Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as an online bookstore and initially ran it entirely out of his garage. In July of 1995, he sold his first book. Two years later, he issued the company’s IPO. Today, Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer and is on track to be a $1 trillion company by 2022.
How did Jeff Bezos achieve such success?
Through hard work and dedication, of course. But there’s another critical component to Amazon’s success story that every business should pay attention to: Jeff Bezos harnessed the power of technology to continually fine-tune his strategy and improve company-wide operations. In other words, he improved Amazon’s IT maturity level.
The 5 Stages of IT maturity
IT maturity is essentially how well an organization uses information technology to achieve business objectives.
Organizations with a lower IT maturity level tend have inefficient operations, inconsistent quality of work, and trouble adapting quickly when business needs change. Companies with a higher level of IT maturity have standardized processes, consistency in their quality of output, and the ability to adjust to business growth more easily.
At TechBundle, we define the five levels of IT maturity as follows:
Level 1: Chaotic
Organizations at this level are in a constant state of disorganization and approach IT in an unpredictable manner. There is no cohesion between their minimal IT infrastructure and their business operations. These organizations are reactive, unable to predict issues, and cannot develop standards for resolving problems.
Level 2: Disciplined
Companies at a level two are more aware of how effective IT solutions help them achieve success. They have begun to implement minor technology best practices. However, these companies primarily take a reactive, ad-hoc approach to issues and are constantly putting out IT-related fires.
Level 3: Predictable
At this level, organizations automate maintenance, implement proactive IT support, use asset management, and adopt process standards. IT issues are now predictable and have standardized processes by which they are addressed, meaning that problem resolutions are consistent and effective. Additionally, these businesses track performance analytics, making it easier to optimize their technology over time.
Level 4: Integrated
Businesses at this stage of IT maturity are highly efficient and completely embrace process and technology best practices. They thoroughly document their IT environments, have guaranteed SLAs in effect, and use available resources efficiently.
Level 5: Strategic
Businesses operating at this level strategically leverage IT innovations to continually optimize processes, efficiently achieve business outcomes, and gain a competitive edge. Additionally, they link information technology and business metrics, allowing them to make informed decisions in regards to ongoing improvements.
The more mature your organization is, the better its bottom line. In order to determine your organization’s IT maturity level, you need to start with a maturity assessment.
Discovering your IT maturity level
No area of your organization is an island. An objective view of how you currently use technology versus how you should be using it will help to pinpoint the areas in need of improvement. A great way to get this perspective is through an IT maturity assessment.
There are a variety of IT maturity assessments available. At TechBundle, we have our own process for determining IT maturity. Here’s how we do it.
First, we interview everyone in the company who uses any kind of technology on the job, starting with the people on the front lines. That’s the core of your business operations. Then we talk to your leadership team. We want to know where they feel you are and where they see the business going.
In each conversation, we’re looking for the underlying business processes that guide the flow of data through your organization. This is followed by an in-depth technical assessment to determine the current state of your infrastructure, cybersecurity and disaster recovery plan.
After completing the assessment, TechBundle analyzes all of the results. We compile our findings and present you with a maturity level for each of the main departments of your company—Finance, HR, Operations, Sales and Customer Experience, for example. We’ll also report on the IT maturity of the three major technology areas of your business—infrastructure, cybersecurity and disaster recovery.
Of course, in-depth analysis doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know what to do next. That’s why we also provide an actionable list, prioritized based on business goals, financial risk and technology best practices. Our recommendations also include cost estimates to allow for easy budgeting.
That way you have all the information you need to strategically leverage technology to enhance your maturity.
Moving your business forward
As a business owner, you know that heavily focusing on one area of your organization typically means that other areas will suffer. This same idea rings true when it comes to improving your IT maturity level.
Said another way, it’s very difficult to accurately gauge your own IT maturity. That’s the advantage of bringing in a skilled IT consultant. They can help you more effectively facilitate the implementation of new technology, while simultaneously optimizing your business strategy and its components over time.