Improving IT Maturity: "Business Partner" and Beyond
by Martin Stewart, on 05-Feb-2018 12:17:45
In our previous blog post, Improving IT Maturity – Moving from “Service-aligned to Business Partner”, we looked at level-4 (Service-aligned) organizations and how they can take a step up the IT maturity ladder to level 5 (Business Partner).
In this post, we look at the typical attributes of an “Level 5” maturity organization, and what happens next. Level 5 may be the top of the scale, but it’s not the end of the IT maturity journey.
What “Level 5” looks like
IT runs a slick operation: IT support (when it is called for) is accessed via web and mobile and the response is fast and effective. The main workload for staff is the execution of a portfolio of new technology projects to continually improve business performance, eliminate costs, shorten time-to-market and enhance the end user and customer experiences.
In the eyes of business stakeholders, IT is characterized by three key attributes: innovation, agility and efficiency. IT leads the innovation process, continually working to improve output and contract time-to-market. Processes, practices and platforms are geared toward high agility—a state of readiness to meet the needs of tomorrow, whatever they might be.
IT operations are exemplary in terms of efficiency, exhibiting (and in many cases defining) the latest best practices. Business unit leaders adopt and adapt proven IT service management practices to improve their own operations—with IT services and support sharing an enterprise service portal with other internal service providers like HR, Facilities Management, Legal, Administration, Accounts and Travel Services.
Infrastructure combines fluidity and reliability. Automation monitors changing patterns of business demand and intelligently flexes the infrastructure to accommodate without human intervention.
What to do next - Processes
Business project portfolio management (PPM) is fully integrated with IT project portfolio management to reflect the technology-driven nature of the enterprise. Processes have reached a level of maturity where the organization runs out of published best practices to adopt/adapt and must continue to evolve processes based on a blend of statistical analysis and experimentation.
What to do next - People
IT people are integrated into the business at all levels, ending the divisive “them and us” mentality between business and IT people. Collaboration at all levels can flourish, enabling truly valuable innovation at an unprecedented rate.
What to do next - Technology
IT management tools fully integrate into business operations systems, providing cross-functional visibility and evaluation of IT performance in terms of how it affects business KPIs.
What to do next - Management
Assess opportunities to move from “running IT like a business” to running IT as a direct revenue-generator by commercializing highly valuable and specialized IT services, mobile apps and data products for partners or for open market customers. The obvious example here is Amazon Web Services; initially an internal IT service that became a market offering. Making this shift towards commercialization requires close collaboration with sales, marketing and customer service.
Buying IT management technology
At this level, your IT organization will have highly-specialized requirements which may not be fully serviced by lower-tier IT management tools. Select a vendor who can provide broad functionality, broad integration, and is quick to respond to emerging customer needs.
This article marks the end of our IT Maturity series. You can access the first five articles in this series here: