23 July 2020

What's Your Business Intelligence (BI) Maturity Level?


Business Intelligence market is constantly growing, and more and more companies start to notice the potential of their daily data.

The estimated findings say that the global BI market is steadily growing with compound annual growth rate (CAGR) at about 8% level or even more. Furthermore, based on calculations prepared by different research companies, forecasts say CAGR can accelerate and grow to 10-12% in the next few years.

Of course, this year is completely unpredictable, so we will probably need to redefine all these forecasts once the entire world returns to its previous order. It’s worth emphasizing that the awareness of companies of the value of their data is constantly evolving.

There are a few factors that help improve BI maturity level:

  • Modifications and enlargements of internal systems architecture,
  • Data migration to the cloud,
  • Capabilities of modern business intelligence tools such as Power BI, Tableau, Qlik, and many others.

Business Intelligence (BI) maturity model

Many different models help determine the potential of companies and categorise them based on their current solutions. We can distinguish ten or even more such models, but I will focus on the BI maturity model prepared by Gartner.

Using that model we can distinguish five different business intelligence (BI) maturity levels:

What does it actually mean? As a quick introduction, let’s talk about these levels:

Level 1: Unaware

This is often described as a basic level. Companies at this level highly rely on their intuition. They apply some ad-hoc analysis that is mostly based on personal data extracts. There are no formal processes, procedures, nor practices prepared to support BI.

Level 2: Opportunistic

There are some business intelligence solutions implemented, available only for limited users. They are scattered across the company and work as stand-alone projects. Individual departments prepare data for their own needs, but databases or data marts that help to make use of the capabilities of BI tools.

Level 3: Standard

At this level, technology standards start to emerge, and some process assumptions are implemented in the entire organization. Generated is consistent- there are reports, dashboards, analyses, and conclusions that are shared among different departments. Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC) also starts at this level – it’s a cross-functional group of people responsible for organised and effective use of business intelligence solution across the entire organization.

Level 4: Enterprise

Implemented BI solution is mature and intensively used to support the decision-making process. Selected tools, business intelligence, and analytics tools are consistent across all employees, from analytics to senior management. Business Intelligence Competency Center is replaced by the improved and more important Analytics Center of Excellence (ACE).

Level 5: Transformative

The Highest level of Business Intelligence maturity – data and analysis (D&A) is a central business strategy. There’s a general trust in received data, and all the information is used to generate maximum potential – increase sales, effectiveness, and reduce costs. Transformational technologies, such as artificial intelligence, are in use to reach business goals and help in the decision-making process.

Business Intelligence maturity in practice

That’s all about theory, but how does it look in practice? According to the Gartner survey from 2019, over 87% of respondents had low business intelligence and analytics maturity, falling into “basic” or “opportunistic” categories.

In many cases, that means wasting an opportunity to increase productivity and effectiveness in the organization.

According to the official note, “This creates a big obstacle for organizations wanting to increase the value of their data assets and exploit emerging analytics technologies…”

Improve your BI maturity level

Survey results, provided by Gartner, show that there’s still a lot to do in terms of proper Business Intelligence implementation in many organizations, but it’s worth remembering that awareness of the value of data is still increasing.

Let’s stay positive! Even if the vast majority of companies have low BI maturity, it’s not too late to start improving BI and analytics solutions. Be one step ahead of competitors and bring your organisation to another level!

Invest in business intelligence tools to boost your business!

Karol Karpiński
Software Developer

For many years, Karol has been working with data. He's interested in databases and data warehouses, reporting systems, and areas connected to Business Intelligence - data analysys and visualisation.