Why Maturity Matters

SPI Research's maturity level definitions allow PS firms to discover areas where they are underperforming compared to their peers. In some cases this performance may be a result of the organization's strategy, for instance, deemphasizing service margin to accentuate product sales.

Regardless of the motives, understanding each pillar’s relative maturity can help PS executives identify and implement an improvement strategy to move their organization forward.

Service Performance Insight (SPI Research) first introduced the "New Professional Services Maturity Model™" in January, 2008. Since that time more than 15,000 PS organizations have used it to diagnose their current maturity and visualize the steps required to move to the next level.

Based on results reported from over 2,000 PSOs, characteristics of the leading PS Maturity organizations include:

Market leadership

Strong, loyal client relationships

An engaged and talented workforce

Consistent, repeatable high quality service delivery

Best-in-class revenue growth and profitability

The PS Maturity Model

In 2007, SPI developed the PS Maturity Model™ as a strategic planning and management framework. It is now the industry-leading performance improvement tool used by over 15,000 service and project-oriented organizations to chart their course to service excellence.

The core tenet of the PS Maturity Model™ is PSOs achieve success through the optimization of five Service Performance Pillars™:

  1. Leadership – Vision, Strategy and Culture
  2. Client Relationships
  3. Human Capital Alignment
  4. Service Execution
  5. Finance and Operations

The Professional Services Maturity Model™ is designed to help Professional Service Organizations (PSOs) understand their relative performance compared to an expansive benchmark of peers. It provides visibility into critical business processes and key performance measurements so organizations can compare, diagnose and improve their own performance. It also provides prescriptive advice so organizations can pinpoint current levels of maturity and visualize the steps required to advance to the next level.

Service Performance Pillars

Our belief is that professional services organizations achieve success through the optimization of five Service Performance Pillars:

Leadership (Vision, Strategy and Culture): (CEO) a unique view of the future and the role the service organization will play in shaping it.

Client Relationships: (Marketing and Sales) the ability to communicate effectively with employees, partners and customers to generate opportunities and win deals.

Human Capital Alignment: (Human Resources) the ability to attract, hire, motivate, and retain high quality employees and subcontractors.

Service Execution: (Engagement/Delivery) the methodologies, processes and tools to effectively schedule, deploy and measure the quality of the service delivery process.

Finance and Operations: (CFO) the ability to manage service profit and loss — to generate revenue and profit while developing repeatable operating processes, IT applications and management controls.

Service Maturity Levels

Within each Service Performance Pillar™, SPI Research has developed key performance measurements and maturity level definitions. Maturity level characteristics:

Level 1 — Initiated "Heroic": The PSO is in its early stages; operating processes are ad hoc and fluid. The business environment is chaotic and opportunistic, and the focus is primarily on new client acquisition and reference building. Success depends on the competence and heroics of people in the organization, and not on the use of proven processes, methods or tools. Employees wear many hats and perform multiple roles.

Level 2 — Piloted "Functional ": Core operating processes are starting to become repeatable. Best practices may be demonstrated in discrete functional areas or geographies but they are not yet documented and codified for the entire organization. Operational excellence and best practices may be discerned within functions but not across functions

Level 3 — Deployed "Project Excellence": The PSO has created a set of standard processes and operating principles for all major service performance pillars™, but renegades and hold-outs may still exist. Processes have been established to focus on effective execution with a spotlight on alignment between and across functions.

Level 4 — Institutionalized "Portfolio Excellence": Management uses precise measurements, metrics and controls, to effectively manage the PSO. Each performance pillar is supported by a detailed set of operating principles, tools and measurements designed to improve visibility, management control and leverage.

Level 5 — Optimized "Collaborative": The PSO focuses on continual improvement of all elements of the five performance pillars™. A disciplined, controlled process is in place to measure and optimize performance through both incremental and innovative technological improvements. Focus is on both quantitative and qualitative process-improvements which adapt to and take advantage of changes in the business environment.