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A competency-based maturity model to reduce ITIL adoption risks

Dan McMahon and Laurie Hathaway, Pace Harmon | Feb. 9, 2011
As large enterprises search for solutions to get the most out of their outsourcing vendors, many are turning to operational frameworks like ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) to improve the effectiveness of IT service delivery.

The Maturity Model in Action

To illustrate, this is how an IT service manager would apply the maturity model for Incident Management:

1. Conceptual Understanding: Starting with Conceptual Understanding, organizations will review the definitions and map themselves to the one that most closely describes their current overall state. A common mistake is aligning an organization's maturity level with the internal Policy and Procedures Manual or to senior executives' expectations.

2. Process: Organizations must address these key aspects to measure and track their maturation:

• The degree of process standardization across an organization.

• Completeness and clarity of roles and responsibilities within each process.

• Completeness of knowledge management process and degree of organizational adoption.

• Completeness that process interfaces, data dependencies, and exchanges between vendors are understood throughout the organization.

3. Activities: Key activities to be measured and tracked against an organization's maturation are:

• Clarity, completeness, and standardization of identification of an incident.

• Consistency, standardization of methodology, and accuracy of incident logging.

• Consistency and accuracy of incident classification.

• Consistency and accuracy of incident prioritization.

• Completeness and standardization of the escalation and resolution process.

• Consistency and accuracy of incident closure.

4. Performance: The Performance dimension requires a clear and well-defined set of measurements, including metrics, critical success factors, and risk mitigation practices. Understanding the process, how vendor SLAs impact the process, key handoffs between vendors and your company, and managing as a single end-end process are critical for understanding and managing performance. Companies fully embracing performance management have deployed scorecarding or other objective measures to measure and discuss performance on a regular basis.

5. Governance: As an organization travels through the maturity model, the expectations and requirements of governance — to improve the alignment between process performance and business needs while actively working to gain support from organizational leaders and define the value of ITIL — will increase.

Using the above criteria, the IT service manager will be able to place the function on one of the five levels of maturity for each defined measurement. Keep in mind that the function may often be on the borderline of two maturity levels. The IT Service Manager can then rank the function's average maturity within each dimension (i.e., conceptual understanding, activities, process, performance, and governance) and subsequently define the function's average maturity overall.

The maturity model is designed with an ITIL aligned end-state point of reference in which the organization proactively optimizes the function's performance and relies on competency-based maturity phases that an organization must pass through to achieve that end-state. This phased-migration methodology has provided value to organizations across four main areas:


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