Blog: IT Consulting

IT Maturity 101

December 12, 2017 - by Synoptek

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Those in IT reliant companies are shifting their roles. Why? In part, as a result of economic changes, market influences, and the growing importance of technology as a success differentiator. They’re transitioning from traditional service providers to strategic business partners and — even beyond — to innovation anticipators. Savvy business leaders realize these partnerships are key to successful IT implementations, growth, and competitive advantages. Implementing IT within all aspects of your business can have several benefits that include:

  • greater agility,
  • more flexibility, and
  • increased efficiencies

Implementing IT infrastructure to streamline business wide operations requires steps that are dependent on one another. You should not go in blind, guessing what infrastructure might work best and trying to piece it all together. To grow successfully, business insiders must first understand where their IT processes fit within their business processes and then approach their next moves methodically. To achieve this, it’s best to review your company IT maturity level.

What are the IT maturity levels?

IT partners develop maturity models to help organizational decision-makers determine their status as well as form plans to transition to more mature levels of IT operation, such as the Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). The Synoptek Maturity Model defines the following levels of maturity.

  • Level 0 — This is the most basic level at which business leaders see IT as a cost center. Those at your company may utilize basic information technology infrastructure and may even use an IT supplier. However, there are no accompanying plans or goals for technology growth. Here, decisions are chaotic, processes are random, and IT departments — if existent — operate in survival mode. Downtime and system failures are most common at this level.
  • Level 1 — Professionals working at this level are aware processes need to change. However, decision-making is often reactive, and budgeting takes place on a project-level basis. Those working on IT function in isolation and are not working to improve operations but rather only to maintain them. Here, IT is still seen as a “necessary evil.”
  • Level 2 — At this level, operations shift to more proactive, standardized approaches. Here, IT staff processes are defined and repeatable, they have formal policies in place, and metrics, service-level agreements (SLAs), and other quantifiable measurements govern business strategies. Those working at this level are hoping to leverage IT as an advantage and work to incorporate more multi-departmental participation.
  • Level 3 — Integrated services are prevalent at this level as business insiders not only see the value in IT maturity growth but also understand the wider range of offerings IT professionals can provide. They utilize their service providers as strategic partners. Process automation extends beyond IT at this level.
  • Level 4 — At the top level of maturity, users leverage fully integrated IT services to gain a competitive edge. Those at this level are in optimized business partnerships with their service providers. Here, they position IT as a strategic asset, offering entrepreneurial perspectives, optimized business approaches, real-time and agile processes, and metrics that cross over to all areas within businesses.

Determining your company IT maturity level requires an honest and unbiased assessment of your IT approach. It should encompass a focus on people, processes, technology, and business strategy. An overly generous or skewed assessment can not only hinder your company but can also serve to derail improvement efforts. Company leaders must clearly define their businesses’ starting points to reach new levels of maturity. From there, you can determine the best path for working toward new IT maturity levels and offer strong justification to upper-level management and stakeholders.

The significance of IT maturity

To some, the idea of IT maturity sounds a bit like business school jargon. How can understanding the different levels offer insights, and how is it valuable for business leaders to analyze where they’re at and what they can achieve? The reality is that the ability to link IT to real, measurable business value can convert IT from an expense to an invaluable component of your day-to-day business operations and long-term goals. By assessing your IT maturity level with a view of industry best practices and benchmarks, you can highlight gaps and recognize opportunities to create value. With this perspective, you can use IT to transform and grow your business.

About the Author

Synoptek is an established firm that provides information systems consulting and IT management services. Synoptek and its predecessors have been providing these services for 23 years.

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