Stephane Hamel
Stéphane Hamel speaking in the chapel of Kasteel De Haar

Online Dialogue, a digital optimization agency in the Netherlands, recently invited me to celebrate their 5th anniversary at the wonderful Kastell de Haar. Preaching to the choir (literally), I shared some insight about the concepts behind the digital analytics maturity model I created in 2008, along with some opinion about the maturity of the European market.


A short disclaimer

In the graph below, blue is North America (with 397 respondents) and Orange is Europe (199 respondents since 2013-03-01). These results are based on self-assessment from hundreds of analysts and organizations of various sizes and verticals and as such, represent averages.

As any good analyst would attest, averages should be taken with a bit of caution. Nevertheless, as a former analyst at Gartner once told me:

“The primary benefit of a model is the conversations it sparks.”

So let’s have a “mature” conversation.

Organizational dimensions

Governance, Objective and Scope, together, represent the organizational aspects: the “what”.

Team, Process and Technology represent the operational aspects: the “how”. Having the organizational dimensions higher than operational ones isn’t unusual and reflects the general state of most organizations: the capacity to “do” analysis and align with business expectations is limited.

We see the results are very close, with the EU a little less mature in Governance, and more ambitious Objectives and Scope. Since Governance is lower than Objective & Scope, the lack of an appropriate governance structure represents a common risk. Furthermore, since Scope is significantly higher than all other dimensions, it indicates that in general, organizations are trying to measure too many things instead of focusing on one channel or one area of the business, retrieving the most value, and demonstrating analytical leadership and success.

Operational dimensions

Unsurprisingly, Process & Methodology is the lowest dimension – which has been the case in all studies we have conducted. Most analysts were trained on the spot – they learned as each new challenge had to be tackled. Education has emerged over the past few years, but most of today’s analysts have a marketing background and developed problem-solving skills through experience (while some other academic backgrounds focuses more on problem solving, process optimization and data analysis competencies). Developing the Process & Methodology dimensions means the organization can replicate analytical success through strong hypothesis building and a structured organization of the tasks involved in digital analytics, as well as empower the team and business stakeholders through knowledge transfer and an increased understanding of the digital analytics value brought to the organization.

Facilitating the discussion in your workplace

The primary intent of the self-assessment tool is to allow you to take a step back and think about the strengths and weaknesses of your digital analytics practice. Obviously, your own perception and bias can easily reinforce your opinion about stronger and weaker areas, thus my word of caution on how you approach the discussion with your colleagues and stakeholders. In most cases, it is best to enlist a third party – be it Cardinal Path or a local agency such as Online Dialogue to manage the interviews, summary and presentation of the state of digital analytics maturity for your organization. Beyond raising awareness and facilitating change management, the process will result in a more realistic roadmap that will address weaknesses and tap into your strengths.