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Your IT maturity checklist: How mature are you?

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By Tony Price, World Wide Lead for Strategy and Transformation Consulting, HP Software Professional Services

 

As an expert in IT transformation a lot of what I do for customers is go in and tell them their baby is ugly.

 

Let me explain. To get to the new, cool things many of my colleagues have been talking about on this blog, like consumption-based software services and out-of-the-box adoption, you need to have a certain level of maturity in your organisation. But many organisations simply aren’t ready yet—and they don’t realise it. The sad truth is, many are simply not mature enough to be able to internalise and deliver on the dream that enticed them initially.

 

What is your maturity level, anyway?

Nobody wants to hear that the organisation is immature or that their baby is ugly. But this knowledge can be invaluable. You can’t map a journey if you don’t know your starting point. So how do you find out where you are (painful as it may be)? Also, just because you have a far reaching vision (often the case when senior executives join an organisation having come from somewhere that was significantly more mature) does not mean your organisation is capable of realising it!

 

So the first step is to recognize how mature you actually are. This is difficult and challenging as you need a level of maturity to be able to assess how mature you are! So many turn to external models to help asses where they are in terms of maturity. The industry is awash in maturity models. Gartner has one, Forrester has one, HP has one, Pink Elephant has one, as does CMMI and so on.  They each have their own individual merits and importantly they are all slightly different.  Hence a Gartner 4 is not the same as an Elephant 4. The number of models out there can make things confusing. And there is probably no perfect model. However it almost doesn’t matter. If you choose one of these models my advice is be consistent—stay with one and stick with it.

 

If you’re at a level 1 or 2, the hurdle is getting past good intentions and putting best practices in motion. At a higher maturity level, the challenge is integration so that your IT services are all working together. At that point the value you get back from your IT is exponentially greater. As you move up in maturity your focus changes from piece parts to end-to-end service delivery.

 

Mind the maturity gap

Failing to understand your actual maturity level can create problems, as mentioned earlier, particularly in companies where senior leadership may have far-reaching visions for where IT is going. For instance, leadership may have a vision for only consuming standard services, single portal entry, out-of-the-box plug and play. But if the IT organisation can’t fix a PC, then you’ve got trouble. There can be a terrible gap between vision and reality.

 

The fact is, a strong vision for where you want to go can give you a false sense of security. Having the vision does not in itself equal maturity. Maturity has to start with a focus on day-to-day operations and move outward from there to how the IT organisation as a whole delivers.

 

I’ve worked with one customer for a number of years. They’re a global consumer goods firm in a very fast-moving environment. When I first started with them, they were focused on getting desktop support right. They were obsessed with fixing laptops and servers. Now they’ve evolved so the goal is to provide everything that’s needed for personal productivity. You can see how they’ve gone from a very component-level focus to a more advanced service perspective. That’s true maturity.

 

Your maturity checklist

I can go into an organisation and within 10 minutes have an idea of how mature they are. Want to know my secret? It’s quite simple and you don’t need a model to do this. Here is my checklist for a mature organisation:

 

  1. Go to the service catalogue and see how your IT services are described (if you don’t have a catalogue that is revealing in its own right). Are the services described very technically or from a business perspective?
  2. If you’re aiming to consume something “as a service” can you actually define the equivalent service you’re currently providing?
  3. If you’re planning to implement software out of the box, do you have strong architectural standards that would facilitate this and the integration required? Or do you have a mismatch of standards and bespoke integrations?
  4. If you are looking to adopt a pay-as-you-go consumption model, have you discussed this with your finance department and are they comfortable in moving to such a model?
  5. Can you describe the value you provide from a business perspective or just from an IT perspective?

Maturity comes in steps. You have to go through each step to build maturity. You cannot miss a step in maturity. However you can be coached to move through the maturity steps at a much faster pace. This is where a transformation coach can help so organisations can realise their vision. Contact HP Software Professional Services to learn more.

 

 

 

(Tony Price has 35 years of IT experience, originally starting his career in mainframe technologies and data center operations. Tony was also an author/contributor to the ITIL® publications and has extensive experience in IT Service Management. He has personally delivered several global IT transformation projects and has a passion for delivering business outcomes.) 

 

Related links:

- Blog post: Savile Row SaaS: Here's what you need to know about new ways of consuming software

- Blog post: 3 signs you’re ready to graduate from basic SaaS

- Blog post: You want to implement software out of the box? Here’s how

- Ebook: Deliver business value

  • IT service management
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