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Free tool from Collibra tests data maturity against peers

The assessment tool is free to anyone and is designed to help organizations better understand the evolution of their data and analytics systems relative to others.

Collibra on Aug. 11 unveiled a new tool that allows organizations to test their data intelligence maturity against their peers.

The Data Intelligence Assessment Tool was launched in concert with the publication of a new IDC report sponsored by Collibra, a cloud-based data management vendor based in New York City.

According to the "2022 Data Intelligence Index," two-thirds of the more than 1,000 respondents said that having intelligence about the data they use to inform decisions plays a critical role in the success or failure of choices they make based on analytics.

However, about two-thirds also noted that it's a challenge to identify and control their organization's data sources.

Assessing data maturity

With that information as a starting point, along with anecdotal information gathered through conversations with both existing and prospective customers, Collibra, with IDC, developed the Data Intelligence Assessment Tool to enable organizations to better understand the maturity of their data operations and improve their data-informed decision-making processes.

Other data and analytics vendors already offer similar tools. Qlik provides assessments through its data literacy program, and Calligo, in partnership with Fivetran, offers its Data Maturity Impact Assessment. Likewise, training organizations like EWSolutions and TDWI provide data strategy assessments.

Collibra's data maturity assessment -- which is free and available to anyone -- is made up of a series of questions. After completing the assessment, organizations receive a customized report that shows them their data maturity -- how deeply ingrained data analysis is in their organization -- compared with their peers and provides recommendations for how to improve their data intelligence. The recommendations include Collibra products.

We noticed there is a wide range of maturity when it comes to how [organizations] think about and implement data intelligence. This made us curious to get a broader understanding of data intelligence trends and maturity across industries and organizations.
Stijn 'Stan' ChristiaensCo-founder and chief data citizen, Collibra

"We noticed there is a wide range of maturity when it comes to how [organizations] think about and implement data intelligence," said Stijn "Stan" Christiaens, co-founder and chief data citizen at Collibra. "This made us curious to get a broader understanding of data intelligence trends and maturity across industries and organizations."

Ultimately, the Data Intelligence Assessment Tool and assessment surveys like it serve to educate organizations about their own operations, according to David Menninger, analyst at Ventana Research.

"It helps an organization understand how well -- or poorly -- they are addressing the issues being assessed," he said. "It's not imperative, but it's helpful to raise awareness within an organization."

And though helpful, assessment tools in general have limitations, according to Donald Farmer, founder and principal of TreeHive Strategy. He noted that different departments, regions and teams within large enterprises often have widely varying skills, and a single assessment cannot capture that complexity.

"It can make sense -- and I actually recommend this approach -- to run the assessment separately for different suborganizations with the specific aim of capturing this variation," Farmer said. "You can learn a great deal from that process, including where your strengths and weaknesses lie, where internal cross-fertilization and mentoring can help, and where to focus your resources."

In addition, he noted that assessments only capture an organization -- or a subgroup within a larger enterprise -- at a single moment. They do not show whether data maturity or any other subject matter being assessed is improving or declining, or whether change is happening quickly or gradually.

"I think the assessments can be super useful if they are taken over time in order to track change," Farmer said. He advises organizations to "use assessments at the right level, not for the whole business at once, and use them over time to benchmark progress -- or lack of progress."

And given Collibra's expertise in data management and data preparation, the vendor is positioned to offer such an assessment of an organization's data maturity, he added.

Platform capabilities

Collibra has also continued to update its main platform, the Data Intelligence Cloud, which automates the data preparation workflow.

First introduced in June 2020, its update in March 2022 brought a new browser extension and enhanced data governance capabilities.

"Collibra has done a good job establishing itself as one of the leading data governance vendors," Menninger said.

Unlike data management vendors such as Alation that began with data catalogs, Collibra initially addressed data policy creation and management, Menninger noted. Now, however, Collibra and its peers offer platforms that include both sets of capabilities.

As Collibra continues to add functionality, coming Data Intelligence Cloud updates will be centered on helping data teams more quickly and more securely access and work with data, according to Christiaens.

Meanwhile, Menninger said he would like to see Collibra and other data management vendors add more analytics governance capabilities. They have long enabled governance around the use of data, but they haven't yet tackled guidelines around the way analytics projects are executed and deployed.

"I'd like to see greater integration of analytics governance with data governance, not just in Collibra, but in all data governance products," Menninger said. "Analytics governance is just as important, but doesn't yet get the same level of attention in the market."

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