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An April 2018 thought-leadership study by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by SAP makes a clear connection between better business performance and companies transitioning to high-performance analytics. The study, based on a survey of 485 analytics and BI decision-makers around the world, finds that 92% of companies with mature data and analytics/BI practices have seen revenue growth of 15% or more in the past three years.

These findings highlight the importance of following a clear roadmap to high-performance analytics, or “analytics/BI maturity”---where every decision-maker is getting the timely, contextual insight they need to help grow the business.

For companies that have yet to achieve that level of analytics/BI maturity, the question is: How do you begin that journey towards the intelligent enterprise? A closer look at the Forrester study provides some insight.

Understand the Analytics/BI Maturity Spectrum

Forrester found that a significant portion of the companies surveyed (82%) realize that a hybrid analytics approach---combining on-premises data and technology investments with cloud capabilities---is an important next step to enhance overall analytics/BI effectiveness. However, each company is adopting its own mix of cloud and on-premises resources. What emerges is a spectrum of analytics/BI maturity levels.

On one end of the spectrum, companies are running standalone analytics applications, pulling limited sets of stale data, and limiting access to a single department or the individual user level. On the other end, companies are running agile analytics enterprise-wide, providing greater self-service capabilities for business users, and delivering accessible analytics that is contextual, actionable, and pervasive across the organization.

Define Mature Analytics/BI Practices

To better assess each company’s level of analytics/BI maturity, the study focused on the relationship between a company’s BI operation and the larger enterprise in terms of organizational investment, process improvement, and technology innovation. The responses have given Forrester a deeper understanding of the characteristics of analytics/BI maturity. In fact, Forrester provides a snapshot of what a mature analytics/BI operation looks like in practice, including:

  • Using analytics/BI to drive business decisions and produce tangible outcomes

  • Embedding contextual, timely analytics/BI in different business processes and applications

  • Making analytics/BI easy to use and highly valued by employees across the company

  • Driving a company-wide commitment to analytics/BI innovation, supported by company leadership

  • Continuously evaluating and adopting the latest cloud technologies

Get a Baseline

The study also provides useful insights that can help companies better understand where they land on the analytics/BI maturity spectrum and how extensively they are using cloud technology and services to enhance BI capabilities. For example, are companies using analytics/BI in the cloud to leverage untapped stores of on-premises data or moving entirely to the cloud with standalone services? Are companies continuing to work with traditional analytics/BI tools or looking to adopt more powerful capabilities using technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, or Internet of Things?

To convey these insights in a practical way, Forrester Consulting has created an analytics assessment tool based on the survey data from the study. The tool, also commissioned by SAP, can be used by analytics/BI professionals to establish a clear, measurable baseline for their company’s analytics/BI maturity. By answering a few questions about your company’s current practices, you can better understand how your analytics/BI maturity stacks up against your peers and get recommendations for improvements.

Find Out Where You Stand

It’s hard to get where you want to go if you don’t know where you are today. By answering a few simple questions in the Forrester Analytics Assessment Tool, you can establish your own company’s analytics/BI maturity baseline and use that insight to chart your future course. It’s a great way to jump-start a productive, evidence-based discussion on the role of BI and hybrid analytics at your company.