Something that IT assessment tools such as the NIMM can do is identify where there are major gaps in maturity. Now this becomes very interesting when you are a service provider or shared service. I have had a number of NHS IT Directors who run a shared service ask me “at whet level should we use the NIMM?”, “should I assess my own capabilities or the capabilities of the organizations I provide service to?”. The answer really depends upon what you want to get out of the assessment.
- If you want to benchmark and improve your own capabilities, then assessing the shared service is the way to go.
- If you want to measure and improve the way your customers use IT services then you should assess them.
- If you want to highlight problems you have in serving your customers do both
I worked with a large NHS IT provider who followed option 3. What they did was to assess themselves and each of their NHS customers. What soon became very clear was that the NIMM showed where there were large maturity gaps and these gaps actually accounted for why there were service issues.
For example, the provider assessed themselves as being at NIMM Level 4 for Change Management while their customers varied from NIMM Level 1 to NIMM Level 3. The NHS client organisation that was at NIMM Level 1 was the one which had major issues traceable back to a lack of change control. So while the provider was a NIMM Level 4 the Consumer was at NIMM Level 1 effectively “dragging down” the perception of the provider.
Now this is not rocket-science, however, what this does show is that using a common benchmark between supplier and consumer really helps show where maturity gaps are and helps the provider anticipate the type of problems that will result from this gap.
Hopefully the picture below shows what I mean..