Other than writing blog posts weekly, one thing I like to do is keep up to date with new technologies on the scene, whether that be something like Blockchain, serverless computing or just a new consumer product. I watch lots of customer reference videos as well as product demos to see who is doing what and why. But how mature are these organisations across their tech stack and processes and how do you plan for the future? I’ve been doing some work myself to structure how to assess maturity and how to plan progress in those area and put together a roadmap.
The first step to understanding how mature of an organisation you are is to classify the different areas of technology into pools, so this could be Application Development, Cloud & Infrastructure, End User Compute, Security & Risk, etc. What is important here is to make sure these categories make sense to your business. Companies such as Gartner or Forrester often produce articles and research around these too, which I have utelised to help me.
Here are a few examples that I suspect would be common to a lot of businesses:
The next stage is my favourite bit, understanding what that various staging of maturity looks like for each of these categories. This requires you think outside of the bubble of your business, so you don’t want to be scoring yourself 3/3 or 5/5 just because you think everything in say, Cloud and Infrastructure works perfectly because others could be doing this far better.
If I take Cloud & Infrastructure as an example (mainly because its an area I happen to know a little bit about) I would typically look to try and understand the various processes that businesses do to provide efficiencies, whether that be a technology choice, a process or an implementation.
Lets look at how I have classified Cloud & Infrastructure:
Maturity Level 1
- Understanding of Criticality of Cloud & Infrastructure to your business
- Making investments to gain control and visibility
- Experimenting with cloud, such as storing the odd file in cloud repositories such as Azure Blob or AWS S3
- Shadow IT is king with process and procedures inconsistent across governance and security.
Maturity Level 2
- Understanding of customer satisfaction
- Putting in processes to improve day-to-day support and management of improvements.
- Leaders put together strategy, frameworks and best practises to build scalable architectures in the cloud
Maturity Level 3
- Begin to implement SLAs with business around processes, and set targets internally
- Proactivity is introduced through use of monitoring, to reduce the amount of ‘firefighting’ done by technical team members.
- Use of automation to reduce manual implementation of repeatable processes. This further improves service availability, overachieving with business-agreed SLA and demonstrates increased speed and value of IT proposition.
Maturity Level 4
- Focus is less on hitting SLAs for incidents and requests, and more around the development of the service offering back to the business to provide efficiencies.
- Mission-critical workloads are now being build in the cloud
- Users experience consistent as the application workloads adhere to the strategy and share similar technology stacks
Maturity Level 5
- IT is seen as a partner to the business, driving innovation, business insights and (hopefully) more revenue.
- Cloud strategy is consistently defined and applied
- Service workloads are robust, available and scalable
- Risk and cost is managed and lower
OK, so if you’ve read through that, firstly well done! Secondly, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to look at that and clearly identify where your business is at. You might be a little bit of 2 and 3, or a bit of 4 but still some of 1. This is completely normal, but this should allow you to define your roadmap within this category.
The next stage is then to then repeat on the other categories that are relevant to your business and begin roadmapping your path to being a super-mature business. The second part will include some of the work I’ve done in identifying opportunities where improvements can be made and how I have been putting it down on paper so its easy to understand for all manner of target audiences.