Blog posted by: David Crouch - consultant, Beyond20 and co-author, ITIL 4 Digital and IT Strategy, August 2023.
Why is it important to know what your organization's service management, governance and management system maturity level is?
More mature organizations tend to do a better job in practice of making continual improvements. Equally, this means that improvement efforts are baked into the culture and shared by a wider group of people that look across the enterprise to broker cross-functional improvement opportunities.
What you might also see in mature organizations is an increasing level of automation, for example, not just monitoring and managing incidents but automating the resolution through predictive technology.
But how well do organizations currently review and assess their service management maturity?
Assessment = continual improvement
In general, organizations do a pretty poor job of self-reflection and self-assessment of their service management maturity.
Often, organizations find it difficult to set aside the time and resources to do self-assessment properly (if at all) and an internal self-assessment is not nearly as good as having it done independently - such as through an Axelos Consulting Partner using the ITIL Maturity Model.
Assessment is a form of continual improvement for an organization; without this, an organization can stagnate and end up repeating the same activities over and over. In organizations like this, you can get a real sense of low staff motivation, where they're doing nothing more than working for a paycheck. People who are bored and demotivated can also become wasteful and negative in the workplace.
I believe most people in work want to know they're doing something useful and when an organization doesn't assess its own maturity it risks a lack of improvement all round.
What does the ITIL Maturity Model bring to the table?
Part of the ITIL Maturity Model's approach focuses on the ITIL 4 guiding principles which, when put into practice, can be very useful.
One mature organization I've worked with had its own set of guiding principles not dissimilar to ITIL 4's; in this case, everyone in the organization knows them, talks about them and thinks about how to apply them. A culture of knowing what's important to the organization is the hallmark of a mature business.
In assessment terms, the ITIL Maturity Model can provide either a comprehensive, deep dive to help leadership to see areas of weakness in the organization or focus on selected practices that need improving.
In one example, the assessment focused on a company's service configuration management; helping the organization to understand how well or poorly it was doing in this area and how it would affect other ITIL practices and teams. This enabled the company to identify areas for measurable improvement within a defined time period to avoid creating multiple problems on several fronts.
Where the ITIL Maturity Model is geared to provide maturity scores for practice capabilities and the organization's service value system, this may be enough information for some.
However, most organizations that go through an assessment want to know what needs to improve and what to prioritize. This means creating improvements that make sense to the organization rather than getting hung up on the score.
And if an organization is unsure about the level of commitment it can make to a comprehensive assessment process, then it should look at some practice areas that are pain points. By improving one or two practices, this can serve as a starting point for wider and more in-depth improvement in the future.
Just because you can't do everything at once doesn't mean you can't do anything.
ITIL Maturity Model for a non-ITIL organization?
Is the ITIL Maturity Model relevant for organizations that don't currently use ITIL or even any service management frameworks?
Yes, it is. However, in cases where no framework is in place, it is likely that the organization is less mature in terms of service management. Thus, the resulting recommendations will be more basic. For example, an organization that has no defined processes or roles in place will benefit from recommendations around process mapping and defining key roles.
Conversely, an organization that already has defined processes and roles will need detailed recommendations on how to further improve process effectiveness and efficiency and how to ensure that people with the right skills are filling those roles.
However, even basic recommendations can start the organization's improvement journey to greater service management maturity, effectiveness and efficiency as the concepts are universally valid and ITIL is really the time-tested framework to help them.