Mastering Information to Empower Your Enterprise:
A Maturity Model for Enterprise Information
Download the full Maturity Model as a PDF
How mature is the information in your enterprise?
To begin to answer this question, indulge us in a thought experiment. Imagine walking into a library where there was no structure, organization, or card catalog. All the books were randomly placed on shelves without any regard to their subject matter, author, etc. You might have fun browsing, but it would be difficult (if not impossible) to find a specific book you had in mind. Thank goodness for librarians, right?
Think of the information, content, and data your organization possesses as a bunch of books thrown in a random bin in the library. They exist, but people may not know they exist, nor how to find them. For example, in e-commerce, we often repeat the expression, “customers can’t buy what they can’t find.” Usually this poor findability comes from lack of standardized terms for both the type of data (or attribute) and the associated values. Think of a product page form where you select size or color from a pick list (or dropdown menu). If the terms in that list vary from product to product, then you’ve got a findability problem.
The information that allows you to find a book or a product doesn’t get there by magic.
There are people, systems, processes, and technologies involved. And each requires thoughtful and strategic planning. A lack of high-level information strategy, governance processes, and inadequate technology, lead to myriad issues.
Enterprise organizations have many highly specific taxonomies and controlled vocabularies. But they are often controlled and applied in an inconsistent and ad hoc manner. Database schemas may be created for new systems with no consideration for the people and processes required to maintain them. Eventually, customers can’t find products, analytics are nearly impossible, inefficiency abounds, and you’re unable to keep the pace in our rapidly changing digital landscape.
Factor has helped move organizations towards information mastery, from a wide range of starting points. While each client has its own unique challenges, common themes have emerged over the years. We hope that by laying out these themes in a maturity model, organizations and information architects can better assess their current state and the amount of effort required to master enterprise information.
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Stages in enterprise information mastery
Information, processes, and business goals exist in silos.
Integrating information across boundaries only occurs via time-consuming ad hoc processes.
Personalization, cross team collaboration, analytics, etc. are almost impossible due to lack of consistency of information across the organization.
Instances of SME-led or even executive enthusiasm, and empowerment mostly driven by personal heroics at a department level have emerged.
But there’s no coherent view of how to move forward.
Lack of organizational alignment and incremental, tactical focus leads to skepticism and frustration. Opportunities seen & projects defined, but limited traction.
Initial success synchronizing information leads to optimism, but a unified information strategy is still elusive.
Executives may see the benefits of unifying information and eager teams are developing capabilities, but organizational transformation is still nascent.
Organizational alignment, adoption and compliance have solidified.
An enterprise-wide information model is in play. A capabilities, technology and resourcing roadmap exists.
New capabilities can be on-boarded efficiently. There is a rational, orderly governance framework.
Information is a strategic organizational asset that has quantifiable equity.
It is core to the organization’s identity, business strategy, and operations.
As a center of excellence, the organization is continuously improving.
Information is available as an always on real-time digital service.
We know there is a lot of nuance at every organization. That’s why we provide a free, 30-minute consultation to discuss your results in more detail and determine how to progress to the next stage.
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