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Posted by Karen

March 17, 2020


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More than a Business Intelligence Maturity Model

Use a Roadmap to Leverage BI for Smarter Decisions

As a marketer, I may not appreciate the technical intricacies of business intelligence applications, but I certainly understand the importance of getting more from your data. If your organization is having difficulty deriving greater insight, understanding and intelligence from your data, you are not alone.  Data is everywhere. But accessing, organizing, and making sense of it can be daunting.

The Challenge with Data

It’s clear that having up-to-date, data-driven intelligence readily available leads to better business decisions and ultimately to better business performance. Yet many companies are far from having business intelligence that can inform strategic decision-making across the company. This is often due to an inability to access and integrate data from multiple source systems. And it’s not enough to simply import data and analyze it. Rules must be established around who can do that, how it’s to be done and what questions should be asked of the data.

Although most companies attempt to take advantage of data repositories, accomplishments vary. The least sophisticated environments have data scattered across different, disconnected spreadsheets and documents. Employees may want information, but it’s not organized or available in a consumable format and can’t easily be shared. And no one is in charge of data governance. At the other end of the maturity spectrum, systems are in place to ensure that data is organized, curated, and accessible to all levels of staff in the form of actionable dashboards.

How Close are You to Your BI Maturity Goal?

The ultimate goal for a BI solution is for decision makers to have trusted data at their fingertips that will enable BI Strategyaccurate, information-based decisions. To achieve this, it is vital for companies to develop and adapt a business intelligence strategy and a roadmap to implement it.

The first step in choosing to rely more on data for decision-making is to determine where you are along the business intelligence maturity journey and where you want to be. The resulting roadmap will elucidate what you are doing well and what areas need improvement, where you need to go next, and how to get there.

More Than a Business Intelligence Maturity Model

There are multiple business intelligence maturity models available to help you identify how mature your data and analytics strategy is and where you want to be. UBIR – Unilytics Business Intelligence Roadmap was created because our customers asked for a maturity model that provides more guidance – telling them what they need to DO to get to the next stage of business intelligence maturity.

Unilytics Business Intelligence Roadmap

UBIR is Task Based

UBIR is different from other maturity models in that it’s task-based, providing specific assignments and accomplishments to reach the next phase. Tasks and functions are either completed or they’re not, and the next milestone is clearly outlined.

It also provides much more detailed guidance. Because the visual is an interactive dashboard – hovering over any box provides further information.

5 Phases of Activities & Implementations

UBIR directs the user through five progressively more advanced phases of activities and implementations – basic, tactical, focused, strategic, and transformational. They are all intersected by people, processes, and technologies. It’s critical to recognize that all three are required and that the diminished standing of any will cause BI systems to fail. Process, which includes governance, or a lack thereof, is often a crucial area that is overlooked. It also includes the establishment of well understood Key Performance Indicators, or simply what answers to questions are needed to run the business. It’s not enough to create reports; they have to deliver insight that is critical for growth, or in some cases, to avert disaster.

It’s important to recognize that improving your BI maturity level is directly related to how effective you and your organization will be in gaining an advantage from data. Start by reflecting on what you have accomplished so far and what can be done. Be critical of yourself, your team, and your company and use UBIR to help assess where you now are. An UBIR  roadmap will guide you through progressive phases and actions to increase your organization’s business intelligence maturity, so you can make data driven decisions.

UBIR In Action

One of our clients purchased Tableau desktop licenses. In the ensuing two years, Tableau was used only by individuals scattered throughout the company, and data was not available to those who needed it. Processes were not in place to leverage data to gain competitive advantage. Our client identified the need for a more mature BI and analytics strategy and asked for our help.

The image below illustrates how UBIR was used to assess which phase they were currently in for People, Process, and Technology. The arrows indicate the business intelligence maturity phase or goal they were aiming to achieve in each category.

UBIR in Action


For example, for People > Data Ownership they were in phase 1 and wanted to be in phase 3. They recognized correctly that this progression could only be accomplished in manageable increments and would take at least two years to attain. Still, they established this as their long-term goal.

In Process > Data Strategy they were in phase 2 and were aiming for Phase 3.

Once we had this roadmap establishing where they were and where they wanted to be, we used UBIR to identify the specific tasks required in each area to get them there.

For example, in People > Data Ownership , they were currently in Phase 1 . IT centralized data; they had the intention to manage and share data but were not sure how.

Hovering over phase 2 and phase 3 for People > Data Ownership will indicate the assignments and accomplishments required to reach Phase 2 and then Phase 3.

Similarly, when hovering over Phase 4 for People > Data Ownership, the popup window indicates the accomplishments and assignments needed to reach that phase.

As demonstrated in this example, using a business intelligence maturity model like UBIR will greatly facilitate the creation of a roadmap that will progressively increase your organization’s business intelligence maturity. This in turn will allow you to better leverage data to make smarter and more profitable decisions!

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