Service organization maturity: assessing and making improvements
Blog posted by: Mark Blanke – Senior Vice President, Consulting & IT, ClearBridge Technology Group, 06 June 2022.
Maturity in a service organization is not about how old you are – it’s about capability, processes, procedures and how well you perform.
A lack of maturity means your operations are either inconsistent, inefficient, disorganized or simply unsuccessful.
For example, take a hypothetical service desk call: a user has an issue with his PC, so he calls the service desk for help. The response he gets isn’t helpful and he walks away frustrated. An hour later, his colleague has a similar PC issue, and she calls the service desk. Her experience is phenomenal and she’s very satisfied. What happened? Why did these two users experience different levels of service?
There are multiple factors that influence this dichotomy. Calls taking place an hour apart could be affected not just by the call handler, but even the geographic location that received the service call. This example shows how a lack of consistency can greatly impact the quality of service, which is why assessing your organization’s maturity is imperative to achieving positive results.
It’s often difficult for organizations to recognize their service performance level. However, mature organizations can self-evaluate, identify areas for improvement and establish targets to accomplish them.
Maturity is an evolving element and organizations can always be better. But while there may be 100 areas to improve, it’s better to focus on those of real value to the business and its customers.
Therefore, it’s crucial to service management and governance to have a built-in ability to assess and improve over time against recognized metrics: this is the sign of a mature organization.
The ITIL Maturity Model
The ITIL Maturity Model is a tool to determine how well a business is performing service management.
It provides a basis to measure service effectiveness against ITIL 4’s various management practices and the service value system – ultimately, allowing executives to understand where the organization is, improve and measure improvement.
The latest version of the ITIL Maturity Model has advanced from a focus on the processes (previously self-assessed via a lightweight review) and is delivered by an Axelos Consulting Partner.
This assessment approach – with three possible levels – conducted by an experienced service management consultant ensures service management organizations have both a valid evaluation and reference points in ITIL 4 to know how to improve.
The three assessment types are:
This determines how effectively the organization is meeting practice success factors as defined in ITIL and the four dimensions of service management. For example, it poses questions about training and processes on the service desk, receives a rating and identifies areas for improvement.
This assesses the maturity of the service organization as a whole and may include up to five practice areas. This assesses performance in governance, the service value chain, continual improvement, etc. The maturity rating gives an executive perspective and pinpoints improvements.
A blend of the first two assessment types, it considers seven or more practice areas and the maturity of the service value system.
Noting the fundamental continual improvement concept shown in the attached diagram, the ITIL Maturity Model and related assessments play a very important part in facilitating improvement: “Where are we now?” is answered by using an ITIL Maturity Model assessment; “Where do we want to be?” should be answered by the service organization during an assessment. Then, as part of the assessment deliverables, the AXELOS Consulting Partner answers “How do we get there?”; helping the service organization interpret the results of an assessment and make necessary improvements.
The continual improvement practice is fundamental to each assessment type and an organization can benefit from the maturity assessment whether it’s using ITIL 4, the previous version of ITIL or doesn’t have an existing service management approach.
This is because the service organization will already be doing some service management. The question, however, is whether it’s organized well and can adopt a framework to improve.
The generic design and approach of the ITIL maturity model means that you don’t need – for example – to be using ITIL 4’s guiding principles to be assessed. Instead, it can measure performance against guiding principles that are particular to your organization.
Moving towards maturity
Assessing maturity levels makes sense for any service organization – whether it’s IT, HR, legal, etc – as they are all providing services to an enterprise and will probably exhibit differing levels of maturity.
An ITIL Maturity Model-based assessment becomes an excellent management tool for organizations and a way to establish a roadmap for improvement. Once you have a baseline for what you’re doing well or not, you can begin to improve, measure progress and truly get value out of the organization.
The benefit of using a framework such as ITIL 4 is the way it references a wide range of other best practices; pulling them together in one place and showing how they support each other. It also means taking pockets of capability and ensuring they are replicated elsewhere to create a truly mature organization.
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