Data Maturity Assessment: The GPS for your Digital Transformation Journey

January 16 2023

Businesses are setting their destination: becoming data-driven organisations

In recent years, there has been a steady increase in investments placed towards becoming a data-driven company. In a survey done by Harvard Business Review, 92% of firms reported that their pace in investment towards related solutions is accelerating, and over 60% of them reported data and AI investments of more than 50 million USD [1].  

With more companies who understand the value of data seeing a significant increase in their profit, it seems only reasonable to channel resources to such a promising investment. After all, organisations who prioritise and maximise data enjoy an average annual revenue increase of 5.32% [2]. But what companies diving into this process might miss is that this rate of growth for your business doesn’t just happen. Especially not without aligning your goals and prospective data or digital transformation strategy with your current structure and systems. 

According to NewVantage Partners, 97% of respondents actively funded data initiatives, and yet only 24% were able to truly forge a data-driven culture in their company [4]. These numbers, combined with findings that challenges to successful business adoption lie 93% with people and process issues and only 7% on technology itself, indicate the importance of “inner work” and proper internal alignments alongside technical and business adjustments. Despite record levels of investment, companies struggle to create value through their Big Data and AI investments and to transform into the data-driven organisations they need to be [1]. 

One pitfall that organisations make here is that they make significant investments in data initiatives with insufficient regard to the current state of the business and their own preparedness to adopt new initiatives; something that a comprehensive Data Maturity Assessment can address and help you navigate—much like a GPS. 

DMAs are a set of quantitative and qualitative evaluations that measure the extent of an organisations’ capability to leverage their data and its digital mechanisms. These are also deployed to gauge the preparedness of a business to undertake steps in their data strategies, the performance of existing data structures and systems, and provide a critical overview of where your business stands in terms of data maturity.

A critical step often overlooked

Often, established and non-digital native organisations are saddled with legacy data systems, cultures, and even business processes. And this poses great challenges and even greater threats to the success of truly becoming data-driven in the digital age. And these are not confronted without first being identified with the DMA – a step in the right direction often skipped by organisations that jump straight to transformation.

For this reason, it is often overlooked by more exciting data initiatives, such as setting up analytics, streamlining reporting routes, and other market-highlighted steps in the process. In some cases, it has even been viewed as something optional [5].

Organisations can easily start their digital transformation processes without first evaluating where they stand. Not all digital solution providers evaluate the intentions and preparedness of their clients adequately before making the deep dive. That said, not all companies who want to start their transformation are fully aware of the risks of misguided executions nor fully understand the benefits of employing a DMAan integral step in any successful transformation.

The ROI in a DMA ultimately lies in providing a foundational understanding of the starting point for transformation. Like a GPS, it situates the organisation precisely on the multifaceted data landscape that they operate in. In doing so, it allows an organisation to plot the necessary steps required to execute on their data strategy, and thus reduces the risk that the transformation efforts do not provide the expected return in investment.

What your DMA GPS offers 

To complement and bulletproof the analyses you might have employed as a team, running a Data Maturity Assessment will allow you to gain insight into both the big picture and specific aspects of your business, goals, and technical proficiencies. DMAs provide the pivotal knowledge you need to build the right strategy and best manage your transformation.

Monstarlab’s approach perfectly illustrates the level of insight a DMA can offer your organisation. Our DMA framework evaluates your organisation covering four areas: purpose, method, tools and people.

Monstarlab DMA Approach Details
*RACI = Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed

Unlike other assessments that either only focus on tech and data, or only on value or return of investment, Monstarlab offers a comprehensive overview of key aspects in your organisation. This is to avoid causing clients to misunderstand and oversimplify their shortcomings. For five executive years, Harvard Business Review (HBR) survey data has shown that executives identify cultural challenges as the biggest obstacle to successfully implementing data initiatives. Over 92% of respondents stated that they continuously struggle with the cultural, organisation, and operational aspects which are crucial to enable change [1]. By covering all these bases, such a wide-ranging DMA will help your business to avert such challenges brought about by oversight.

On top of that, unlike other services where evaluation is mostly done only in the beginning, a reliable DMA like Monstarlab’s will help you continuously optimise your systems. Why is this level of consistency important? A one-time perfect score in a single-phase DMA does not guarantee that your success or good performance will last. After a year, the 37.8% of organisations who have identified themselves as data-driven in the same HBR survey have shrunk to just 24% of the participant population. A decline indicative of the continuous need to optimise and recalibrate as well as of the fallibility of one-time audits [1].

Our approach to the assessment allows you to understand and work towards the complete, sustainable, bigger picture. At the same time, we assess data maturity in multiple points of your journey. This accounts that optimisation is a non-linear path. Continuous improvement and adjustments are made through value-adding projects along the way, just like how your GPS accounts for real-time changes in your way and allows you to recalibrate and optimise your chosen path.

Risks of running your strategy without a holistic assessment Only 29.2% of surveyed executives reported successful transformational business outcomes. Failed attempts were largely attributed to lack of business alignments. For the same reason, less than 30% are able to claim having developed a well-articulated data strategy for the same reason [1]. Skipping steps or failure to cover all bases in your digital transformation or data management processes also delay successful transformation and accumulate costs along the way [1].

Key Takeaways

Implementing a Data Maturity Assessment can help your business achieve your transformation goals with a clear understanding of the landscape, the utmost control of your journey, and best of all through the most measurably efficient path you can take.

Much like GPS, DMA takes account of the capacity of your vehicle, real-time hazards and developments along your way, the nuances of all the other paths/options taken before, and even your personal preferences should you prefer a different route than it suggests. All of which allows for you to maximise your time and resources with a realistic and yet high-return path it has coordinated.


[1] Harvard Business Review, “Why Is It So Hard to Become a Data-Driven Company?”, 2021
[2] Splunk, “Data Maturity: What Is Your Data Really Worth”, n.d.
[3] Harvard Business Review, “Companies Are Failing in Their Efforts to Become Data-Driven”, 2019
[4] NewVantage Partners, “Big Data and AI Executive Survey 2021”, 2021
[5] Cognopia, “Why You Need a Data Maturity Assessment”, 2021

Experts Featured

Mikkel Lehmann

At Monstarlab, we approach each project with the time and attention it deserves. We believe in creating custom solutions rather than relying on templates. This human-centered approach allows us to truly tailor our approach to each partner’s unique needs.


Monstarlab Marketing

Monstarlab Marketing

Global Marketing Team

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