Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Overview of the Web Analytics Maturity Model

I've been talking about a Web Analytics Maturity Model for a while now, both on this blog and at previous eMetrics conferences. I'm pursuing my research as part of my MBA thesis and in the coming days and weeks I will share some elements of an upcoming paper (or book?) on this topic. Of course, I'd love to hear from you! Any feedback is welcomed, good or bad :)


Jim Sterne, dubbed as the “godfather of web analytics”, was pushing for online marketing as early as 1994. In his “E-Metrics: Business metrics for the new economy” paper published in 2000 he mentioned that “while all e-business managers clearly recognize the tremendous value of e-customer analytics, most lack the staff, technical resources, and expertise to harness and put to effective use the flood of raw data produced by their Web systems“. A decade later, we can only admit this statement remains true.

The Web Analytics Maturity Model (WAMM) is adapted and derived from proven models in fields such as business intelligence and process optimization, or inspired from models proposed by industry analysts and leaders. Based on the critical success factors contributing to the “use of analytics to make better decisions and extract maximum value from business processes”, those are applied to a five level multi-dimensional capability maturity model.

The proposed model presents five maturity states:
  1. Analytically impaired
  2. Analytically initiated
  3. Analytically operational
  4. Analytically integrated
  5. Analytical competitor
The six key process areas, or success factor dimensions, are:
  1. Management, Governance and Adoption
  2. Objectives definition
  3. Scoping
  4. The Analytics Team and Expertise
  5. The Continuous Improvement Process and Analysis Methodology
  6. Technology and Data Integration
Those maturity levels and key process areas defines common features and attributes as well as key practices that will significantly increase the likelihood of success and positive return of a web analytics program.

What is a Maturity Model anyway?

A capability maturity model (CMM) contains the essential elements of effective processes for one or more disciplines. It also describes an evolutionary improvement path from ad hoc, immature processes to disciplined, mature processes with improved quality and effectiveness.

All proposed models share some similarities in their attempt to define a “framework and objective criteria to determine the sophistication of an organization’s measurement and analysis skills”.

I have reviewed a number of existing models and how they apply to the objective of defining a web analytics maturity model. The following models were evaluated:
  1. Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) from the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University
  2. The Data Warehousing Institute Business Intelligence Maturity Model
  3. Gartner’s Maturity Model for Web Analytics
  4. WebTrends Digital Marketing Matutiry Model (DM3)
  5. Competing on Analytics maturity by stage, by Thomas Davenport in "Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning"

Coming up

In the next post: my take on a definition of web analytics and later on, a critique of other maturity models. Also, I'm putting the model to the test with some organizations and those cases promise to be very interesting! View all posts on Maturity Model topic.

For further information regarding the WAMM and its future evolution, including speaking, consulting and training, visit the Web Analytics Maturity Model area on