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BI Maturity and Are You Stressed?

by Cindi Howson  |  September 16, 2015  |  Submit a Comment

Are you the type of person who likes to take those self-assessment quizzes? You know – how stressed are you? Are you eating right? Are you paid fairly? I like them, but sometimes, I feel like I already know the answer before I’ve finished. Yes, I’m stressed. Sometimes I eat right, but seriously, who can resist chocolate, strong coffee, and probably too much wine on weekends?

So too with BI maturity. We know most of us are not ready for the onslaught of digital data, big data, the internet of things and bimodal BI. Heck, most companies can barely keep up with existing demand let alone innovate for the future. But you must.

It should not have surprised me, then, that the ITScore survey results showed that most companies are on the low end of maturity, with little improvement across the industry. But I still find the results a bit of a bummer.

The ITScore for BI & Analytics assesses the main factors that influence BI maturity:

  • People
  • Process
  • Performance management
  • Program management
  • Platform (data and technology)

It identifies what level of maturity you are at overall, as well as for each factor so you know where to focus efforts for improving your capabilities.

Sadly, the survey results were not particularly encouraging: despite BI’s existence for more than 20 years, most organizations are stuck in the lower levels of maturity. It seems easier to embrace the latest technology innovation like big data or data discovery; it’s much harder to figure out how to adopt the processes and focus efforts on business value the innovations can unleash. BICC? Analytic Center of Excellence? Who should fund it? Where should it report? Centralized or decentralized?

There are a few bright spots in the survey findings, though. Most organizations have a culture that supports the use of data. Hoarding is the exception. Organizations with higher levels of maturity are embracing advanced analytics and embedding them in work processes.

The first step toward improvement is to recognize the problem, so I should take it as a positive too that organizations who suspect they have some challenges are taking the assessment to provide a baseline and a path forward.

As an industry, we need to address way more than technology if we are ever to unleash the full potential of data, BI and analytics. We have to move out of our comfort zone of tech and address those people and process skills. Indeed I chuckled at a recent twitter exchange with Doug Laney, that a key take away from MIT’s CDO Forum was that the best Chief Data Officers will have a liberal arts background.

Lastly, credit for authoring most of this research note goes to Bill Hostmann, a long time Gartner analyst who just retired. I was honored to co-author this note with him, but because it published after he retired, it seems the system couldn’t list him as the lead author. Systems, darn systems! We miss you, Bill, and hope you’re having fun hiking the wilderness and making music!

… now where is that secret stash of chocolate?


Cindi Howson





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Category: business-analytics  business-intelligence  data-and-analytics-strategies  

Cindi Howson
Research VP
1 years at Gartner
25 years IT Industry

Cindi Howson is a Research Vice President at Gartner, where she focuses on business intelligence (BI) and analytics. Her work includes writing about market trends, vendors and best practices and advising organizations on these subjects. Read Full Bio

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