“How Do I Reach the Value Level of IT Service Optimization Maturity?” and Other IT FAQs

    September 25, 2015

    By Per Bauer

    Let’s run through a few answers to some of the questions we at TeamQuest receive most often from our clients.

    1. What is IT maturity?

    IT maturity is the sophistication with which a business delivers its online services.

    TeamQuest breaks down a company’s IT relationship into five levels, from complete chaos to full maturity. Each level describes how a business makes use of IT, and how it either helps or hinders them.

    For each classification, TeamQuest suggests a balanced solution that will propel them to a higher level. The levels are sequential, each one informing the progress towards the next. As a company ascends, their internal processes and skills become more refined, enhancing their analytical and predictive capabilities.

    2. Can you walk me through a company's progression through the levels of IT Maturity?

    The first level of IT maturity is aptly named Chaotic. Without a distinct purpose, the business lacks a coherent strategy for overseeing and bettering its online services. Instead, improvement efforts come from external prodding when a customer or user complains. Individual employees handle each issue, which thwarts the cultivation of a reliable, universal system. The hit-and-miss response supplants the opportunity for optimization.

    At the second level, the organization is classified as Reactive. Unlike at the prior level, the company is now able to address incidents quickly and consistently. The driving force behind that change is an availability of information. Within the business, employees can freely access a thorough description of the principal components underlying their services. By processing the incoming data  also known as descriptive analytics  alerts are deployed as specified thresholds are crossed. The growing bank of data enables the automation of rote activities.

    At the Proactive level, the company uses past and incoming data to uncover incident patterns. By identifying trends in the data, an organization diagnoses its risks and prevents problems before they evolve. Collecting and storing data opens the door for advanced analytics, breaking down existing organizational and technical silos that limit the swift integration of data sources. The business expands its data sources, which maximizes efficiency and clarifies priorities.

    The company then graduates to the Service level. The IT infrastructure has now evolved beyond trend-spotting  with predictive analytics, an organization accesses more potent and exact forecasting methods. A company can ask hypothetical questions and game out various “what if” scenarios to bolster decision making. Plus, predictive analytics allow for a more inclusive and integrated IT that involves key business stakeholders.

    Finally, the Value level fully aligns IT with business goals and objectives. Now, the organization gains the ability to optimize operations via proactive, automated actions. The introduction of prescriptive analytics helps a company foresee and solve the potential problems that could occur in any of the forecasted scenarios. Every solution is embedded with a profound understanding of business goals and their relationship to its online services. That approach maximizes benefits while prioritizing finely focused actions.

    3. What defines a company at each level?

    At the Chaotic level, the company scrambles to stay afloat amidst the rising waters of complaints and problems. Without any monitoring or systems surveillance, the business exists hand-to-mouth. Plus, users notice the shortcomings in the service.

    When the organization reaches the Reactive level, it begins to synchronize with issues as they occur. By responding to individual alerts, fixing issues remains a cumbersome, chaotic process. However, the quality of services improves with quicker problem solving. The organization gains an elemental understanding of their infrastructure.

    A business at the Proactive level hunts for and anticipates problems and trends. Historical data illuminates priorities and component interactions, and forecasts behavior. As the analytics advance, so too do efficiency, incident avoidance, and service quality.

    At the Service level, a business predicts trends and fixes issues before they become problems. The company runs efficiently, with IT services catered to its exact needs. Now, the business can shift its focus toward influencing customer demand and broadening its capabilities towards heretofore unavailable avenues.

    At the final level, IT provides actual value to the business. This frees up the organization to plan for events and future decision-making, rather than resolve service issues. The company builds a stronger offense, gaming out ideal optimization strategies while making smaller corrections with automation. The business experiences maximum value.

    4. What does it mean to reach the Value level?

    Upon reaching the Value level, the company receives proactive recommendations that are tied to business decisions. For example, when TeamQuest partners with an organization, we use predictive analytics to comprehend a given service that a company uses and how far away it is from becoming obsolete. TeamQuest places the service on a spectrum from cash cow to growth engine. By comparing those ends of the continuum, TeamQuest develops and offers a bespoke recommendation.

    A cash cow is a service that a company doesn’t depend on because its usefulness will at some point expire or is already losing relevance, meaning that the maintenance of that service’s online components is low priority and will require fewer resources.

    On the other hand, a pillar service that a company needs to drive its growth requires a plan to resolve issues in a manner that’s aligned with business strategy. Though the short-term expenses might be high, the solution will prove cost-effective and risk-averse over the service’s life cycle.

    5. What are the best reasons that companies should strive for that level, and how do you communicate the ROI of that investment?

    At the Value level, a company’s IT works seamlessly and can forecast future issues. With enhanced services, a productive staff, and a streamlined workflow, the Value level maximizes an organization’s ability to provide online services. The ROI at that level is derived from a business partnership that endows the CIO with a repertoire of selective tools. No longer does the IT function as a call center. Without achieving this level, a CIO cannot meet the requirements expected of him or her.

    (Main image credit: GotCredit/flickr)

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