With most companies listing BI/DW within their top agenda, and with the rising costs and confusion around proving the worth of BI/DW and justifying its costs, it makes sense to try and understand the evolution of BI adoption and maturity in organisations.
The Business Intelligence Maturity Assessment should answer these questions:
- Business need for BI/DW and benefits
- Review and assessment of existing systems and data
- Analysis and recommendation of current BI organization and user groups.
Below are couple of industry proven practices to help organisation to gain maturity on their BI practices
1. The TDWI BI Maturity Model
The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) is a premier body in the field of BI and eponymous Data warehousing and proposes a six stage BI maturity model. The underlying assumption being that BI implementation in organizations typically evolves from a low-value cost centre operation to a high value strategic utility to provide competitive advantage.
Stage 1: Prenatal – Executive perception is that of a cost-center, which primarily churns out static reports for management operational reporting. It is also the stage which costs the most.
Stage 2: Infant – The BI function’s role is to inform executives, with several reports leading to “spreadmarts”
A ‘Gulf‘ separates Stage 2 and Stage 3.
Stage 3: Child – The BI function’s role is perceived to empower workers, and this is the first evolution into an analytical system where OLAP and ad-hoc reports are used off data marts.
Stage 4: Teenager – The BI function has evolved into a performance monitoring system by now, using Dashboards and Scorecards, supported by data warehouses.
A ‘Chasm‘ separates Stage 4 and Stage 5.
Stage 5: Adult – This is where the ROI from the BI function shoots up, with predictive analytics answering what-if questions making the BI a strategic utility. The TDWI thinks that organizations’ BI architecture has evolved to have enterprise DW by now, with BI becoming a ‘Drive the Business’ function.
Stage 6: Sage – The BI function at this stage has the highest ROI and decreasing costs based off Analytic Services (SOA) with pervasive BI (e.g. embedded BI) making it ‘Drive the market’
Gartner, the IT research and advisory group’s BI maturity model is based on 3 key areas of assessment – people, processes and metrics. It has 5 maturity levels:
Level 1 – Unaware – Spreadsheet and information anarchy, one-off report requests
Level 2 – Tactical – Usage limited to few executives with data inconsistency and stovepipe systems
Level 3- Focused – Specific ser if users realize value, with focus on specific business need and BI competency centre (BICC) in place
Level 4 – Strategic – Business objectives drive the BI and performance management systems with well defined and enforced governance policies and standards
Level 5 – Pervasive – Use of BI is extended to suppliers and customers, information is trusted (holy grail of single version of truth) with analytics embedded in business processes
Please note – The adoption of maturity model and demonstrating its worth as a strategic tool lies in its complexity. BI is a broad area encompassing both technical and non-technical aspects like people and process; therefore the models can only provide a prescriptive framework which needs to be adapted by each organization. It is important to understand that various departments of an organization can be at varying levels of maturity and not every organization follows the same trajectory of evolution or has to go through each stage.