Today, every company wants to "leverage data". You hear it everywhere, everyday, you know you have to do it. It sounds great on paper, you're going to "create business value rooted in strong and meaningful data insights". But the truth is, the journey towards truly leveraging data is long, rocky, and not so straightforward. And to identify the next step in your data journey, you need to start by identifying where you are. That's what we propose today: a little data maturity assessment. Why?
Beware, company size, and data maturity are two different things. Your organization can be large but immature on a data level.
Data maturity is the journey towards improvement and increased capability in using data. We propose a simple framework of data maturity assessment, in which you measure your ability to understand your past, know your present and predict your future. What does it mean?
Well, each department has its key KPI that needs to be defined, tracked, and predicted. Your ability to predict future outcomes rests on a clear knowledge of your present, which builds on a strong understanding of the past. This is a simple way to assess your data maturity. If you're unable to identify the revenue drivers for your company (your past), it means you need to work on your data maturity by bringing visibility to your business before you seek to predict future outcomes. We don't recommend skipping steps. It's like a pyramid of Maslow, but for data.
Marketing ROI. Define your ROI, across multiple channels, with an identified attribution model. Then understand its evolution in the past 12 months, and especially its drivers (identify performing channels, time of the year, product, ....). Then track on a daily/weekly/monthly basis its evolution thanks to a reporting suite you trust (present). Forecast your marketing budget based on these predictive models (future).
Customer Satisfaction. What is it? NPS, CSAT? Make sure everyone in the company has trust in the way it's computed. Same as before, compute its evolution in the past 12 months, find its drivers (past). Then track daily the satisfaction of your customers with trusted dashboards. Identify action to take from today to increase it. Your understanding of the past and the present state of customers satisfaction will allow to predict churn efficiently (future)
But concretely, what do the ideas of Past, Present and Future refer to? Here, we outline the key steps, and the order in which they should be taken to achieve a smooth and successful data journey.
The first step of a successful data journey is to understand where you come from, and how you've arrived here. But where should you start to understand the key drivers of your growth, customer churn, etc?
A sign that you have a good knowledge of your present is that you can produce reliable dashboards which are consistent across departments, and develop strong data governance policy. Concretely, this entails going though the following steps:
Data governance defines who can take what action, upon what data, in what situations, using what methods. You can't establish the foundation for effective data governance if you haven't cleared the previous steps. In fact, it's impossible to assign roles and decide who has access to which datasets if you can't locate the datasets (2) and haven't clearly established how they relate to your business (3).
Once you have an effective data governance, it means your organization is fairly mature. You can confidently turn towards predicting future outcomes. Predictive analytics focuses specifically on learning past behaviours to predict future behaviours. For example, financial institutions use predictive models to assign credit scores. These scores take data on past financial interactions and use them to predict future financial behaviour. This is why prediction should be the last step of your data journey. In our example, it would unthinkable to seek to predict financial behaviour if you can't locate or exploit the data on past financial transactions.
To sum up, your data journey should follow the ensuing milestones: Define - Collect - Arrange - Govern - Predict. These steps should be taken with the aim of understanding your past, knowing your present and predicting your future.