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Gartner’s Product Support Maturity Scale Version 2 has arrived!

by Rob Addy  |  March 14, 2012  |  Submit a Comment

Sequels are inherently risky. Will it be “The Godfather Part 2” or “The Godfather Part 3”? Is it more of an “Empire Strikes Back” than a “Phantom Menace”?  Yes, sequels are risky. They can make or break a franchise. Has the 2nd version of the Maturity Scale helped or hindered the product support cause? Only time and reader feedback will tell.

“There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate – more blood, more gore – ‘carnage candy’. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.”

Jamie Kennedy as “Randy Meeks”, (The trailer for) Scream 2, 1997

In light of this blueprint for sequel excellence we ruthlessly slaughtered 3 of the original Maturity Scale evaluation criteria and disemboweled the remaining 7 to show their innards to the world. Higher body count… check! More gore… check! As for the ‘killer’… We are saying nothing as we don’t want to ruin the surprise for you!

What’s happened?

Two years after its original publication the Gartner’s Product Support Maturity Scale has been revised. Version 2 incorporates the collective learning of its adopters, it reflects the advances in associated technology areas and changes in market perceptions that we have observed since its inception. At least that’s what it says in the research note extract… 😉

Why did we mess with it in the first place?

The support world has changed. Our customers have changed. Our customer’s customers have changed. The maturity scale needed to change to reflect these changes or become irrelevant. Based on the popularity and success of the original it was decided that it was appropriate to issue a revision. We hope that those of you that have used and found the original useful will approve of this update.

Is it just an incremental change or a completely different model?

Hopefully neither. It remains true to its roots but we have shifted the emphasis away from the overtly technical nature of version 1 to give a more balanced approach to the entire support experience – at least that was our intention!  We were also faced with a dichotomy… A desire for simplification vs. A need for increased levels of granularity and detail. We have attempted to resolve these divergent requirements through restructuring and adding an additional layer of content.

So what’s actually changed?

Loads of stuff:

  • Version 1 segmented the offerings of the support industry into 4 categories; reactive, proactive, predictive and pre-emptive. This remains unchanged.
  • We’ve clarified the definitions of the 4 maturity categories and have attempted to make the distinctions between the various levels clearer.
  • Version 1 used 10 evaluation criteria to assess the relative maturity of a service offering. This has model been revised to concentrate on 7 primary evaluation criteria that we believe more closely relate to the support value proposition and customer expectations.
  • There is now a snazzy “components of maturity” diagram to go with the support maturity model. The graphic will be core to additional research that is planned for later in the year.
  • There is now an expanded view of the maturity scale included with the model. This sub-divides each of the 7 core evaluation criteria into 4 or 5 focus areas and provides 33 secondary evaluation criteria that providers can use to benchmark their operations and service value.
  • The “recommended action” section has also been reworked to reflect the current challenges facing the support industry and offer guidance around investment prioritization and portfolio design.

Anything else?

The first note published is for the technology and service provider community only. As before, end-user focused notes will be published to help educate your customers as to the virtues of more mature support offerings and the value that they could, and perhaps should, be deriving from their support contracts.

So that’s everything? Right?

Oh yes, the new version is a somewhat weighty 31 pages. There is considerably more detail than before. We don’t anticipate that providers will read it cover to cover (although some may) but instead it is intended to act a reference point for all Gartner research in the area of product support services for the next year or so.

Have you done now?

Yes… No… Maybe… To summarize… We wanted to simplify the model – we did that. We wanted to increase the level of detail and evaluation criteria granularity – we did that. We wanted to make the differences between the various maturity levels more obvious – we did that too.

Version 1 was never intended to be the final finished article. Neither is version 2. It is (in our opinion) an improvement that will help take discussions regarding product support value forward.  But please please please DO let us know what you think of it! Our interactions with you guys helped shape it into what it is today. Our future interactions will help reshape it once more…


Oh yes, I almost forgot to say… It’s available for download here!

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Category: support-operations  support-processes  support-strategy  support-value  

Tags: customer-experience  gartner-product-support-maturity-scale  support-value-chain  trkfam  

Rob Addy
Research Vice President
5 years at Gartner
More years than I care to remember in the IT industry

Welcome to my blog! I post about all things services related from the provider perspective. End-users are welcome to read but please be aware that you may sometimes find its content unsettling. I will endeavour to post frequently (as it's a lot cheaper than a therapist) but please forgive me if other more mundane activities occasionally get in the way...Read my official Gartner bio here

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