How Mature Is Your IT Operations?
Operations must be adaptable, resilient, and agile to support digital transformation and address rapidly changing market needs. In a recent study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Cisco, it found that the pandemic exacerbated obstacles to digital transformation and amplified the need to address key IT operations goals. How mature is your organization’s IT operations? Take our short self-assessment to find out.
For this assessment, we will be asking you to rate your organization in four key areas. For each area, you will be given four statements.
The assessment will yield customized results and recommendations based on your responses and should take no more than 3 minutes to complete.
Please rate how well the following statements describe your organization’s IT operations strategy on a scale of 1 to 5:
Please rate how well the following statements describe your organization's IT operations technology on a scale of 1 to 5:
Please rate how well the following statements describe your organization’s IT operations processes on a scale of 1 to 5:
Please rate how well the following statements describe your organization’s IT operations governance on a scale of 1 to 5:
The degree to which an organization successfully realizes modern technology operations depends on multiple organizational and practice dimensions. Our assessment evaluates participants across four key areas of competency:
How clearly are you defining your IT operations strategy?
How adaptable is your technology to future changes?
How effectively do you optimize and automate processes for agility?
How well do you apply thoughtful governance to mitigate risk?
In addition to the elements of strategy, technology, process, and governance, we also found the automation is critical to IT agility and business resilience. When thoughtfully applied, automation paired with operational maturity drives exponential business benefits.
Your overall readiness rating is: Beginner
Your score indicates your organization is at the beginning of its operational journey. Because organizations in this maturity group tend to have more manual business processes, automating as many tasks as possible is a critical goal. Unfortunately, beginners also tend to have cultures that are generally resistant to automation. This cultural stumbling block is coupled with teams that tend to lack the necessary skills to make progress.
Beginners are also more likely to have a heavy focus on decreasing costs. Yet, operations leaders see larger cost reductions from their efforts. What can you do to improve and reap these important business benefits?Recommendations
- Remember: Garbage in, garbage out. Leaders understand that the better the data quality, the better the automations. Beginners should focus on improving data quality and resilience to succeed in their automation goals. Leverage AI and automation to ensure the integrity of your data because it is impossible to do it manually. Your data will be more trustworthy, and you can therefore trust the results you seek.
- Assess your needs and identify key capabilities. Without the right skills on internal teams, your efforts are likely to fail. Unfortunately, you can’t hire for or train what you don’t know you need. Once you know where the critical gaps are, start to fill them with ample training and thoughtful hiring.
- Move beyond just automating customer process. Customer-facing processes are the most obvious place to start your automation efforts, and chances are, you’ve already made some progress here. That’s great. But now is the time to expand those efforts to the mundane back-end tasks. Start with the simpler processes — like infrastructure configurations and clerical processing — and then move on to more complicated processes after you’ve learned from your initial mistakes.
- Update legacy systems. Outdated infrastructure is a drain on agility. Now is a good time to undertake some of the replacements that you’ve likely wanted to undertake for years. Don’t be afraid of the investments necessary to do this properly. Leaders understand that thoughtful spending will pay dividends. Beginners will also benefit from moving from a cost-cutting to a growth mindset.
Your overall operational maturity rating is: Intermediate
Your score classifies your organization as being on the right track for operational maturity. You’ve started to automate processes and adopt the right technology, but isolated islands of automation and organizational silos hold you back from comprehensive change. As you continue to build on your progress, remember the following recommendations.Recommendations:
- Emphasize and encourage collaboration. Foster a cross-functional working environment to overcome silos. Deploy technologies that help remove the friction of communication and joint development among physically dispersed contributors. Make sure you regularly measure and share progress updates with teams.
- Nurture a culture of innovation. Like beginners, intermediate organizations must contend with a general resistance to change. Ensure organizational leadership is encouraging experimentation and a mindset where failure is learned from rather than punished. Adopt blameless retrospectives when incidents happen.
- Expand use of cloud services. Cloud services can be transformational for business when applied thoughtfully.
- Work on the IT/OT convergence. Nearly two-thirds of intermediate organizations believe it's never been more important to unite IT with OT for fuller business automation. This can be done through integrated product teams that include everyone involved with the product or service lifecycle. Breaking down these silos will help organizations as they look to capitalize on emerging technology like 5G, which is a hallmark of advanced organizations.
Your overall operational maturity rating is: Leader
Congratulations, your score suggests your organization is a leader in operational maturity! As a leader, you see larger gains to revenue, bigger reductions in cost, and easier progress against key goals. Still, no organization is without challenges. Technological and organizational complexity will continue to create data silos and make tool integration complicated. Rely on your skilled teams, thoughtful strategy, and governance rules to get you over these hurdles. As you continue to move forward, remember the following recommendations.Recommendations:
- Stay laser focused on data quality. Your organization understands that the better the data quality, the better the automations; and this has served you well. But as your processes and environments grow more complex, data quality becomes harder to guarantee. Ensure you have a strong data governance strategy in place to keep your data clean, consistent, and well-structured.
- Don't get discouraged when things go wrong. You’ve already made a lot of progress as a leader. That also means that you’ve had to get comfortable with a certain amount of failure. Automations will break. Remember to embrace the mindset that failure is good as long as you’re learning from your mistakes and improving for the next time. Being comfortable outside of your comfort zone will serve you well going forward.
- Not everything should be automated. Automation is a powerful tool, but humans must be ready and willing to step in when needed. When left with the most difficult tasks, simply throwing more automation at a process won’t always make it more efficient. Make sure you’re smart about knowing when to leverage humans.
- Metrics must change as automations progress. Highly automated environments can be harder to predict, requiring deeper knowledge and more time to resolve when things do go wrong. Be aware that mean-time-to-resolve (MTTR) may go up as teams are asked to tackle more complicated issues.
- Leverage AI assistance to manage infrastructure as code. AIOps can do what the human eye can’t, unifying all relevant data and enabling distributed tracing of complex microservices. This way, outliers will be quickly flagged without the need for constant monitoring.
Read the research
Thank you for taking the time to complete the assessment. Click here to read the full Forrester study commissioned by Cisco.
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Methodology and Disclaimers
In this study, Forrester conducted an online survey of 1,212 IT and operations decision-makers with responsibility for automation strategy in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, China, Australia, and New Zealand to evaluate the current state of organizations’ operational maturity. The study was completed in December 2020.
Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this assessment, Cisco and Forrester are unable to accept any legal responsibility for any actions taken on the basis of the information contained herein.
This interactive tool is commissioned by Cisco and delivered by Forester Consulting.