Look Who’s Talking Maturity!

On from Analytics Culture, Web Analytics

Well, my good friends at webtrends we’ll forgive me my implying they’re a bunch of old farts, with their 15 years in the market now. No, they’re of course not; I’m writing this post to react to their Digital Marketing Maturity Model, which they made public today (in beta, which is surprising for a model, since it’s not an application after all). BTW, you can get the PDF here.

Brace yourselves, dear readers (are there still any left? I sometimes get the feeling everybody is on Twitter now); you are going to hear a lot about this topic in the coming months. you see, we professional web analysts are just plain fed up with repeating the same Web Analytics Greatness Mantra over and over, and still see so many organizations not really doing anything with it. We figured that the problem had to be on their side, right? We finally came to the conclusion that analytics is like a glove; it fits or it don’t. And it comes in various sizes. Hence the recent works on evaluating how ready, analytical, mature, an organization is.

We are seeing various types of classification in Darwinism-like models (hey, nothing wrong with that, and we all know that only the fittest survive in business (or the too big to fail)): people like Thomas Davenport, Josh Manion, Bill Gassman, Stéphane Hamel, Moeller & Landry, Wayne Eckerson, to name a few recent works, have all proposed some ways to determine where in the evolutionary scale of analytical competitiveness a company can be placed.

Webtrends’s model is a similar attempt to identify the main components of maturity and what elements compose each one of those components. Here, of course, as with all other models mentioned above, we could spend hours debating specific items, how they can be concretely evaluated, why here and not there, etc. And I’m not so sure I like radar graphs that much; I certainly wouldn’t want to see them becoming a standard! Which is what webtrends hopes to accomplish with their DM3 model. They are also quite open to feedbacks from the community to improve it.

I just hope we will not see commercial interests around this maturity model thing, and witness debates motivated more by those interests than intellectual pursuit (some commercial stuff is OK; I’m not that naive!).

In the meantime, O Reader, start asking yourself questions if this is the first time you’ve heard about “analytical maturity”, or worse, “analytical competitiveness”. Organizational resistance still is in my mind the biggest obstacle to Web Analytics adoption, to its true operationalization.

You should have a hard look at your own organization; and the wiser you think you are, the harder you should examine your situation.

Give a try to webtrends model, or any other one for that matter.

Just do it this week.

4 responses to “Look Who’s Talking Maturity!

  1. Jacques,

    Yes, we are all on twitter, and yes you still have readers (i am one); the two aren’t mutually exclusive 🙂

    Thank you for the mention of DM3. We too agree that modeling organizational maturity for digital marketing will be a hot topic in the coming months. Our goal, and specifically the ‘beta’ release of the DM3, is to drive forward some consensus on the vernacular and methodology of the model. Your willingness to provide feedback (on everything from the assessment of skills to the use of radar charts) is incredibly important. We want more feedback like this.

    We also agree that the commercialization of models like this would do nothing but harm their adoption and defeat any potential value they can bring to the industry. It’s an important callout.

    Thanks again for spending the time to write-up your thoughts and share them with your readers.

    Jascha Kaykas-Wolff
    vp marketing Webtrends

  2. Having a maturity model is indeed a very valuable tool – especially in helping anyone to develop a real WA roadmap/strategy at entreprise level.

    It is a good way to assess the current situation and define the “ideal” one for your company i.e. the target to reach. And it is a good way to visualize it to management as “maturity model” is a concept that is known in many areas.

    Now I find WebTrends attempt ambitious to make it a “standard”. Stephane Hamel already talked about his “own” model (and will talk at the SJ eMetrics I think). A very good one too. Both are similar.

    I don’t think there is ONE good model. They can be many. What matters is to have a model that makes sense, that clearly defines each area and ranking criteria. Pick one and apply it to your organization and stick to it to set goals and track evolution.

    And good job from WebTrends. BTW I read the paper,did the survey – but didn’t get my score :-/ Okay, I can compute it myself :-).

  3. Bravo to webtrends for publicly presenting a model; even if it doesn’t fit all situations and clients. It’s not possible that we will ever get complete consensus. Too many people have different interests and agendas. Unilytics has categorized 5 Phases of maturity which differ from webtrends’ model but the important thing is to get businesses to consider where they are in the process, to self-assess and for them to understand there is further to go.

  4. @ jasha

    Thanks for your comment! It’s totally cool to make money with one’s brains, and the fruits of one’s thinking. But we agree that a standardized model, to have any chance of success in an industry, could not be a “product”, a copyrighted intellectual property. I think we can certainly commend webtrends for proposing something and openly invite feedbacks from the community. You guys get an A for that here.

    @ Michael

    Totally agree with you. As long as we put some efforts into something to be at least a little intelligent, actually trying stuff out is what’s more important. The search for the “best” model (if it even exists) should not prevent us to try and see how well a model helps us to better work.

    @ Peder

    Right, I forgot to mention Unitlytics efforts in that area. My apologies! I agree with the last part of your comment: better get going than endlessly debate. Actually, trying to apply those models will help better define them.

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