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Is Your IT Team Reactive or Strategic?

 

The  “ Kaseya IT Operations Benchmark Survey  ”  distinguishes organizations into a series of categories, including those deliberate vital and those deliberate reactive. Aligned/strategic companies are tangible as those that grasp IT operational value and strategically expostulate business innovation, while also tracking and handling opposite use spin agreements (SLAs) or accessibility and opening expectations.

The IT Management Maturity Model   consists of five levels:
REACTIVE: Responding to individual user challenges and requests
EFFICIENT: Having a systematic approach to solving known issues and dealing with daily tasks
PROACTIVE:  Taking a proactive approach to IT management, automating repetitive tasks and many remedial actions
ALIGNED: Tracking and  managing against Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or availability/performance expectations
STRATEGIC: Achieving IT operational excellence and taking a strategic role in driving business innovation

Here are the top six insights.
 IT groups at mid-sized companies still remain in early stages of IT maturity.
Based on the survey responses, 86 percent of respondents classify their IT organization as as being at one of the first three levels on the IT management maturity model, namely REACTIVE, EFFICIENT or PROACTIVE. In fact, the largest cohort (35.4 percent) reported that they are still at the REACTIVE stage. They primarily  focus on internal IT challenges versus challenges faced by the business or the business’ customers,  and spend a good deal of time on day to day tasks that have more manual labor involved than is ideal.
Consequently, IT is perceived as a utility for most mid-size businesses, where the primary concern is to minimize costs while maintaining a functional IT infrastructure to support employees. Only 14 percent of respondents consider their IT organizations to have reached either the STRATEGIC or ALIGNED levels. This number represents a 3 percent increase from last year.

IT maturity highly correlates with revenue growth rates.
There is a strong correlation between the level of IT management maturity and higher revenue growth.  For companies who grew their revenue at greater than 10 percent between 2014 and 2015, 36 percent of  the IT organizations were considered to have reached the STRATEGIC or ALIGNED maturity levels. Only 21-25 percent of companies at REACTIVE, EFFICIENT, or PROACTIVE levels reporting growth rates over 10 percent. We can’t pretend that this correlation is causation, of course. However, it’s suggestive that – at least – a well-managed company focuses management attention and strategic thought on the best ways to organize, fund and staff its IT Ops group.

 Companies of any size can achieve the highest levels of IT maturity.
It would be easy to assume that as a business grows in size, its level of IT management maturity advances. And we did find that REACTIVE IT Ops groups are more common at smaller companies than in larger  companies. However, 82 percent of respondents in companies with 3,000 to 5,000 employees are still at  REACTIVE, EFFICIENT or PROACTIVE levels; this rate is only slightly better than the 86 percent for all  respondents. In addition, 89 percent of respondents in companies with 101- 250 employees are at REACTIVE, EFFICIENT  or PROACTIVE level, compared to 83 percent for respondents in companies with under 50 employees.  The 17 percent of the companies with 1-50 employees indicated they were at the STRATEGIC/ALIGNED  IT Maturity levels – which is almost 90 percent higher than the percentage of respondents at companies with  500-1,000 employees.
So, if you’re a company with, say 350 employees, and are constantly fighting fires and have no time to get to more strategic projects, you can’t reflexively blame the size of your company for this situation.  Companies in your size range do achieve higher levels of IT Maturity.

Metrics matter.
Undoubtedly it’s challenging to measure IT performance, especially when IT is responsible for maintaining a complex IT infrastructure and a host of differing applications and devices. However, it also seems clear that those who do leverage metrics for benchmarking and service optimization operate at higher maturity levels. Forty-four percent of companies at the STRATEGIC/ALIGNED maturity levels have formal service level  agreements (SLAs) that are mandatory requirements. In comparison, companies at REACTIVE, EFFICIENT  or PROACTIVE levels of IT maturity have mandatory SLAs of 9, 11, and 28 percent, respectively. This trend continues when comparing companies that measure Mean Time to Recover (MTTR). Almost half the  companies at the STRATEGIC/ALIGNED levels measure MTTR, but only 18, 26 and 28 percent, respectively,  of the companies at REACTIVE, EFFICIENT and PROACTIVE measure it.

 Automation drives IT Maturity.
Respondents were asked to indicate their Top 3 IT priorities for 2016 from a list of over 20 options. All four  IT Maturity level cohorts gave top rankings to four priorities: Completing IT projects on time; Delivering  higher service levels/IT service availability; Improving (your company’s) customer experience; and Reducing  IT costs. (Spoiler alert: Everyone needs more time!). However, there were big differences in the selection rates for another priority: Increasing the level of IT automation. Whereas 16.9 percent of the STRATEGIC/ALIGNED companies selected increasing levels of IT  automation as one of their Top 3 Priorities, 21.5 percent of REACTIVE companies, 25.1 percent of EFFICIENT companies and a whopping 34.9 percent of PROACTIVE companies rated increased automation a Top 3  priority. Perhaps STRATEGIC/ALIGNED companies have already implemented a lot of automation, while  the PROACTIVE companies realize that automation is a cornerstone for their advancing in maturity.
Cloud and hybrid environments increasing.  
More mature IT groups are currently using cloud services at a higher rate than their peers. For example, STRATEGIC/ALIGNED companies leverage PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS solutions, as well as externally hosted  private clouds, 50 percent more frequently than REACTIVE companies.
However, looking   forward twelve months, the positions are reversed with a higher percentage of REACTIVE companies considering these cloud services then the STRATEGIC/ALIGEND companies. In fact, combining ‘Currently Employed’ with ‘Considering in Next 12 Months,’ the playing field evens out, with companies in  all four maturity cohorts showing adoption rates of 45-50 percent of all cloud services.

 

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