PagerDuty Blog

How mature are your digital operations? Take a look at our 5-tier model to find out

With an increased reliance on digital services, companies have more at stake when things go wrong. Those without a way to manage unplanned, real-time work are putting a lot at risk—including the long-term success of the business and its reputation. Technical teams are the backbone for digital transformation projects that drive the business forward, yet every moment that ITOps professionals or developers spend troubleshooting or fixing issues takes time away from opportunities for innovation.

Understanding your current level of digital operations maturity is a critical step to becoming an innovative, resilient organization. Understanding your operational maturity opens up three key benefits:

  1. It helps organizations benchmark themselves against best practices to reflect and identify areas for improvement
  2. It allows technical leaders to visualize their current and desired future state and build it into their strategic planning
  3. It enables companies to identify some of their personal “north star” metrics to help measure success and set goals for improvement.

The biggest benefit of digital operations maturity is that mature organizations just perform better: they have happier, more productive teams, healthier operational efficiency, and improved customer experiences. Research that PagerDuty conducted with IDG underlined this fact. Our research found that, on average, organizations with a mature digital operations approach (where response processes are well-defined, coordinated, and leverage automation as much as possible) are able to:

These findings demonstrate the clear business impact of digital operations maturity and why it’s important to reach a maturity level that will help minimize outages and reduce time to resolution.

In order to rise to the challenge, technical leaders need to understand how to measure their current maturity level, identify where their ideal state is, recognize what’s keeping them from getting there, and make a plan for how to build long-lasting maturity for their organization.

The PagerDuty Digital Operations Maturity Model

To help organizations measure their operational maturity, PagerDuty developed a Digital Operations Maturity Model. The model gives IT organizations a way to define operational maturity, learn how to identify where they fall on the spectrum, and understand where to focus their efforts to improve. PagerDuty developed this model through more than ten years of working with customers that represent all major industries around the world.

  • Manual organizations have operational processes in place that are engineered chiefly for legacy environments, with incidents initiated manually and entirely by humans using queued workflows such as tickets. Issues are first identified by customers—rather than by technology teams—and urgent issues are manually escalated by a central team through the changing of ticket priorities. There are typically only a few mechanisms for reaching experts when escalating unplanned work.
  • Reactive organizations have some initial technology investments to gain visibility and real-time mobilization as they begin migrating to the cloud and maturing their applications into more complex digital services. Technology teams have started shifting from centralized to distributed technical teams, but lack coordination and/or skill sharing. There is a documented process for alerting teams about issues, but they are not optimized for urgent, customer-impacting issues. Major incidents are still being managed in an ad-hoc fashion.
  • Responsive organizations have started to explore using machine learning as a way to identify potential issues, reduce false positives, and reduce noise. Teams have more visibility into customer-impacting issues and respond as quickly as possible. Issues are automatically identified and actioned by subject matter experts, although assembling the right cross-functional team is still a challenge. Distributed teams have started to take full ownership of microservice components. Organizations are usually able to quickly organize the correct set of domain experts to resolve incidents. Ad hoc knowledge sharing continues to occur but is not formalized.
  • Proactive organizations have a seamless, coordinated response and action sequence for urgent, real-time work. Issues are detected and fixed by technical teams before customers are aware. Distributed teams are fully accountable for production operability and maintain a view into service dependencies and impact. Relevant information about issues is delivered in a timely manner to the right people, including subject matter experts and business stakeholders. Teams have invested in programmatic learning, which helps identify opportunities for optimization.
  • Preventative organizations have set up so that predictive issue remediation occurs based on machine learning insights so that a seamless customer experience is maintained. These organizations have rolled out highly automated processes to eliminate toil and escalations. They have invested in best practices and developed a culture of continuous learning, improvement, and prevention across the business—including non-technical stakeholders—so that the business can predict the future impact of changes.

As companies move up and to the right of the model, they exhibit more behaviors that reflect streamlining of incident management processes. This includes embracing more automation to reduce repetitive and manual tasks, increasing knowledge sharing, and adopting principles of continuous learning and improvement.

If you want more information about how to assess and improve your digital operations maturity, take a look at this eBook. If you want to learn how PagerDuty can help you achieve these goals, contact your account manager and sign up for a 14-day free trial.