Every business with a digital presence naturally evolves to a point where it needs to assess its data maturity level. It is important to know where you stand in order to plan for improvements, accurately track your progress and set appropriate targets.
We wanted to see how companies present in the analytics industry feel about their data maturity and how the sector stands as a whole.
The survey’s structure
We surveyed more than 160 attendees at this year’s Adobe Summit to see where they feel their organization stands in their data maturity and asked questions to validate that perceived maturity level.
The survey was a quick, 6-question assessment. It’s only a tiny snippet of the full assessment workshops we regularly provide for our clients. Even still, the results revealed some interesting insights.
We can categorize the data maturity level in four categories: Ad-Hoc, Periodic, Ingrained or Strategic.
- Ad-Hoc: Data is only evaluated on an as-needed basis. Most decisions are not data-driven.
- Periodic: Data is reviewed quarterly, monthly, or daily, but little emphasis is placed on future-looking analysis.
- Ingrained: Most decisions are data-driven. Products and services are constantly measured.
- Strategic: Data is considered a core asset and is critical when making strategic business decisions.
Profile of Respondents
The respondents were covering all major fields tangential with the analytics industry. A third of respondents were marketers, 17% analysts, 12% said they were working in IT, 11% were product managers, 10% engineers/developers, 5% working in operations and 9% other. This creates a balanced mix to spread throughout the different areas of analytics.
Perception of Data Maturity
While 32% of respondents classified their organization’s data maturity as strategic, few had answers to the remaining questions that validated that position.
The majority of analysts and marketers surveyed feel they have a limited view of the customer, and that their organizations don’t use their technology to its full potential, even though both groups say they can trust their data. They also perceive their analytics program maturity to be fairly low, which may explain why they think their executives are not using data to make informed decisions.
At a general level, one in ten respondents admits their companies do not have the infrastructure in place to support ongoing reporting, while 11% consider their companies’ infrastructure cannot scale to support volume and a variety of data sources.
Less than 40% of the respondents are confident in their firms’ technology and infrastructure with respect to their data needs. However, when narrowed down to analysts’ answers, this indicator is increasing to almost 50%.
At an aggregate level, 27% of the respondents believe their companies have the architecture and infrastructure in place to support diverse data needs, while 12% believe they have advanced technologies in place to support the entire data and analytics lifecycle.
Understanding The Customer
More than a third of the respondents (39%) said they have a good understanding of their customers but are not acting on the data to improve experiences.
This reveals a significant opportunity in our industry and underpins there is room for improvement in more than 60% of the respondent’s companies.
On the other hand, only 1% of the professionals who answered have little to no understanding of their customer. However, more than 44% consider they have a good understanding of their customers, but not acting on the data, while 34% also use data to improve the customer experience.
The trend is shifting if we narrow down our audience for the same question. For example, 57% of marketers consider they have a good understanding of their data, but do not act on it, while only 24% actually use it to improve the customer experience.
It is even more surprising that, when it comes to analysts, the largest group said they have feel they have a limited understanding of their customers, with more than 43% of the respondents, while the percentage of analysts that think they use data to improve the customer experience actually drops to 17%.
Access to Data
An interesting note is that at an aggregate level, most of the practitioners that answered the survey agreed that they have access to data whenever they need it (88%), but when we only target analysts, more than 60% say they seldom have all the data they need at their disposal.
IT professionals surveyed, however, see things quite differently. They scored the data maturity of their analytics program highest and believe their business understands their customer, insights are readily available, and executives use the data to make decisions.
These results highlight a disconnect between the business and IT. Investments are made to ensure the organization has a robust tech stack, and IT feels the implementation of that technology addresses their organization’s needs. However, marketers and analysts disagree. This is often an indicator that business goals have not been adequately mapped to data initiatives and digital touchpoints. By properly mapping those goals, organizations would benefit more from their analytics investment.