In an era defined by relentless business dynamics, enterprises face a critical imperative: adapt and scale or risk obsolescence in the ever-evolving landscape. The divergent response to this inclination compels many business owners to adopt several strategies; However, what often eludes their grasp is the ability to gauge the efficacy of these strategies through comprehensive data and analytical insights. These corporate oversights invariably result in missed opportunities, ultimately hastening an organisation’s descent into obscurity.


To underscore the significance of this issue, one need look no further than the cautionary tale of Kodak. The company stood as an industry leader at its zenith, exemplifying paramount success. Yet, it is one thing to ascend to the pinnacle of an industry and quite another to sustain that progress. This underscores the profound importance of integrating a Maturity Model into business operations. Kodak deployed strategies which were effective at the time and gave them traction. However, they lacked maturity assessment to alert them of the imminent threat of not innovating. Soon, they caved in and were knocked out by the rapid technology change and market needs.


Kodak invested mindlessly into acquiring small companies but failed to embrace digitisation and lost its place on the S&P 500 index—the US top stock performance watcher. According to Yash Taneja, Kodak’s stock prices hit bottom—$0.54 per share—in 2011 and a whopping 50% more before the end of the year. Retrospection reveals a pivotal missed opportunity. Had Kodak diligently aggregated and analysed its performance data, it would have been equipped with prescient insights, enabling it to proactively prepare for the future and enhance its adaptability in response to changing circumstances.


Let’s explore the concept of maturity models.


What Are Maturity Models?

Organisations must evaluate their performance to interrogate their systems, make room for improvement, and adopt efficient processes for optimal growth. A maturity model provides businesses and software development teams the tools to measure operations and management and determine more efficient strategies for sustained growth performance. A company stands a better chance of scaling to the next level and integrating better when it subjects its processes to maturity assessment.


Apart from identifying weaknesses within a company, maturity models are used to compare the performance of organisations. In 1989, Watts Humphrey introduced the first Capability Maturity Model (CMM); however, in 1991, the five maturity levels were fully initiated. Humphrey affirms that duties in an organisation can be controlled, measured, and enhanced, and these processes have been narrowed to the five levels of maturity models.


Five Maturity Levels of Organisations

The five maturity levels assess an organisation’s business process and management maturity.

The order of ranking is from lowest to highest:


  • Level 1: Initial

This is the lowest maturity level. At this stage, no system exists to run an organisation’s business. As such, the performance rate of the company is heavily dependent on the skills, efforts, and motivations of individuals (including ad-hoc staff), and their absence results in chaos. It becomes challenging to control operations as the company grows larger. The lack of structure and control will further diminish the scaling of such a firm beyond this level—this is the case for many startup businesses and software development teams in Nigeria. They are domiciled on this level, and until there is an intentional adoption of maturity models, they will remain at this point. This confirms why many of them do not grow beyond the 10-year mark.


  • Level 2: Managed

The second level is Managed, marking the beginning of significant improvement for the organisations at this phase. At this stage, the business owners have started collating data, making data-based decisions, and considerably saving unnecessary costs by leveraging minimal resources and time for execution. Owing to the data collation and analysis, best practices are adopted, and the entire processes and systems are improved, thereby reducing improvisational procedures to the barest. Although the use of ad-hoc staff is overhauled at this level, workflow still emerges in silos and departments.


  • Level 3: Defined

The Defined level is the stage of integrating standard processes, consistent capabilities, and practices. Working in silos, individually or departmentally, is replaced with the cross-interaction and networking of departments, making room for high-impact synergy. This phase sees a better understanding and execution of projects with automation of processes, bringing ease of work. New changes and tested effective processes are documented, and the commitment to the company’s objectives increases significantly. The awareness of functional processes results in delivery uniformity and consistency across the board. The employees of any organisation at this level feel empowered and motivated to go the extra mile.


  • Level 4: Quantitatively Managed

This level is called Quantitatively Managed because the company, at this stage, is massively data-driven. The processes at this point are intensely managed and controlled to realise the objectives of internal and external stakeholders. The processes are strategic, predictable, and consistent across the board, and there is little or no room for poor decision-making or miscommunication, as data analysis is highly maximised.


  • Level 5: Optimising

The organisations at the Optimising level of maturity set the standard for other businesses owing to their stability and flexibility. Their systems and operational processes are consistently efficient, agile, and innovative.


Most organisations in developed countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Canada, and India have adopted the maturity models. As such, they have the highest ranking in the maturity assessment. On the contrary, suffice to say that almost all the developing countries—including Nigeria—either are yet to embrace the maturity models or rank at the lowest.


7 Reasons to Embrace the Maturity Models Assessment


  • It identifies weak points in the system.

Adopting the Maturity Model Assessment gives an organisation the attention to detail skills to spot weaknesses in the system and make room for improvements. Early identification of a threat puts a company in an advantageous position to mitigate the effect in its operational processes.


  • It builds a data-driven system.

Data-driven decision-making provides precision to businesses and prepares organisations for uncertainties. It is pivotal to growth and improves the overall performance of the company. Employees benefit from a data-driven culture. As such, a data-driven system kicks the ladder of assumption away by enhancing data usage skills, which further optimises the practices in the organisation.


  • It empowers employees.

What better place to work and grow one’s career than a firm that is data mature? Such an environment helps employees harness their skills and scale their performance in insights and productivity to their benefit and the organisation.


  • It identifies new opportunities.

New opportunities are discovered to enhance growth at every point of data-driven decision-making. Not every opportunity is viable; however, with the maturity models, an organisation can precisely analyse the variables to predict and prescribe.


  • It helps to adapt to change.

Change remains inevitable, and the lack of preparedness and flexibility can keep a company from evolving. However, data maturity allows an organisation to stay updated with current data, embrace change, and lead industry trends.


  • It drives innovation.

If Kodak had innovated from analogue to digital, it would have remained a leader in the industry. Data maturity helps organisations to analyse new ideas, checking their viability to remain relevant with new products in an innovative era.


  • It gives a business an optimal advantage.

Study shows that data-driven companies have an edge over others because their data-focused decision-making is almost faultless. Besides being on top of their game, they constantly lead the pack by leveraging information to improve their systems and operational processes.


Conclusively, maturity assessment is the sure way for an organisation to drive its business growth and remain relevant no matter the changing pace of an era. With data maturity, your business grows from being data naïve to data conscious, informed, and decisive. At pcl. our custom-built software can help your business to become competitive, agile, and responsive and climb the Maturity Assessment Levels to the top where you belong. Let our team of experts help make your business Data Mature.


Written by:

Charles Kogolo