Published on
May 17, 2024
min read

5 findings from our assessments to work on your data maturity

5 findings from our assessments to work on your data maturity
Elien Averhals
Elien Averhals
Head of Marketing

Data has become and will remain the cornerstone of any future-proof organization. We all recognize that fully leveraging data can boost the realization of the business strategy. However, there's often a gap between data management and using that data to benefit your overarching transformation strategy. As companies navigate through an ever-expanding volume of information, prioritizing and advancing their data maturity becomes not just a strategic necessity but a fundamental element for success.

To stress the importance of data maturity and to obtain a view on the current state across corporate organizations in the BENELUX region, Madison.Partners& Delaware introduced the ever first edition of the Data Maturity Awards.

40 organizations participated in the contest by completing our data maturity quickscan, followed by a deep-dive assessment to review the existing maturity and advise on areas for improvement. This thorough evaluation process eventually resulted in the inauguration of Unilin as the winner of 2023’s Data Maturity Award.

Now it is the right time to share these insightful findings with the broader audience. Have companies, on average, fully integrated data into their strategic objectives or is the journey towards becoming a more data-driven organization still unfolding?

Organization-wide awareness & strategic alignment paves the path to data maturity

The importance of data within an organization becomes clear by observing its integration into overarching operations. Our research indicates that 85% of surveyed companies believe their board or management team recognizes the transformative potential of data. However, only 1 out of 3 actively empowers a data leader with end-to-end authority over related initiatives and decisions. A quarter of participants heavily rely on data for strategic decision-making, while around 70% use data for some decisions but not comprehensively. While our award candidates recognize data's transformative potential, their actions don't consistently align with the organizational strategy, as evidenced in our assessment. Only 15% can genuinely confirm that their data strategy aligns with their business strategy, suggesting many still disconnect data initiatives from overarching business goals.

Data maturity spans several dimensions, from the technical infrastructure supporting data processes to the organizational culture shaping data consumption and data-driven decision making. As we delve deeper, it becomes clear that data maturity is not just a destination but an ongoing journey of refinement and adaptation.

Only 15% can genuinely boast that their data strategy aligns perfectly with their business strategy.

Flexible and measurable data architecture

Within a company's transformation towards a more data-driven organization, both technical and human elements are crucial for ensuring success. Results from our assessment reveal that 75% of surveyed companies possess either a limited or nonexistent scalable data architecture and technological infrastructure. Only 18% believe their culture prioritizes data experimentation, testing novel data-driven ideas at scale. Moreover, most initiatives around data remain limited in generating business value with over half acknowledging a lack of ROI measurement. Innovating with new data initiatives and clearly measuring their outcomes remain areas of opportunity for many organizations.

A culture anchored in data- and AI-driven practices

The organization and executive level endorsement of data-related projects significantly influence their success. According to 72% of respondents, senior leadership engagement in such projects can be significantly improved. Ensuring data accessibility for frontline employees can further enhance outcomes. Six out of ten respondents note a balanced composition within their data teams, comprising both business users and technical/data professionals. Establishing clear governance and ethical guidelines around Data & AI remains crucial, even though formal procedures are generally lacking across many organizations.

Senior management leadership engagement in data & AI projects can be significantly improved.

Stimulating data literacy during onboarding

Drawing insights from Unilin, we observe that new hires undergo comprehensive training during onboarding, ensuring shared awareness and early adoption of data-driven practices. However, our scan reveals that only 10% of organizations actively invest in comprehensive training and coaching, including for their c-suite team. Recruiting talent for data-centric roles remains fragmented, often limited to the IT department. Interestingly, only 1 in 4 organizations requires a background in general IT/digital for their managerial roles.

Acquiring talent typically doesn't involve data prerequisites.

5 findings on data maturity unveiled in our research

To conclude, our consultants at Madison.Partners conducted extensive assessments to determine who would be the rightful winner of our first data maturity award. The results can be summarized in these 5 findings:

  1.   Organizations struggle to show the added value of data projects if not clearly linked to business objectives
  2.   Organizations with full c-level support are more successful in becoming more data-driven
  3.   Data initiatives are often tackled as silos or only within the IT department
  4.   Increasing overall data literacy is a challenge because of the need for continuous communication and change management across the organization
  5.   Data requirements are often not considered when starting up new projects or use cases

Curious to see how your company scores on the Data Maturity curve?
Take the test and register your company as 2024's Data Maturity Award winner!

Data Maturity levels
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May 17, 2024

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