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April 24th, 2017 - By Synoptek
Maturity models are a proven approach for leaders to improve the effectiveness of their organizations. Synoptek’s Maturity Model enables an organization to assess its own People, Processes, Technology, and IT alignment to the core business, so that attention is focused where the greatest impact can be made. This approach is similar to those of Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (CobiT) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).
Level 0 – Everything must start somewhere, and business IT is no exception. Companies in startup will very naturally purchase systems and tools with very little direction or planning beyond choosing their preferred operating platform and hardware manufacturer. Some formal IT Maturity Models refer to this as the “Chaotic” or “Ad hoc” stage. There’s no real plan, policies, or formal management of whatever network infrastructure is installed. There’s nobody really assigned to provide IT and help desk support. If there’s a problem, different people may reach out to different external and internal resources. During this stage, employees will often download software applications at their own discretion, exposing the organization to risk of data loss. Organizations at this level generally do not believe investing in preventative maintenance and management of IT is justifiable.
Business Implications of Remaining on Level 0:
• Business operations are frequently interrupted due to unstable systems and downtime.
• Without proper guidance, the organization’s “IT resource” will develop their own processes. This leads to inconsistency and inability to scale for future growth.
• Employee turnover is usually higher for organizations at this level. Employees become frustrated with IT instability as it limits their productivity.
• The organization cannot keep up with more innovative competitors, impeding its growth, evolution, and ability to even exist.
• Organizations that need to adhere to regulatory compliance standards are at risk of failing compliance requirements and face costly failure fines
Level 1 – Realizing that computer support is draining many peoples’ time, organizations start to put more formal structures in place that are responsive to the frustrations employees are expressing. Many IT Maturity Models refer to this as the “Reactive” stage. Everything that is done, like putting event alerts and reports into place, or identifying the person in each department that is responsible for IT, is a reaction to a given occurrence. These assignments tend to create IT silos where different departments use different applications, different data structures, and different protocols. Even though a more formalized approach to handling problems may be put in place, often the outcome of this is a great deal of firefighting and lost time. The silos created by the fragmented departmental approach tend to increase the cost incurred by having to build applications and database integrations to connect these disparate islands of automation, enabling greater consolidation in reporting for purposes of decision-support. Maintaining uptime availability is key to keeping the users at bay, which ultimately is not the goal most companies would like their IT departments to have. Companies that remain at Level 0 or 1 for any length of time end up with personnel who are very frustrated with the “IT department” even if there isn’t one formally. They continue to view IT as a “necessary evil” that may often impede their progress.
Business Implications of Remaining on Level 1:
• Organizations initiate attempts to minimize the occurrence of IT failure, yet are still prone to critical business failures resulting from IT downtime.
• IT operations become costly, yet remain inefficient and produce a minimal return on investment.
• Strategic technology planning is rare because 50%-70% of IT’s time is dedicated to reactively correcting system failures typically discovered by employees in other departments.
• Spending is sporadic, often wasted on products and tools that are viewed as solutions.
Any change is challenging, and moving from one level of IT maturity to the next is no exception. It isn’t enough to simply do the same things faster, better, or more efficiently. Making the kind of transformation described in the levels of the IT Maturity Model requires organizations to do new things, handle things in new ways, learn new skills and processes, and “unlearn” the ones they replace.
This paper addresses the following:
• How should organizations assess their IT operations, while migrating to an anticipated level of IT maturity?
• What are the IT operational gaps in the way to achieve the desired state?
• What are the best practices an organization can follow at each level?
• What actions can organizations take to migrate to higher levels of IT maturity and continuous improvement?
• What are the business implications if you do NOT mature your IT operations?