IT Maturity: What No One Is Talking About

    October 28, 2015

    By Per Bauer

    Consumers expect digital services at their fingertips, yet many businesses struggle to provide effective and reliable IT functionality. Not to be underestimated, this disconnect can have dire financial consequences.

    The world today is ruled by easy access to services and information online. Yet surprisingly, many businesses still treat IT as an afterthought or annoyance. Many others appreciate the importance of IT, but aren’t sure how to create a coherent plan for improving upon what they’re already doing. The reality is that even leading industries have room to build on their IT maturity  their level of sophistication in delivering online services.

    This is an enormous missed opportunity. When a sophisticated IT strategy is aligned with a business’s larger goals, IT becomes a major asset, not an obstacle.

    IT Maturity Means Smart Decisions

    In 2015, a stunning 89% of mid-sized companies remain in the early stages of IT maturity, focusing their efforts on “day-to-day IT management tasks that are often time-consuming and manual,” as eWEEK reports. In fact, 53% of IT organizations rank in the very first stage, the Chaotic stage, as we've previously noted.

    In these early stages of IT maturity, a company struggles to stay afloat as it scrambles to address problems on a case-by-case basis. As a company matures, it develops the ability to plan proactively to optimize service, moving from the Chaotic stage to the Reactive, Proactive, Service, and Value stages in due course.

    For a comprehensive explanation of these stages and what a company has to do to move through them, check out TeamQuest’s recent blog post on the topic.

    Many business leaders who aren’t IT experts don’t realize that simply getting a system up and running is an insufficient strategy for long-term success. If hardware and software are implemented without a strategic plan, problems can only be addressed as they arise. This results in wasted employee time, decreased customer satisfaction, and ultimately, lost revenue.

    As more and more “fixes” are added on the fly, the burden of inefficiency grows. Your IT infrastructure should be serving you, not the other way around.

    A well-functioning business can quantify what its IT structure contributes to its operations and bottom line, anticipate future risk, and plan functional adjustments. Instead of making snap judgments to respond to an emergency, decision-makers can analyze quantitative data and respond intelligently.

    Even Leading Industries Have Not Reached the Value Level

    Finance is one of the leading industries when it comes to IT maturity. This drive for IT optimization has been propelled in large part by consumer security regulations, as governmental agencies like the FFIEC hold financial institutions accountable for protecting information assets and ensuring information security.

    In addition to regulatory requirements, market pressures have made moving beyond the first level of IT maturity a commercial requirement. With the advent of online banking and what CNN has called “the computers that run the stock market,” IT service optimization (ITSO) has become increasingly central to everyday life in the financial industry. Customers expect financial institutions to offer additional services without additional risk.

    However, financial institutions are still far from achieving optimal service. Though they have advanced beyond the Chaotic stage, most of these companies are still at the Reactive or Proactive stage of the maturity model. The Reactive stage is characterized by an ability to address problems somewhat smoothly, while the Proactive stage represents the ability to anticipate some issues before they arise.

    This may be a marked improvement over the Chaotic stage that many other industries find themselves in — but there still remains much room for improvement.

    The good news is that most financial institutions now understand that IT is not only a means of avoiding regulatory penalties: it is a valuable tool to improve their bottom lines.

    Reaching the Value Level with TeamQuest

    When businesses embrace a maturity model and use analytical processes to optimize performance, it’s like turning on a light in a dark room.

    IT can be a business entity that functions as an integrated part of your organization, but you have to make it so. Indeed, IT service optimization (ITSO) goes hand-in-hand with business leadership, delivering great customer service, and achieving financial goals.

    The first step on the path to the Value level is to set your optimization goals. With those targets in sight, TeamQuest can help your business achieve increased efficiency, reduced risk, and improved agility. But first, take the IT Service Optimization Maturity Assessment to find out where your organization ranks on the model.

    Making a plan today leads to a better future for your business  there is no time like the present to find out how TeamQuest’s ITSO solutions can put you on the path to success.