Kaseya Survey Shows Direct Link Between SMB IT Maturity, Revenue Growth

Edward GatelyHow well a business’ IT management function supports its IT needs has a high correlation to revenue growth rates, according to Kaseya’s latest IT operations benchmark survey.

The annual survey, based on input from 1,200 respondents from SMBs globally, compares the practices of IT departments based on their IT management maturity level.

Kaseya's Kirk FeathersThe IT management maturity model for SMBs consists of five levels, from lowest to highest: reactive — responding to individual user challenges and requests; efficient — having a systematic approach to solving known issues and dealing with daily tasks; proactive — automating repetitive tasks and many remedial actions; aligned — tracking and managing against service level agreements of availability and performance expectations; and strategic — achieving IT operational excellence and taking a strategic role in driving business innovation.

Only 14 percent of respondents consider their IT organizations to have reached either the strategic or aligned levels, representing a 3 percent increase from last year.

Kirk Feathers, Kaseya’s vice president of customer enablement, tells Channel Partners that more than one-third (36 percent) of companies with the higher IT maturity levels (strategic and aligned) grew their revenue at greater than 10 percent between 2014 and 2015.{ad}

“This creates an opportunity for channel partners to offer SMBs an impact that goes beyond just managing IT,” he said.

The survey shows that companies of any size can achieve the highest levels of IT maturity.

“Only 21-25 percent of companies at reactive, efficient or proactive levels reported growth rates over 10 percent,” Feathers said. “We can’t pretend that this correlation is causation, of course; however, it’s suggestive that – at least – a well-managed company focuses management attention and strategic thought on the best ways to organize, fund and staff its IT ops group.”

The survey findings also show that more mature IT organizations tend to outsource services, such as backup and recovery, virtual desktop services, remote monitoring and management, and private cloud management, to help ensure their success. Companies at higher maturity levels outsource on average of …


… 20 percent more services than those at lower levels.

In addition, the more mature IT organizations use cloud services associated with platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) 50 percent more often than the less mature IT organizations.

“If you look forward 12 months, the picture flips in that the less mature IT groups are actively considering more outsourced services than their higher maturity peers,” Feathers said. “Reactive IT groups would increase their total outsourced services by 76 percent if they adopted all the services they were actively considering.”

Of the top three IT priorities for 2016, completing projects on time was the top priority named by respondents, followed by delivering higher service levels and improving customer experience.

“Based on the survey responses, 86 percent of respondents classify their IT organization as being at one of the first three levels on the IT management maturity model,” Feathers said. “In fact, the largest cohort (35.4 percent) reported that they are still at the reactive stage. They primarily focus on internal IT challenges versus challenges faced by the business or the business’ customers, and spend a good deal of time on day-to-day tasks that have more manual labor involved than is ideal. Consequently, IT is perceived as a utility for most midsize businesses, where the primary concern is to minimize costs while maintaining a functional IT infrastructure to support employees.”

Some 44 percent of companies that fall in the higher maturity levels are required to report and achieve on their SLAs, and 48 percent track mean time to recovery.

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