How to Progress Through Your Customer-Centric Maturity Level
Companies can take progressive steps in their customer-centric maturity level by implementing anew or improve selected process areas at the unit or project level and continuing to the more advanced levels using both customer and organizational performance data analysis, practices and tools that enable them to achieve higher goals.
Since higher maturity levels are associated with improvement in business results, achieving a maturity level is one way of predicting general outcomes for your organization. For example, at maturity level 2, the organization has been elevated from an initial level to a foundational level by developing its first customer-oriented initiatives. Because each maturity level forms a necessary foundation for the next level, trying to skip maturity levels is usually counterproductive.
Organizations can advance towards higher customer-centric maturity levelsanytime they choose, even before they are prepared to effectively run its asociated process areas. In such situations, however, organizations should understand that the success of these improvements is threatened because the foundation for their successful (and previous) institutionalization has not been fully completed. For example, it is not uncommon that many organizations prematurely collect detailed customer data (which is characteristic of maturity levels 3 and 4), only to find the data cannot be interpreted because of inconsistencies in process activities and measurement definitions.
Improving or implementing a Maturity level process areas without the proper foundation will thus fail at the point they are needed most: under stress or financial constraints. Keep in mind that any defined process area that is characteristic of a given maturity level can be placed at great risk if its foundations at a lower maturity level are deficient. It is up to you to decide what implementation strategy best fits your organizational goals and priorities and what path to follow.