Unlock latent knowledge to drive your business forward with a Data Maturity Assessment
In the world of high-stakes decision-making, there is usually a best choice. But virtually nobody has the perfect knowledge necessary to make that best choice in any given moment. The result: many business leaders make decisions based on gut instinct or intuition.
The results are, at best, inconsistent. So what's the alternative? Leveraging an organization’s vast data reserves so that they provide usable insights that can guide business decisions of all kinds.
On the surface, that may sound obvious: we can all gather data about the weather and temperature, for example, to make the best clothing decision on any given day.
But business leaders are tasked with making complex, multi-faceted, high-stakes decisions that may affect thousands or millions of people. And then they have to do it again and again and again. As the pace of business increases, it becomes ever more important to be able to use the data available to guide decision-making at every turn.
Our Data Maturity Assessment helps you understand how close you are to that reality and what you need to do to get there.
Why now is the right time to assess data maturity
To understand why data maturity is so important for businesses right now, let’s look back to libraries. For the first half of the 19th century, it was common for libraries to shelve books in fixed locations based on their date of acquisition and size. At this time, librarians were typically the ones to find books for patrons (rather than the free browsing model we have today).
Then came classification systems like Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress. These grouped books by subject and made it possible for anyone to find information they wanted easily. Today, with digital tools powering library use, apps can suggest books and media to patrons based on what they’ve borrowed in the past. Effectively, the library has tapped its data to become a smart participant in the ecosystem.
Many businesses, even if they’ve adopted digital tools throughout their operations, still have a business data situation that’s similar to what libraries offered pre-Dewey. Longtime employees may know where information is and how things are done, but this knowledge isn’t necessarily easy to communicate to newcomers.
And there are rarely mechanisms in place to turn latent data that exists within an organization into insights that can spark change or even inform important decisions.
Data-powered insights in action
Let’s look at an example to see how data-powered decisions might manifest in the real world. Say a manufacturing company is planning facility upgrades for its headquarters, which includes a factory floor where assembly workers build high-tech equipment, plus two floors of offices overhead.
One (of the many) decisions leaders have to make: which HVAC system to choose? In the absence of data-powered insights from their company, they might consider product specs from HVAC manufacturers, guidelines from their building’s architect, or even ESG goals. They’ll likely make a good-enough decision, but it will take a lot of time and energy––and it might perpetuate existing problems.
Now let’s imagine these manufacturing leaders have data-fueled dashboards at their current headquarters. They can easily see that, at 65 degrees, the factory floor is most productive: QA logs fewer mistakes, workers require shorter rest and hydration breaks, and morale indicators are high.
But in the office, productivity plummets below 68 degrees. Employees take longer breaks and visit the break room more often. What's more, energy costs jump higher than expected––because, it turns out, some employees actually start using personal space heaters at that temperature.
Suddenly, the decision-making becomes clearer: the HVAC system must accommodate different temperatures for the factory floor and the offices. And heck: maybe the company should change its dress code so that employees can more easily dress for the indoor temperature.
Rather than making a best-guess decision about a major investment, business leaders with mature data capabilities can make decisions based on the specific realities of their workplaces.
To reach this level of data maturity, though, businesses must first collect data from around their organization and then find ways to unify and interpret it. Most organizations are well on their way to the former, thanks to…
Extensive digital interactions among employees, customers, and partners.
IoT devices capturing and transmitting environmental data.
Interconnected systems that make it possible to understand the relationship among various conditions and behaviors.
The (many) benefits of data maturity
In the above example, we illustrated how turning latent data into insights that can proactively drive decision-making can benefit a headquarters upgrade. But that’s just one example. Data maturity delivers benefits to every realm of business operations, including:
Competitiveness: Data-driven insights can unveil hidden trends, customer behaviors, and market gaps that traditional methods might overlook. Organizations with data maturity recognize these trends first and make decisions ahead of the curve.
Customization: Today’s customers expect personalization from nearly every product and experience. Data maturity helps businesses understand customers deeply, anticipate their needs, and tailor offerings accordingly. Data immaturity, on the other hand, leaves businesses unable to engage and retain customers.
Regulation adherence: Data privacy regulations, including GDPR and CCPA, are becoming the norm. Non-compliance can lead to fines and reputational damage. Data maturity equips organizations to not only adhere to today’s regulations but also easily adapt to tomorrow’s.
The high cost of doing nothing
Obviously, there's a lot to be gained via data maturity. But it’s just as important to recognize that not embracing data maturity comes with high costs. In other words, data maturity isn’t a question of status quo vs. new benefits. Increasingly, organizations that ignore data maturity are losing traction even in areas where they once dominated.
Broadly, organizations that fail to mature their data will experience…
Missed opportunities. Without data maturity, latent knowledge remains latent. That means missing out on insights that could lead to innovation, new revenue streams, and better customer experiences.
Inefficient operations. If you don’t understand how data moves through your organization, you can’t spot bottlenecks or leaks, meaning your organization won’t be able to operate at peak efficiency.
Strategic misalignment. Are you investing time, energy, and money into the efforts most likely to help you meet your big-picture business objectives? Without data maturity, it’s impossible to know, which can lead to waste at every turn.
Stagnation. Even if all your current competitors refused to mature their data, newcomers to the space would edge you out. That’s because the tools that exist today to build a business make it much easier to bake data maturity in from day one. Eventually, these organizations will outmaneuver you thanks to the power of their data.
Security risks. A single data breach can be devastating for an organization’s reputation, not to mention its finances. Without data maturity, though, such breaches are bound to happen.
The transformative power of a data maturity assessment
TXI’s Data Maturity Assessment will help you understand exactly where your organization falls in its data maturity journey and what it will take to get to a place where the data hiding with your organization can emerge to guide business decisions.
With your Data Maturity Assessment, we’ll create the following for you:
Data flow map: This document will show you how data moves within your organization––the first step toward optimization. The flow map helps identify bottlenecks, redundancies, and gaps in your data flow, ensuring that data reaches the right people and systems at the right time.
Data retrospective: In this exercise, we’ll connect your data practices to core business objectives. Syncing these two things ensures your organization is focusing its data-processing resources on the efforts that yield the most impactful results.
Data processing audit: This assessment helps uncover hidden opportunities for streamlining data workflows, enhancing efficiency, and improving overall data processing capabilities.
Maturity self / target assessment: Here, we’ll help you understand where you are on the path to data maturity to set a baseline for growth. Defining ambitious targets for the future enables your organization to strive for continuous improvement in data practices.
When you’ve completed your Data Maturity Assessment, you’ll have a clear idea of what your organization needs to do to get from a place of simply generating and / or collecting data to using that data to fuel business decisions at every level.
Ready to fuel your organization with something more sustainable than hunches? Get in touch.
Published by Patrick Turley in data