Intranet & Digital Workplace Maturity Models
Last updated: May 2017
In the highly dynamic, fast moving world of Intranets and Digital Workplaces, the need for orientation understandably is a big one. Where does my organization stand? Where does the journey need to go?
This overview of Intranet and Digital Workplace Maturity Models is intended to get you started.
Applications and Limitations of Intranet Maturity Models
The need for orientation is where maturity models come into play. They try to give orientation in regard to your current position and also as to where you can go from there. There has been quite some critique in regard to Intranet Maturity Models in the past, which I think is both justified and unjustified at the same time. The natural limitation of any maturity model is its inability to cater to the individual needs of an organisation (it can just depict general, standardised situations). Therefore you should for example never confuse higher maturity stages in such a map with your individual intranet strategy or goals. Also, a maturity model cannot be a replacement for an individual benchmarking, if an organisation really wants to know where their Intranet stands compared to other companies.
If you take these restrictions into consideration, you can use an Intranet or Digital Workplace Maturity Modell to get a first, ad-hoc understanding of where you stand today and what potential next steps might include.
From Intranet Maturity Models to Digital Workplace Maturity Models
With the ever expanding scope of Intranets over the last couple of years, the (broader) term of the Digital Workplace has come into popular use. This development alone depicts how Intranets and the possible stages of their maturity have changed over the last few years.
Below, several maturity models are presented that both demonstrate the “historic” development of these models since 2006 as well as the most current models in this area (that I’m aware of).
It has to be mentioned, that there are many other maturity models touching on the individual areas an Intranet and Digital Workplace is made up of (e.g. Enterprise 2.0 maturity models, Community maturity models, etc.) as well as those models that put the “Social Intranet” or “Social Workplace” as the final stage of an Intranet. These models are not included here due to their limited scope.
Intranet Maturity Models
Razorfish: Intranet Maturity Framework (TM), 2006
The then most well-known Intranet Maturity Model was the “Intranet Maturity Framework (TM)” published by “Avenue A | Razorfish” (today: Razorfish) in the “Corporate Intranets Best Practices Report” back in 2006.
For 2006, this model was quite visionary and already described many elements that would be labelled “Digital Workplace” today. At the same time, it highlights one of the fundamental problems of generic Intranet maturity models: in practise, stages 2 to 5 are rarely sequential steps that have to be followed one after the next, but rather parallel developments taking place in accordance to the needs, problems and priorities of an enterprise.
Note: there are of course other, less well known intranet maturity models from that time period. However, I son’t see any additional value in listing here. One modell that might be worth mentioning for German speakers is a modell from 2008 by namics: “Evolution des Intranet Konzeptes“.
Digital Workplace Maturity Models (from 2010 to 2017)
The term “Digital Workplace” is very broad and vague by definition, as it is nearly impossible to pin down a concept that encompasses all aspects of (digitally supported) work for everyone.
Intranet Benchmarking Forum: Digital-Workplace-Maturity-Model, 2010
The first Digital Workplace Maturity Models, like the one designed by Sam Marshall, ClearBox Consulting for the Intranet Benchmarking Forum (published in 2010) jumped in to give a better understanding of what the scope of a Digital Workplace might encompass (rather than trying to give specific direction as to what “the next steps” are).
This model has been superseded by “The Digital Workplace Map” as shown later on (see also comment by Sam Marshall in the comments section below).
Infocentric: From Intranets to the Digital Workplace, 2013
In January 2013 (while still at Infocentric Research), I was asked to create a Digital Workplace Maturity Model for a government client and – in lack of other suitable models available at that time – developed a classic stage concept model:
© Inforcentric Research, 2013
First of all, this model tries to draw a demarcation line between an Intranet and the Digital Workplace at the point where more specific work support is offered (beyond general information provisioning, one-size-fits-all collaboration rooms, etc.).
Apart from stage 1, the stages are not defined by which functions are offered, but rather by the total scope of the instrument and by how far the respective support offered goes (e.g. “generic process support” in stage 2 – this could for instance be a simple workflow solution – and “specific process support” in stage 3 – which likely supports far more processes and also in a more specific way, e.g. not just form based workflows).
Lastly, this model tries to give a first impression about the changing composition of the technology portfolio required in each stage. While content management functionality is predominant in stage 1, the later stages are represented by an ever more balanced mix of technology categories.
Digital Workplace Group: The Digital Workplace Map, 2013
Shortly after this, the Digital Workplace Group published a maturity model (called “The Digital Workplace Map”) based on the CMMI concept (“Capability Maturity Model Integration”, in which defined areas of e.g. a system are rated on a 5-level maturity scale):
© Digital Workplace Forum, 2013
The “Digital Workplace Map” is divided into seven areas, which are evaluated individually:
- Communication and Business Intelligence
- Collaboration and Community
- Services and Workflow
- Structure and Coherence
- Mobility and Flexibility
- Strategic Alignment and Management
- Organisational Readiness
Philipp Rosenthal: People Relationship Model, 2013
A third model comes from Philipp Rosenthal, focusing on the evolution of people in the context of a Digital Workplace. It is called “People Relationship Model”.
Schillerwein Net Consulting: Intranet and Digital Workplace Maturity Stages, 2014-today
In order to cater for a number of relevant developments and insights since creating the above depicted model from 2013, I started new model in 2014. These have evolved ever since with the current version being 1.8:
cc: 2017, Stephan Schillerwein
There is a number of aspects worth mentioning in this modell:
- Some maturity models give the impression that what is done in an early stage is no longer needed in later stages of the evolution. For an Intranet or Digital Workplace this doesn’t hold true. Providing information, for instance, does not move out of foucs once an organisation advances to the next stage, but should also be moved to the next level.
- While a distinction between the support of generic types of work and specific processes was already there in my earlier modell (see: Infocentric, above), this differentation was not clear and explicit enough. As we moved on since then and many organisations are now at a stage where they have good support for generic work processes, it is of paramount importance to distinguish between those two fundamentally different kinds of work and therefore also different solutions to support them (2nd and 3rd generation).
- Generation 4 and beyond have intentionally been left blank, as this is too far off into the future for most organisations to be of any value today-
While all models do have different focus, it seems to me that they all reflect the need to cope with the very broad nature of the Digital Workplace (or the changing world of work in general) and therefore have to use a certain level of abstraction that will not easily be understood by all organisations.
On the other hand, this is not really an issue, as such maturity models should only give a first orientation, not a deep dive into an organisation’s current situation or future planning.
If you are aware of other relevant maturity models for Digital Workplaces please use the commenting function below – thank you.
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