Data Management Maturity Level for Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement professionals are always looking improve their maturity level in order to put stakeholder data to better use. Whether you work in energy, oil & gas, mining, transportation, retail, government or healthcare, the bottom-line need is similar across the board: All companies, regardless of sector, need to closely monitor and measure the success of their stakeholder engagement activities.

What does differ is their ability to do so, based on the organization’s processes and tools for managing stakeholder data. In other words, based on their stakeholder data management maturity level.

This article looks at what stakeholder data management maturity level means, why it’s important to do a data management assessment of maturity level, and how you can improve your data maturity to improve stakeholder engagement outcomes.

What Is Data Management Maturity Level?

First, let’s look at what “maturity” means for an organization:

“Maturity is a measurement of an organization’s ability to undertake continuous improvement in a particular discipline.”

For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the discipline of data management in stakeholder engagement.

There are host of data management maturity models out there that organizations can use to take a systematic approach to conducting a data management assessment, such as CMMI. These and other maturity models guide organizations towards best practices, optimize processes, and empower continuous improvement.

Maturity models are commonly used in project management, information security, software development, and data management – including stakeholder engagement data management.

Why Is It Important to Assess Data Management Maturity Level?

As the saying goes: What gets measured gets improved.” Knowing where you currently stand – and where you want to go – will allow you to create the appropriate plan to improve your stakeholder data management.

Get in touch with a Borealis stakeholder engagement expert to learn how our software can support your organization’s stakeholder data management processes.

What Are the 4 Data Management Maturity Levels in Stakeholder Engagement?

Level 1 – Ground Level: No Digital Trail

Organizations at the first level of data management maturity for stakeholder engagement are working mostly with paper. Any information stored on computers is done so in an unstructured way, which means minimal paper trail or digital records.

Instead, the bulk of strategic stakeholder engagement information is stored in people’s heads. There’s little-to-no institutional memory; as staff members come and go, so does important information.

Level 1 data maturity in stakeholder engagement means there’s no sure way to trace what was said, or what agreements were reached during public consultations or meetings. It also typically means poor handling of grievances and complaints, so they are more likely to escalate.


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Level 2 – Ad Hoc Level: Focus on Data Collection

Organizations at the second level of data management maturity for stakeholder engagement are collecting and recording data, but information is not centralized or easily accessible. All this information is being managed in an uncoordinated manner, often by one or two departments.

Data may exist in different formats (Excel, Word, Access, SharePoint, emails, text messages, photos, PDFs, notebooks, and more), with spreadsheets typically being the most “advanced” approach at this level.

Level 3 – Operational Level: Operation & Project-Focused with Lagging Indicators

Organizations at the third level of data management maturity for stakeholder engagement have a defined approach with some business processes to provide guidance.

At this level, the focus of stakeholder data management is on historical data and regulatory compliance. Teams often use trailing performance indicators to monitor activities and maintain a general overview of the situation.

However, there is often a disconnect in reporting from site to site, with different sites using different systems to report on stakeholder engagement activities. Some organizations at this stage may use a customized CRM or try to build an in-house system, though these systems rarely meet all business needs.

As a result, users rarely fully adopt the system and often end up using a combination of systems and tools, defeating the goal of centralizing stakeholder data.


Tired of being limited by your current system
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Level 4 – Strategic Level: Strategic Management & Performance

Organizations at the fourth level of data management maturity for stakeholder engagement commonly use a fit-for-purpose stakeholder relationship management (SRM) system that’s implemented corporate-wide across projects and departments.

The organization uses the system to track leading social performance indicators, and management regularly consults the system’s stakeholder data to strengthen strategic decision-making.

Stakeholder engagement plans are no longer static documents, but dynamically evolving tools based on the progress of engagement activities and changes in the stakeholder landscape.

If your current stakeholder data management system is not meeting all your needs, request
a demo to see how.

Stakeholder Data Management Assessment – Measuring Your Organization’s Data Management Maturity

Like any other improvement process, identifying your starting point is crucial. According to the data management maturity model you’re using, you can start by asking a few simple questions:

Below is a simple diagnostic tool our team has developed to allow stakeholder engagement professionals benchmark their organization’s stakeholder data management maturity.


How Can Improving Data Management Maturity Improve Stakeholder Engagement Outcomes?

Improving stakeholder data management maturity means:

  • More complete stakeholder data with fewer information gaps, and therefore less stakeholder fatigue and greater trust
  • Less information silos, meaning more accurate stakeholder mapping and better collaboration across different teams engaging with stakeholders
  • Clearer view of the stakeholder landscape and your progress in hitting key stakeholder engagement milestones
  • More informed decision-making, such as knowing exactly what resources to invest, when and where
  • Better reporting and easier compliance with key lenders and regulatory agencies

The Four Maturity Levels of Stakeholder Data Management: A fictional (but accurate) account of the day-to-day challenges of a stakeholder engagement team leader based on the organization’s maturity level.

Improving Your Stakeholder Engagement Data Management Maturity Level – Where to Go From Here?

All of our customers, regardless of industry or role – community engagement, public affairs & government relations, asset & land management, or environmental & social performance – have similar objectives for stakeholder engagement. They need to ensure their projects are socially accepted, and they strive to create genuine shared value.

To that end, the information being collected by their stakeholder engagement teams is of immense strategic value – but only if it’s reliable, presented in a coherent manner, and available to decision makers at the right time.

At Borealis, we help organizations improve their data management maturity level to ensure successful stakeholder engagement and project outcomes. Our fit-for-purpose stakeholder relationship management software can be used by organizations at any stakeholder engagement data maturity level. Its flexible, user-friendly features make it easy for teams to gradually and continuously improve their maturity level over time, at their own pace.

Regardless of where your organization is today in terms of stakeholder data maturity, Borealis SRM software will let you quickly retrieve the accurate and insightful data you need to manage social risks and improve stakeholder outcomes.

Contact us today to learn how our Borealis software can support the success of your projects.

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