Maturity model - The silver bullet for the challenges facing ISVs

Apr 02, 2020 Anjan Barman

For sustainable growth, independent software vendors must be aware of their current status. A maturity model tailored to ISVs helps them with data-driven methodologies, tools, and frameworks for ranking themselves against the industry benchmarks. They can identify their strong and weak areas, figure out critical growth factors, devise their growth plan, and eliminate process bottlenecks.

Independent Software Vendors

The first step for ISVs is to have absolute clarity of where they stand today. To do that, they need well-defined methodologies, techniques, tools, or frameworks that are data-driven and give a clear picture of how they fare against the market standards. No business can operate in isolation. Our maturity model helps ISVs to rank themselves against the industry benchmarks and identify the areas that they are good at, need improvement, and the ones barely managed. With such a revealing benchmarking framework, ISVs can determine the capabilities of products or services, especially in comparison to the products or services of leading competitors. They get a fair idea of how they are doing with respect to the leading competition, especially on critically important attributes, functions, or values associated with the organization’s products or services.

The information technology industry is characterized by complex and fast-evolving dynamics. Software development is directly influenced by the growing complexities, technology trends, market conditions, and increasing operational challenges. For independent software vendors (ISVs), how they cope with the rapid technological advancements, increasing customer needs, time limitations, infrastructure/resource scarcity, and new competitors determine their growth and business sustainability.

But as the management is constantly grappled with the relevance and usability of solutions, internal disputes, deadlines, and stringent budgets, the efforts to scale the business take a back seat.

A maturity model can bring about the turnaround

To navigate a new path forward, ISVs must acknowledge the situation and gauge the efficacy of their solutions, processes, and strategies as per the market reality. They need a framework that highlights the performance of various processes against those of the market leaders. It filters the workflow bottlenecks with KPIs, OKRs, and objective-driven metrics and suggests ways to get back on the track. Such a framework is best represented by a maturity model. It gives actionable insights to set goals and devise growth plans, and handholds the stakeholders to achieve their targets. The management gets a clear view of the things it must do against the ones it’s doing.

How does a maturity model drive ISVs towards growth?

Today, product excellence alone can’t drive the growth and sustainability of any company. ISVs need a maturity model to assess their practices and the governance of their ecosystem, set improvement goals, and execute plans to improve and fine-tune the ecosystem. The efforts to achieve the different levels of maturity are underlined by the maturity model.

The maturity model helps them assess the effectiveness of a person or team and figure out the capabilities they must acquire to improve. It highlights the steps toward growth and the tools, processes, and methods for each step.

Before deciding on the maturity model, the decision-makers must:

  • Have a clear objective of implementing it.
  • Identify the metrics they want to measure.
  • Enlist the support of different teams to identify the measures.
  • Create a plan based on the insights from the model and make the arrangements to achieve the objectives.
  • Regularly test and monitor the progress towards the goals.

Using a maturity model to analyze and improve business processes

A typical maturity model is structured as a series of levels of effectiveness that anyone in the field would pass through in sequence as they become more capable. There’s no rigid rule dictating the number of levels although the most popular models have around 4/5.

Here’s a Project Management maturity model. To ascertain the current level of the organization, its different processes are gauged against the process mentioned under each level.

Level 1 (Nascent) No clearly-defined KPAs or QA process Unconducive development environment lacking in infrastructure and resources
Level 2 (Burgeoning) Basic project management policies Stable end-to-end management of similar natured projects
Level 3 (Organized) Fully-documented guidelines and standard processes Peer reviews and training programs; focus on process improvements
Level 4 (Optimized) New tools, techniques, and evaluation processes with quantitative feedback Proactive software quality and quantity management and defect prevention
Improving Capability
Level 1

The company operates in a relatively random manner. There's very little control over things and it's unpredictable how it will react, particularly when faced with a crisis.

Level 2

Somewhat structured processes and adherence to basic project management practices. Success depends on individuals or specific management support rather than the adoption of broad organizational standards.

Level 3

Well-defined organizational level project management procedures are documented and used as operational standards. The overall environment supports proactive actions.

Level 4

The management is focused on managing projects as well as improving the processes. The best resources and practices are used for optimum results. Project performance is measured using well-defined metrics.

Benefits of Maturity Assessment

Maturity assessment gives a clear view of the level of control the organization has over its processes and functions. Identifying the maturity level itemizes the gaps that can then be measured and closed. Knowing about their current level enables the organization to take control of the situation and work towards the objectives. Maturity assessment provides clear insights into the value of each process or function, the possible benefits of improving the processes, and to-dos for it.

The ideal maturity model helps ISVs to adhere to the industry best practices with assistance in creating a detailed growth plan that includes resources, task assignment, efficient management, and budget allocation for continual improvement. The primary benefits include:

  • Speed to market
  • Better resource allocation
  • Fine-tuning the workflow for higher productivity
  • Product diversification
  • Higher profits and a platform to scale

The above benefits can be realized when the maturity model enables the management to:

  • Set strategic goals
  • Identify critical business questions
  • Design KPIs to answer those questions
  • Track performance against goals
  • Compare performance using benchmarking

Transform your business with clinical implementation of the maturity model

The nature of the maturity model underscores the need for special expertise to design one and it’s best for firms to partner with an external agency that specializes in the job. Also, it should be noted that not all organizations fit simply into one model and the framework has to be tailored to the needs of every user.

Nalashaa’s proven maturity models for software vendors have been evaluated by industry practitioners and have earned the reputation of enabling decision-making for better software ecosystem governance. The scope of our work extends far beyond the general audits.

A typical engagement with Nalashaa starts with an assessment of your business processes to determine the level your organization is currently performing in. This is followed by the stage-wise implementation of the maturity model where we handhold you through the gradual transformation from one level to another until you reach the highest stage or achieve your objective.

We help you discover the best market opportunity as per your capabilities and empower you with the expertise to cash in on it by creating solutions that sell while reducing all associated risks.

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Anjan Barman

Anjan Barman is a technology enthusiast with primary interests in the applications and possibilities of Cloud, RPA, AI, CRM, and the like in modern businesses. He loves exploring how innovations help organizations improve their efficiency while reducing the operating costs and presents the same in an atypical way. His other indulgences are non-fiction paperbacks, oriental music, and cricket.