The Communication Maturity Model: Assessing How Your Organization Stacks Up

Communication is the lifeblood of organizations. As noted by Raconteur, recent survey data found that 70 percent of employees' time is spent communicating and collaborating. Without robust, mature communication systems, staff aren't as efficient, customers aren't as happy, and enterprise performance ultimately suffers. As such, it is vital to assess where your organization stacks up using the communication maturity model.

Powerbroker organizations on the communication maturity model might feature video customer service.
Are you a Communications Skeptic or a Powerbroker? Use the communication maturity model to determine at what stage your organization is in adapting to new technologies.

While some C-suite executives adopt the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" attitude toward existing processes, in a cloud-based and mobile-driven market, that approach is not good enough. The solution? Start with data: Discover where current practices fall on the communication maturity model and leverage results to boost the bottom line.

Not sure which maturity level applies to your organization? Start with this five-minute assessment to get a handle on your general communications outlook.

The Cost of Doing Business?

While board members often balk at the notion of spending more to upgrade current communication solutions, inefficient tools that are merely "good enough" cost companies time and money. As Raconteur also noted, employees lose one day of productivity every week because of inadequate communications capabilities and companies spend more than $10,000 per employee every year managing inefficient technology.

It doesn't stop there. C-suite attitudes toward new technologies such as unified communications (UC) and cloud-based call centers don't exist in a vacuum. According to ZDNet, for example, many executives overestimate the maturity of DevOps teams and processes in their organization. Why? Because they've created a culture in which the status quo has more value than innovation, prompting disconnection between the perception of tech maturity and its actual impact.

Making an upgrade is a simple solution — the challenge lies in knowing where an organization falls on the communications maturity scale. Who's ahead? Who's behind? What's lacking in current offerings?

Communications self-awareness isn't an inherent enterprise trait: C-suite executives able to quantify their current maturity level, gain actionable feedback, and make sound investments can help drive organizational change.

Real Mature

A recent IDC white paper, "Business Communications Transformation: Best-in-Class Communications Can Be a Competatitve Advantage," defines four maturity levels:

  • Communications Powerbrokers: These organizations lead the digital charge, leveraging technologies such as social networks, SMS messaging, and real-time chat to empower both staff and customers. They actively integrate automation and CPaaS solutions to improve their impact.
  • Communications Respecters: Lagging slightly behind powerbrokers, these organizations understand the value of advanced UC and cloud-based technologies. Digital transformation efforts are already underway.
  • Communications Skeptics: Skeptics prefer established, on-premises solutions to cloud-based offerings such as automation and VoIP. Typically, they rely on web and videoconferencing. Less than half are actively engaged in digital transformation, limiting future growth.
  • Communications Unaware: Enterprises still using traditional voice telephony. While the basic functionality of these legacy systems remains unchanged, there's little room for growth.

Taking Stock of the Communication Maturity Model

After taking the assessment mentioned earlier in this article, organizations find themselves sorted into the catagories of Skeptics or Unaware should take a hard look at existing technologies and how they impact the bottom line. But Respecters and Powerbrokers shouldn't become complacent either, as the CPaaS and UC market is currently undergoing significant evolution with the technology changing rapidly.

Of course, taking a snapshot of current communications maturity only offers so much value. It's a great starting point, but how do C-suite members make sure the assessment isn't simply a flash in the pan? Ideally, they implement best practices and exercises that let them continuously evaluate enterprise communication efficiency.

  • Consider the Competition: Assess what other organizations are doing, along with their results. If market-vertical competitors have implemented chatbots with great success, it might be time to consider APIs for the same purpose.
  • Talk the Talk: Ask front-line staff and IT experts what they think about the current communications climate. This offers a double benefit: If they're confident suggestions will be heard and respected, they'll speak up and can help point C-suites in the right direction. If they're silent — or say everything is "fine" — it's a good indication that corporate culture needs to change.
  • Start Small: Digital transformation using cloud-based solutions sounds daunting — and can be if enterprises take on too much, too quickly. Instead, identify key needs and find best-fit solutions. For example, an organization undergoing international expansion might consider the adoption of unified communication solutions that make it possible to collaborate in real time across all geographic locations. Find the right partner, implement a specific solution, and measure the results.
  • Don't Fear Failure: It happens. Success comes from learning through repeated failures until mistakes can be avoided or eliminated. As-needed digital transformations may not always go according to plan, but can help inform subsequent investments.

Communications self-awareness isn't an inherent enterprise trait: C-suite executives able to quantify their current maturity level, gain actionable feedback, and make sound investments can help drive organizational change.

Ready to learn more about the communication maturity model? Visit Vonage Business to download the free white paper.

Ready to find our how your organization stacks up? Take the five-minute assessment.

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