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How Mature is Your IT?

by David Moorman, President DynaSis

David Moorman

Just as a company as a whole grows to maturity, so does its IT capability. The more mature an IT department is, the more integral IT becomes as a business advantage. IT maturity is measured in different stages according to the Gartner Model of IT Maturity. Let's take a look at the different levels which the Gartner model of IT maturity breaks down to create a better understanding of where a company's IT departments are at.

Chaotic (Level 0)

This is the lowest category that IT function can fall under. Under this category, IT is basically non-existent, and is used on an as-needed basis. The company itself is more concerned about their turnaround time for their products and the resources that go into their overall product.
IT functioning is not valued, nor is it given the resources that the department needs to carry on everyday activities that keep the company solvent. If the IT department is called upon, it usually is due to something that is end-user related. If one of the users calls and has a problem, then (and only then) is IT called upon to remedy the situation. Otherwise, the business would probably not have any IT personnel on staff because they are viewed as too big of a business expenditure. Usually at level 0, the company is not functioning at maximum capacity and therefore, they are not recognizing as much profit as they possibly could be.

Reactive (Level 1)

At the "reactive" level, IT is only slightly more valued than they were at Level 0. The IT infrastructure is monitored but problems are not addresses in a timely fashion. A basic ticketing systes is in place but most of IT’s time is taken up end-user issues. Problems are mainly addressed on-site instead of using remote management tools that save on costs. This level still puts the IT department at a relatively low level within the company, as their main objective is to "react" to situations occurring within the company.

Proactive (Level 2)

Unlike Level 1, Level 2 has IT much more involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. Monitoring the network is a primary focus and issues can be addressed remotely through advanced management software. Processes are defined and staff work on incorporating quality control principles into the company's technological presence. They are also working closely to set up programs to assess the amount of risk the company's assets are currently under. By weaving these ideas into the technology of the business, the IT department is allowing the company to become more efficient through the use of a checks-and-balances system within their company's technological intranet.

Managed (Level 3)

Level 3 is finally where a company's Return on Investment (ROI) really begins to recognize the benefits of having a competent IT department who is involved with every aspect of the company from the lowest department all the way to corporate officers of the company. IT is allowed to function freely, which affords them the opportunity to setup programs, databases, etc. that are necessary for the company to run smoothly.
Unlike the lower levels, company's that are incorporating their IT functioning at this level are certainly reaping the financial benefits that a well-oiled IT department can help to recognize.

Utility (Level 4)

This is the level where you probably find most highly profitable companies who have enjoyed long-term success with great products, phenomenal customer service, and the best turnaround times in their industry. Something all three of these business aspects have in common is that they are centrally controlled by a competent IT department who has instituted the correct monitoring systems, databases, and security measures to allow the company to operate at its full capacity. Advanced technologies such as virtualization are implemented and processes are automated. This level will also find the IT department incorporated at every level of the business, and the residual income that results from their involvement puts these companies amongst the top firms in their trade.

A quick ROI analysis will give you a good idea of just how healthy your IT functioning is within your company. By estimating just how much your IT department means to the well-being of your company, you can begin to recognize room for improvement. Doing a short exercise in company evaluation, like ROI analysis, is certain to improve not only your IT functioning but also your business as a whole. Contact DynaSis at 770.882.2432 for more information on an ROI analysis of your business.

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