A comparison of the most commonly used Maturity Frameworks

By Vedran Simunovic, Principal Consultant, Business Aspect
First published on Axelos.com

Consultants are often asked to perform a maturity level analysis of IT / business processes. The results can sometimes confuse the client, especially if similar analyses have been performed using a different maturity framework previously.  For example, if a maturity level of a process has been reported as “2 / Intermediate” it might be confusing to a stakeholder who had the same process assessed with a different framework as “3 / Defined”.

Choosing the right framework - Are they all the same? Do they overlap?

This article offers the reader a practical reference point in the form of a side-by-side comparison of the more commonly used maturity frameworks.  In total, six maturity frameworks have been compared:

  1. CobiT/CMMI/ITIL
  2. IT-CMF
  3. Microsoft
  4. Gartner
  5. Deloitte
  6. NSW Government

The first two are considered universal, whilst the other four have been designed specifically for ITAM/SAM[1].  These have been included because software licensing and IT asset management are becoming hot topics in many organisations. Consequently, customers often ask for a SAM maturity assessment (which is typically performed through a maturity framework specific to ITAM/SAM), which can then lead to maturity assessments of other IT processes (performed through universal frameworks).  This article provides one way to cross-reference both types of maturity analyses.

For the sake of simplicity, the overlaps between maturity levels have been minimised.  Whilst this might open some maturity level matches to a debate, consider that our aim is to provide a reasonably accurate comparison which can facilitate a meaningful discussion.  In order to simplify the comparison further, maturity levels have been grouped into three bands: “red” (low maturity), “amber” (medium maturity) and “green” (high maturity).

Click the table to download a more detailed view

On the left side of the comparison table, CobiT/CMMI/ITIL maturity framework exhibits the most granular maturity levels (0-5) of all examined frameworks. This is the framework that Axelos deals with and expands upon by introducing detailed descriptions and additional qualifications.  Next towards the right is the IT-CMF framework, which has five maturity levels (0-4). Broadly speaking, these two frameworks’ maturity levels match one-to-one, except at the beginning of the “amber” band, where CobiT/CMMI/ITIL exhibits two maturity levels (2 and 3) to IT-CMF’s one (level 2).

Next are Microsoft’s, Gartner’s and Deloitte’s maturity frameworks for ITAM/SAM.  Business Aspect believes that their maturity levels can be made applicable to other processes, provided that the terminology is adjusted accordingly.  Each of these three frameworks provides specific additional information. Gartner’s, for example, includes an estimate of the percentages of organisations on each maturity level.

Lastly, the comparison table shows the NSW Government SAM Standard maturity levels, which is applicable to Software Asset Management in NSW Government agencies and bodies. Out of all analysed frameworks, this one exhibits the most perceptible overlaps and has the lowest number of maturity levels.

The comparison table is accurate enough to allow a meaningful discussion with the client, for example, when we want to use Axelos tools to perform an ITIL maturity assessment and the client has been exposed to, say, Deloitte’s framework, or perhaps Gartner’s.  The comparison table can also be used to leverage the results of an initial ITAM/SAM maturity engagement as a baseline for further maturity assessments of other processes through other frameworks and/or Axelos tools.


[1] IT Asset Management / Software Asset Management

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