Development of a practice-oriented method for a systematic assessment of IT-processes for small and medium-sized IT-service providers

The goal of the research project “Grade IT“ is to develop a practice-oriented method for a systematic assessment of IT-processes for small and medium-sized IT-service providers. This assessing method enables IT-providers to present their IT Services more transparently and to identify weak points as well as to develop potentials that can be used to derive strategic methods for optimizing the IT-processes. This goal can be achieved by means of the development of a SME-specific maturity level model that has a consistent system of tension metrics for assessing IT-processes.

State of the Art

Small and medium-sized IT-organizations are faced with the major challenge to provide their services in high quality and to present them transparently. The connection of their services with the business processes is challenging and requires a service- and process-oriented mentality. For facing these challenges and implementing a „service- and process-oriented way of thinking“ IT Service Management (ITSM) offers methods and measures for a customer-oriented, process-oriented and transparent provision of IT Services. Despite of existing ITSM-specific reference models and guidelines, the described methods have hardly been used by small and medium-sized enterprises yet. Recent surveys revealed that even though ITSM-guidelines, such as ITIL, are familiar to these enterprises, the guidelines still have not been implemented for providing IT Services. This is due to the high complexity of the guidelines and to the associated high effort that is needed for implementation. In particular, these guidelines define organizational structures and process structures that are not realizable for small and medium-sized IT Service Providers, since they neither have the economic opportunities to make such huge efforts for each process implementations, nor they are able to provide personal resources of such a magnitude (e.g. implementation of the incident or change management, implementation of ITSM-tools). Therefore, small and medium-sized IT-service providers lack an approach which takes their abilities and opportunities as a SME into the account so that they become able to independently assess and optimize their processes.


The goal of the present research project is to support IT Service Providers with a systematic and practical approach dealing with the realization and optimization of their IT processes, in order to

  • identify the status quo and the maturity of their IT processes within the evaluation phase as well as to measure systematically the quality of their IT processes that are necessary for providing IT services (siting/quality inspection).
  • reveal weak points of their IT processes concerning the service delivery (analysis of weak points)
  • derive strategic measures for the optimization of the IT-processes and, therefore, for an increase of the maturity level (continuous improvement process, CIP) as well as to
  • make the value of their services concerning the business processes measurable



The result of the research project „GradeIT“ is a SME-specific maturity level model with a uniform measurement parameter that allows an independent assessment of operative IT processes and an identification of weak points. By analyzing the impact between measures (categorized in indices and indicators) and the factors involved, specific opportunities for action are derived so that the next maturity level can be achieved by its execution.