The Making of a Maturity Model: An Approach to Culture and Client Support

Maturity Model
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What is a maturity model? At its most basic, the typical maturity model becomes the ability of an organization for continuous improvement in a particular discipline. The more mature an organization’s, well, maturity, the better the chances that incidents or errors within the organization lead to improvements in quality.

Most maturity models are designed to assess people and culture, processes and structures, technology, and other elements. But this is beyond the basics. Getting down to the ground level, a maturity model measures an organization’s serviceability and capability to meet the ever-increasing expectations of end users.

A maturity model helps business leaders assess their maturity level and provides critical insights into which service areas need improving. There are two internal and external business focuses of service departments – those that are cost-driven and those that are value-driven.

Getting down to the ground level, a maturity model measures an organization's serviceability and capability to meet the ever-increasing expectations of end users. Here @TOPdesk explains more. #ITSM Click To Tweet

The maturity health check

If you want to measure the maturity of your organization, conduct a health check. It allows you to think big, but identify small feasible steps to start with. The health check consists of in-depth interviews with key stakeholders and an assessment of the available data within the service desk. Plot these outcomes against five maturity dimensions: people and culture, process, integration and automation, customer, and supplier.

A maturity model health check provides an objective overview of where the organization is in respect of service excellence maturity and the areas that can be improved. Its overviews allow leaders to enhance the maturity of their service organizations while embedding this in the organization’s strategy to maximize the value for end users.

The five maturity levels

These are shown in the following diagram with the descriptions below.

Cost center is level 1

The various service departments in your organization aren’t aware of each other. They operate in isolation and work independently to manage costs. These siloed departments use disparate service management tools, and their processes are ad hoc and not connected. Optimizing service delivery in these departments is not seen as essential and remains costly.

A maturity model health check provides an objective overview of where the organization is in respect of service excellence maturity and the areas that can be improved. Learn more here. #ITSM Click To Tweet

Controlled service delivery is level 2

An organization at level 2 has processes and guidelines in place and has appointed process owners. However, the service departments provide on-demand support, which is usually characterized by a high degree of firefighting. But the various service departments remain isolated with little or no collaboration between them. In level 2, there’s a strong focus on the supply-side of the service departments, mainly driven by cost savings.

Customer-centric is level 3

At level 3 on the maturity model, you’ve found yourself having moved away from a silo-level approach, bringing together all service departments to form an enterprise-wide strategy. At this level, focus shifts from only managing costs to customer-centric approaches. Multiple service departments collaborate through a single enterprise service management solution to provide a one-stop-shop experience for the customer. At level 3, suppliers are involved in the process of supporting customers’ complete interfaces. And key metrics are in place for feedback collection to improve your service delivery.

Business alignment is level 4

At this point, the organization has a unified vision of its service management processes and an enterprise-wide strategy – where annual goals are based on customer experience metrics to improve service delivery continually. Here, agile core teams help enhance service delivery and support initiatives and projects that lead to a better end-user experience. The focus is on improving end-to-end processes, providing multi-channel support, and providing a single view of the end user.

A business partner is level 5

At the highest level of maturity, quality delivery by service departments is a key differentiator. Customer service is continually improved by delivering experiences and insights where, when, and how the customer wants them. At level 5, the organization’s employees are empowered to take action to innovate and transform service departments into a business partner, providing value by continually gaining a competitive edge for the entire organization.

Defining which maturity model to achieve

Defining the maturity model level to achieve is based in large part on the organization itself. These achievements must link to the company-wide objectives. For example, if the IT department’s goal is to take steps toward becoming a level 5 business partner, you need to be fully aware of that goal as a business.

“Assess current IT maturity (relative to business need), paying attention to processes, people factors, supporting technology, and management disciplines. Devise a clear, prioritized roadmap for developing IT maturity to match up with business demands, taking into consideration any current plans for business growth or transformation,” AXELOS says.

Consider all current plans for growth, transformation, and the reduction of siloed processes.

Focus IT management technology requirements on what enables the IT maturity roadmap. The roadmap leads to the advancement of an organization on the maturity model, which is a vital component of the organization’s journey on the road of continual improvement.

At TOPdesk, we’ve defined the maturity model as a strategic lever that helps us better understand where our clients are in their service journeys. Based on the maturity of each client we serve; we improve the chances of identifying and eliminating incidents or errors within. By being aware of our client’s place on the road of improvement, we’re able to assess all service processes, including people, culture, structure, and technology.

If you’d like to add your opinions to this or to find out more, then please leave a comment below.

Global Culture Strategist at

Ron van Haasteren is the international culture strategist for TOPdesk worldwide. As a passionate promotor, Ron strives to inspire service management professionals to focus on how a great company culture adds value, by engaging employees, and helping them deliver service excellence in return. Ron’s also an expert on how to keep the company culture alive, and get the core values known by all employees. As TOPdesk’s go-to culture expert, he’s a valuable stakeholder in the story of the company, and an important player in the onboarding process of new employees by making sure the core values are known and understood. Ron has over eight years of experience in service management, communication, company culture, and employee engagement. On these topics, Ron is a public speaker for many industry leading events in Europe.

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