What is data maturity?

Good question, that’s the first question we asked too!

We define data maturity as an organisation’s journey towards improvement and increased capability in using data.

What is a data maturity framework or model?

Essentially this is a structure to describe stages of progress along the journey towards data maturity.

In 2015-6 we researched the concept of data maturity to see what models and frameworks already existed (read our report: A review of Data Maturity Models). There were hundreds of them! Almost all were aimed at large corporate businesses, many very technically and analytically focused, none seemed relevant to the not-for-profit sector.

So, we and our partners DataKind UK set about developing our own framework, one that described data maturity in a language and context our sector could relate to.

Our framework describes five stages of maturity and seven key themes that are important. It’s been updated a few times since then, here’s the latest version of the Data Orchard Data Maturity Framework.


Data Orchard first started thinking about how organisations become data savvy back in 2015. We were developing our theory of change and faced with the challenge of how to measure our impact, ie how to measure whether an organisation has made progress in their data capabilities as a result of our interventions.

In 2016 we were approached by national charity DataKind UK who were interested in finding out how they could assess the ‘readiness’ of charities for data science. The two organisations partnered up and led some ground-breaking national research about data in the non-profit sector. The project, called Data Evolution, resulted in the 2017 publication of a report, a data maturity framework for understanding what ‘good’ and ‘great’ looks like when it comes to organisations and data, and a directory of where to get help with data.