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There have been several attempts to define the stages of operational maturity
By: PagerDuty Blog
Sep. 2, 2017 12:00 PM
The Importance of Operational Maturity and Being Application-Centric
Is your organization's IT system operationally mature, and is it application-centric? In today's digital landscape, achieving both of these are crucial for the success of any serious IT operation - both at the enterprise level and in the context of smaller organizations.
What is operational maturity? It is a general measure of the overall consistency, reliability, resilience, coherence, and sophistication of an IT system at the levels of management, design, and operation.
There have been several attempts to define the stages of operational maturity, including Gartner's five-level system, and Microsoft's four-level Infrastructure Optimization Model. Most models of operational maturity assume or imply that the levels of maturity are equivalent to the stages of growth within a company or an IT operation - with good reason. Operational maturity generally is the result of learning through experience and necessity, and of wisdom accumulated over time. The five levels listed below draw roughly on both the Gartner and Microsoft models:
Level 1. The Heroic Age
Level 2. Putting Out Brushfires
Level 3. Stabilization
Level 4. Taking the Lead
Level 5. Full Operational Maturity
It's easy to see that Levels 1 and 2 are basically about survival, and leave little room for anything else. The foundations for operational maturity are laid out at Level 3. It is only at Levels 4 and 5, when IT is able to move from being a support service to a forward-looking asset, that operational maturity becomes a reality.
Whether it is cloud-based or more closely tied to infrastructure, an application-centric IT strategy is critical to becoming more operationally mature. By definition, operational maturity is application-centric; it focuses on the value that can be delivered to both the enterprise and the individual employee by providing comprehensive, optimum-quality digital services.
How do we get there?
If the day-to-day reality for your IT department is centered around survival and emergency response, you can start by acknowledging your support staff for being the heroes that they are, then mapping out a basic strategy for attaining bare-bones stability. Even if you're in no position to acquire the resources that you need, it is important to be prepared to seize the moment if the opportunity arises.
If you have a stable, reasonably well-functioning infrastructure, the next step is expanding your focus from maintaining the system to adding value to the organization as a whole. This can involve a shift in thinking on the part of IT management and staff alike. The good news, however, is that if you are at the level where your infrastructure is stable and IT performance is adequate, the move to operational maturity will largely entail a shift towards tighter cross-functional transparency and collaboration, rather than a struggle to acquire resources.
Operational maturity, then, really is no mystery. It is merely a matter of growing into a full partnership with the business and its goals, when your infrastructure is sufficiently stable and functional to allow you to look beyond day-to-day operations. It's a natural stage of growth for a company that realizes IT operations should not be a cost center, but rather a source of innovation.
The post The Importance of Operational Maturity and Being Application-Centric appeared first on PagerDuty.
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