Data intelligence maturity: Why it’s essential to delivering better outcomes

Today, most companies recognise that data is critical to success.

However, data will only be beneficial to your business if it’s coupled with a mature data intelligence culture. While we know businesses are collecting more data than ever, most of this data isn’t always used effectively, efficiently or at all.

The reality is that companies have been storing data since the 1950s, but only in the past few years have they started to understand how to manage and use it – or in other words, how to become more data intelligent. What’s still proving a challenge for many is taking the next step to achieving data maturity.

Data intelligence maturity is about the degree to which an organisation has adopted the technologies, processes, and policies required to manage its data and its ability to leverage data to make informed business decisions. This has become critical to business success, not only in helping businesses become aware of the data they currently have but also allowing them to put it to good use.

Why is data maturity so important

But why should businesses care about data maturity? The answer is simple – the more mature your organisation is, the better the result will be for your business. Data maturity is strongly correlated with more successful business outcomes, according to IDC’s 2022 Data Intelligence Index, commissioned by Collibra.

The research found that nearly 7 out of 10 professionals believe data intelligence is crucial to making informed business decisions and driving better business outcomes, while companies with the highest data intelligence maturity are seeing 3X better outcomes. The top three business outcomes seen by respondents from highly mature data cultures include greater industry innovation, better adherence to regulatory compliance requirements, and faster time-to-market for new products and services.

Don’t just implement, adopt

But the IDC survey also found that, while there is a wide implementation of data intelligence technology, there is a much lower level of adoption. Data intelligence adoption — not just implementation — is critical to success.

In fact, long-term data intelligence capabilities — including data cataloguing and data quality management technologies — are among the least implemented and adopted, despite only 5% of respondents claiming they don’t face data governance challenges within their organisations.

Adopting a new and long-term outlook on data technologies takes more than simply adapting current data storage and sourcing methods. To fully reap the benefits of data intelligence, businesses must look to change their data culture altogether.

Where to begin

Achieving data intelligence maturity is more than just a mindset, a culture, a process, or a team. In a digital-first world, data culture is more important than ever — and almost everyone recognises this today. The IDC study found that nearly 9 in 10 respondents said they had a dedicated team responsible for data culture, building data literacy, and integrating the use of data into everyday business activities. So why not do the same for data intelligence?

Despite having dedicated data teams, businesses are still unclear when it comes to exactly who is responsible for overseeing data intelligence adoption. With no one to take charge and instil key changes throughout the business, data intelligence cannot be fully effective in driving a business’s success.

Once someone is appointed with responsibility for the data intelligence adoption process, one key area they should investigate is their company’s cloud solution. In most cases, a data intelligence platform can prove to be essential to creating an environment where data can be used effectively and seamlessly throughout a business. Not only do cloud solutions help businesses to further accelerate their data capabilities but they also leverage advanced analytics tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate data-driven insights.

The roadmap to data maturity

To truly increase data maturity, productivity and innovation, businesses need a clear and practical roadmap for advancing up the data maturity ladder. This is usually most effectively done by investing in attracting and retaining talent, as well as leveraging the right technology to unlock the full potential and benefits of their data. Businesses must also commit to upskilling their existing staff through training courses, so that they are able to use data in their work. This will help to drive team productivity and is essential to the successful adoption of data intelligence.

As businesses increase their data maturity, it will inevitably transform their internal problem-solving capabilities. They will start to incorporate existing data to encourage seamless customer experiences. Used the right way, data can prove to be an invaluable source of growth for a business. The key is to recognise the data’s potential, analyse it effectively, and build a data-driven culture that allows the business to make decisions using the abundant knowledge that data can provide.

Navigating data intelligence

With companies working to achieve a higher level of maturity, it’s clear that there’s still a way to go before organisations can utilise data more effectively. If there is one message to extract from this, perhaps it is that businesses need to be aware of the data they have, and that data intelligence will be fundamental to their future success – they just need to learn how to navigate it. With the right tools, data culture, and adoption strategy, organisations can start making better decisions and drive more value from their data in the long term.

About the Author

Laura Sellers is Chief Product Officer at Collibra . Since 2008, Collibra has been uniting organizations by delivering trusted data for every use, for every user, and across every source. Our Data Intelligence Cloud brings flexible governance, continuous quality and built-in privacy to all types of data. The Global 2000 relies on Collibra to create the critical alignment that accelerates workflows and delivers better results faster. 

Featured image: ©