2Saints Maturity Model

Apr 19, 2021

By Peter Thirlby

Every consultancy should have a Maturity Model, apparently.

As humans we like to classify ourselves and our organisations into defined boxes, it can be an ego boosting exercise or a call to action, an exercise in personal or corporate self-awareness.

2Saints is no exception. But, in keeping with our ‘keep it simple’ ethos, prefer a direct approach. Rule 1: say it on one page.

So, here is our headline 2Saints Tech Team Maturity Model. We will dig deeper in later blogs, but this is a good conversation starter.

It describes a journey that any tech team or internal IT group may have followed or we have certainly experienced parts of this journey in our roles over the years. The 2Saints partners have helped tech teams move towards the right hand side, learning from our time spent in the left hand side ….

It’s not easy. A transformation journey often requires culture change, re-jigging of work processes, precise communications, planning, execution and backing from the top of the business. Change is never popular with humans. Changing the mould requires changing people’s mindsets, and if that is not possible, then it requires moving people to where they will do better. Sensitivity is required.

So does your tech function merely survive or does it enable the enterprise?

As with all of these types of analyses, lines blur and definitions are not absolute. The best run, most digitally transformed enterprises may still harbour very questionable IT related practices, maturity levels may change across divisional or geographic boundaries.

So what’s the point? By knowing your current state and setting a target state it provides a goal,”let's get the organisation to level ‘X’ this year and then up to level ‘Y’ the following year”. It can also pose interesting questions such as ‘is the overall organisation mature enough to have an IT team operating at level Z?’

Let’s look at our classifications in a bit more depth:

Survive - one could expect that, in 2019, the days of the ‘seat of the pants’ IT team would be way behind us. However, this is not the case. Such teams still exist, highly tech and introverted, reliant on heroics, late nights and ‘adaptive’ technology solutions. A high risk, high stress, chaotic ride where everyone breathes a huge sigh of relief to get to the end of another 12 hour day without complete collapse …. However, are there aspects of the ‘Survive’ model that still lurk in dark corners of your Tech team and inhabit far flung regions of your organisation?

Control - having just about survived the ‘survive’ phase, the organisation used the 3 day system outage of 2 years ago to radically shake up the IT Team. It's all about Control: hierarchical management, define some key processes, set up a Help Desk and have a few standards. The organisation’s ambitions for enabling the business through technology are modest, to say the least, so long as the email and printers work they are now happy to get on with in, thrashing their way through 10000 row spreadsheets and emailing 25Mb presentations to the entire company.

Serve - the stability of the Control phase help win a certain amount of trust in IT, some areas of business management now start to look beyond the perception that IT is merely ‘red ink’. IT is now seen as actually more important that mobile phones and printers, it's actually a ‘service’, so let’s start investing in new kit and software to improve that service and we’ll also have some SLAs and, maybe, cross charge for IT services. A healthy service mentality pervades the IT team. IT and business start to collaborate in projects that support business processes and share information. Business and IT talk with each other, although translators may still be required, but they strive for understanding and to be understood.

Partner - a massive leap forwards. Having recognised in the Serve phase that the business now relies on IT 24/7 and that key processes are delivering efficiencies and supporting the bottom line, IT becomes a Partner. As such, the identity of IT a separate corporate entity actually starts to blur as risk, compliance, budgeting, projects are now embedded in corporate rather than ‘IT only’ processes. Business units, once the home of the ‘I am not computer literate’, now take responsibility for their own IT usage within an overarching governance framework of standard products, services and infrastructure. Teams consisting of IT and business specialists are common as the organisation moves along its digital transformation journey.

Enable - journey’s end? A completely digitised business. Buoyed by success in the Partner phase and driven by the advances of disruptive competitors and the demands of increasing tech-savvy customers the business now runs on IT, every process and customer interaction is totally tech driven, every employee interaction is tech driven. The ‘IT Dept’ as a concept probably no longer really exists as IT specialists are embedded in business teams. IT leadership works hand-in-hand with business leadership and business strategy and IT strategy and completely intertwined.

So, where do you think your tech team is in 2Saints Maturity Model?

We can quickly help you find that out and, then, plan your journey to the most appropriate right hand destination.