Every year Kaseya conducts an IT Operations Benchmark survey to gauge the level of IT maturity and innovation within the SMB community. By seeing where your peers stand, you can better evaluate where you might excel, and where you could stand a bit of improvement.
Our 2017 survey features results from over 900 respondents from around the globe. It focuses on determining what makes an IT organization mature, and what levels of maturity those 900 respondents have achieved. The good news is that IT shops have been steadily moving toward higher levels of maturity.
Several years back Kaseya developed an IT Management Maturity Model specifically for SMBs because no such models were available for organizations of this size. Previous IT maturity models were relevant only for much larger enterprises. This model, based on insights and feedback from small and midsize customers, 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 by automating repetitive tasks and many remedial actions
• Aligned: Tracking and managing against SLAs of availability and performance expectations
• Strategic: Achieving IT operational excellence and taking a strategic role in driving business innovation
Maturity levels measure how well the IT management function supports the IT needs of your business ― from systems and service readiness, to technology choices (e.g., cloud services), to responsiveness and strategic alignment and business enablement. Progressing through the maturity model leads to a more capable IT organization, one that is better equipped to accomplish its mission and goals and to help drive business success.
Where do you Stand?
According to the 2017 Kaseya report, 83 percent of those surveyed said their IT organizations fall into one of the three lower categories in the IT Management Maturity Model: Reactive, Efficient, or Proactive. At the high end, there is a steady move up the maturity ladder. Compared to our 2016 survey, the number of high maturity companies increased by 3 percent, and stands at 17 percent.
“One of the most important findings in our annual survey of SMB and midmarket enterprises and their IT practices is a significant year-over-year increase in the number of what we call ‘mature’ organizations. As companies of all sizes embrace modern tactics and leverage strategic new technology, such as the cloud, predictive analytics and advanced security, they become more ‘mature’ as an IT organization as a result,” said Taunia Kipp, global senior vice president of marketing for Kaseya.
Companies of all Sizes can be Mature
Interestingly, company size alone did not determine IT management maturity state, but it is an indicator. Indeed, smaller companies are far more likely to take a Reactive approach to IT — with 41 percent of organizations with 101 to 500 employees defining themselves as Reactive. Meanwhile larger shops are more likely to be Aligned/Strategic or Reactive.
The Cloud is One Indicator of Maturity
The 2017 survey found that Aligned/Strategic companies are moving to the cloud, with one-quarter to one-third of these Aligned/Strategic shops contracting with cloud hosting service providers for private cloud, cloud applications, access and content management, cloud services (e.g., IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS), and cloud service monitoring services. This outstrips the same participation by Reactive companies.
In addition, shops with higher levels of IT management maturity are automating mundane activities, and standardizing and streamlining processes. This allows time to focus on IT projects that drive business results and end-user satisfaction.
Here are five tips to increase your maturity level:
1. Do not get Left Behind. Start Today.
It is never too late – and no IT group is ever too small – to take control of its IT processes. You can manage the complexity, and minimize its impact on IT and company productivity. Look for IT management and security tools that allow you to view, monitor, and manage your entire IT environment holistically.
2. Automate Everything
Wherever possible, automate. Even better, policy-based automation improves staff efficiency. Discovery, audit, software deployments (including third-party software), patches, antivirus updates, backup, and more, can all be automated based on defined policies that make sense for your company and IT organization.
Look for solutions that go beyond simple remediation to make sure that standard operating procedures and policies are routinely enforced, remediation and all access and alterations are recorded, and reports and dashboards are up to date and in real time.
3. Always Keep Improving
One of the major differences between the Aligned/Strategic group and the Reactive group is their consistently higher usage rates of a wide variety of strategies and tactics to optimize IT efficiency and effectiveness.
4. Cloud Services are Going Mainstream – but Make Sure you can Manage Them
Mature IT groups understand that the cloud is a strategic enabler, allowing them to offload routine and repetitive tasks, scale at will, and focus efforts on innovative IT projects to improve the customer and end-user experience.
It seems that all IT groups recognize this fact and are considering a wide range of outsourced cloud services. However, you need to make sure you have the tools to actively monitor and manage these cloud services to ensure they are delivering the higher-service performance that you anticipate.
5. What is Next? Device Performance Baselining and Predictive Analytics
Consider device performance baselining and predictive analytics. These tactics are not as common as others are by a large margin – but the Aligned/Strategic companies use device performance baselining and predictive analytics with far greater frequency than Reactive companies do. Technologies and solutions are available that are surprisingly affordable and deliver these high-leverage capabilities.
Learn to Grow Up
To download the full report go to: https://www.kaseya.com/resources/best-practices/it-operations-survey-2017. To learn more about Kaseya’s IT Management Maturity Model and obtain deeper insight into each of its five levels, be sure to check out IT Management Maturity: Business Growth Enabler or Benchmarking Your IT Management Maturity.