your organization across the six corporate attributes (the Six Key Attributes) that have the most influence on the adoption and use of analytics.  These Six Key Attributes are:

  • Management, Governance and current level of analytics Adoption;
  • Definition of Objectives;
  • Scope;
  • Analytics Team and Expertise;
  • Continuous Improvement Process and Methodology;
  • Tools, technology and Data Integration.
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A Graph is Worth a Thousand Words
In this sample of a completed OAMM assessment visualization, we can see that the Scope and Objectives are far greater than the organization’s internal Expertise, Methodology, Technology and Management.  In this example, the organization needs to augment its internal resources and processes in order to successfully achieve their Objectives.

The key to analytics maturity is ensuring that these six attributes are in alignment with each other.  In simple terms, the underlying concept is to create the digital age equivalent of the industrial ages’ assembly line: stand-up the infrastructure to smoothly, comprehensively and accurately collect data (the raw material), transform it into functional reports (the manufacturing), review and analyze it for insights (the quality control), and finally, turn it into action (the distribution/shipping).   

Additionally, this “assembly line” has a feedback loop to ensure that the organization learns from the actions taken, and either optimizes those that worked, or retools that didn’t.  Finally, it is comprehensive and looks at multiple data streams to ensure that whole of the organization is aware of, and making decisions based on, the complete picture. 

We’ve developed a top 5 list of benefits that we’ve discovered our clients derive from our work with them to grow their analytics maturity.  These are:

  • Clear visualization of the current state: If a picture is worth a 1000 words, a good graph has to be worth at least 500.  A clear, unambiguous image that visually captures strengths & weaknesses is very compelling;
  • Comparative benchmarks; As the original and leading model of its kind, the OAMM has been applied to hundreds and hundreds of organizations across virtually every major sector, at a global scale.  This yields a rich, robust and revealing dataset for benchmarking and comparative analysis;
  • A step-by-step guide: Nothing is as frustrating as a strategy with no clear plan on how to execute.  The OAMM provides a clear path to follow, with “turn-by-turn directions” on the specific improvements required to move you up the maturity scale towards becoming an analytics-driven business;
  • A powerful internal sales tool:  It’s an unfortunate reality that middle management sometimes must struggle to persuade senior management of the need to invest in analytics maturity.  The concept is fuzzy and the benefits seem intangible.  However, the OAMM creates an opportunity for dialogue and discussion that we find helps drive home the message for change; and
  • Prevents over/under investing: Spending too little is almost as bad as spending too much, and the OAMM ensures that investments are in line with the capacity/capability of the organization to execute.

thornThree thorns in the side of analytics

As important and useful as the top 5 benefits are, an understanding of why organizations fail at analytics is just as important.  Our research has revealed that there are three basic patterns to failure.  The good news is we believe that these can be easily avoided.  They are:

  • Aiming too high: Contrary to popular belief, don’t aim for top-level buy in – aim for the right level. If you try to engage senior people too early in the process it is unlikely that you will be able to deliver the type of insights that they value, and your opportunity to engage will be lost;
  • Ambitions exceed abilities: You will fail if objectives are too ambitious or the scope is too broad – realizing the value of analytics is more easily achieved from a narrower scope and clearly defined objectives;
  • Lack of systems: Regardless of industry vertical or geography, we note a serious lack of process and methodology around the way in which the analytics function is structured.   Very few organizations use proven problem solving and business process optimizations methodologies (such as Lean Six Sigma) to help them organize the operations of their analytics unit.

Editors note: Want to learn more? You can enroll in an upcoming full day workshop with Cardinal Path at eMetrics Boston for a deep dive into your analytics capabilities.