The IT Operational Maturity Model Explained

Emerald City Solutions

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As a business owner, you have a business plan to describe your peak performance and goals with measurable outcomes to determine how well your performance measures up to your expectations. The operational maturity model in IT does the same for your IT solutions, including hardware, data security, network speed, and strategic advantage through IT implementation.

Using a maturity assessment, business owners of all sizes can determine their current IT maturity level and plan adjustments in IT strategy to strive for a fully integrated IT solution that encourages business growth and success.

What Is the IT Operational Maturity Model?

Operational maturity describes the highest level of IT system integration into a business system. A low maturity level describes a business failing to utilize IT solutions to improve their business processes and functions. This could describe a business that uses Gmail as its primary email host, doesn’t budget to upgrade technology, and doesn’t have a regular data backup system and schedule in place.

A high maturity level describes a business that effectively plans to incorporate new technologies into their operations. This includes network security, cloud backups, a professional data recovery plan, and fast network speeds for less downtime and more productivity. Businesses with high operational maturity often use some level of automation to improve worker productivity on human tasks.

The Three Levels of Operational Maturity

There are three levels of operational maturity that many companies move through as they work toward the highest maturity level. Each step moves a company away from simply using technology for daily tasks of production and toward using technology as a tool to grow its business by predicting, preparing for, and initiating future industry movements.

First Level—Reactive

At the first level, companies may have the bare minimum solutions for daily processes. This could include simple email management solutions, a website capable of processing web transactions, a backup server, and networked computers and devices. Human workers utilize these tools to fulfill their job duties but may not have much say in the processes.

Second Level—Hybrid

At the intermediate level of the operational maturity model, maturity assessments have shown that companies need to upgrade for higher performance, and the businesses are in the process of updating. At this stage, a company might have developed a disaster recovery plan, could have regular technology training for employees, and might have put data backup onto a regular schedule.

Many processes might feature some level of automation, and human workers might have some input in shaping future steps in the company operations.

Third Level—Proactive

At the highest level, businesses are fully integrated with an IT strategy that makes use of technology at every level of business processes to improve performance and productivity. Full IT operational maturity could include AI automation, advanced data analytics, and full automation of certain operational steps. Human workers have time available to innovate new business solutions to improve company profits.

How to Perform a Maturity Assessment

Maturity assessments take measurements of performance and IT integration across multiple aspects of business operations and assign a score according to how well-integrated your IT solutions are and how much they contribute to business productivity.

While there are several pre-built operational maturity assessment forms and apps available online, turning to a professional IT solutions provider could be your best chance to analyze your current IT solutions and develop a fully integrated IT roadmap to help you reach your business goals.

Your maturity assessment should include measurements for operations and productivity like:

  • Data analysis tools
  • Automation processes
  • Data management and backup
  • IT integration and infrastructure
  • Human-technology compatibility
  • Industry leadership

How to Improve Operational Maturity

There are several operational maturity tools available online that help business owners understand their level of operational maturity and work toward higher IT integration. Your business may benefit from these tools, in-house solutions, or a third-party IT provider’s tools.

Google SRE

Google published an e-book about SRE (Site Reliability Engineering). The Service Reliability Hierarchy describes the steps in building a reliable operational plan, beginning with monitoring and ending with the product or service offered. The complete hierarchy lists the steps as:

  1. Monitoring
  2. Incident response
  3. Postmortem/root cause analysis
  4. Testing and release procedures
  5. Capacity planning
  6. Development
  7. Product or service

You can use this hierarchy to ensure that you implement the most appropriate IT solutions at each step for complete integration of your technology and tools.

AWS Well-Architected

Amazon’s AWS Well-Architected framework helps companies analyze their operational maturity through six pillars, including:

  • Operational excellence
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance efficiency
  • Cost optimization
  • Sustainability

Each pillar focuses on a specific aspect of commercial success. For example, the operational excellence pillar focuses on systems, processes, and standards, while the security pillar focuses on data protection, user access and permissions, and breach detection and response.

Rearchitecting for Growth

Your strategy needs to accommodate the growth of your company and operations. While your current IT solutions might be suitable for your current site traffic and transactional needs, will they be able to handle a sudden rush of visitors after your marketing team posts a popular ad that doubles brand awareness overnight?

Whether your company growth is slow and predictable or sudden and chaotic, your technological solutions need to be able to handle more site visitors, employee workstations for new hires, and additional data processing. Will your current IT strategy be able to keep up?

Develop a Value-Driven Assessment and Strategy

The key consideration for your IT strategy is whether your planned technological improvements create value for your company. To be valuable, your strategy must be:

  • Broad and flexible
  • Targeted toward your end goal
  • Data-driven
  • Personalized for your company
  • Collaborative

Contact Emerald City Solutions to Assess and Plan for Operational Maturity Assessment and Planning

At Emerald City Solutions, we’re family-owned and proud of our reputation for taking care of our clients and our community. We serve businesses of all sizes in the area in and around Seattle, WA, including Everett, Lynnwood, Arlington, and Marysville.

Call us at Emerald City Solutions today or contact us online to schedule a consultation for your operational maturity model assessment or strategy development.

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