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6 min read

What does it mean to be a mature company?

SPI Research’s Maturity Benchmark shows that you outperform everybody when your company has a high maturity level. See what maturity is and how you figure out your company's maturity.

What does it mean to be a mature company?

Here are 3 quick key figures from SPI Benchmark 2021 to trigger your interest:

  • + 23% billable utilisation
  • + 14% project profitability
  • + 152% bottom line (EBITDA)

These are just three of the most eye-catching differences between companies on levels 1 and 2 on SPI Research’s maturity scale.

The scale goes all the way up to level 5.

spi-research-maturity-benchmark-maturity-kpis 1

You can read this in SPI Research’s benchmark for the consultancy industry. In the benchmark, more than 500 companies are measured against +100 key figures.

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The conclusion is that your KPIs look better the higher the maturity level in your company.

56% of all companies are still at level 1 or 2, and the likelihood that your company is at the same level is high.

Naturally, we need to get you all the way up to level 5, and you can find inspiration and help in the article here.

But first: - What makes up a mature company?

In short - what is maturity?

Maturity doesn’t sound sexy.

It sounds a bit like a bowl of ageing company with a dust of dried-up ability to innovate.

But the association is deceiving.

In reality, maturity should take your thoughts to words like professionalism, excellence and competitiveness.

Maturity is the ability to:

  • Develop and fine-tune the workflows in your company
  • Incorporate learning and new knowledge into your work procedures
  • Make sure leadership runs through the organisation and gathers the employees towards your common target
  • Exploit technology to create a solid business and better work procedures

The SPI benchmark shows that maturity has nothing to do with age. You can run an infant company that is relatively mature at the same time.

It all comes down to your organisational professionalism.

What does maturity look like? - SPI Research’s maturity model

If you want to grow your maturity, you need to do it on an operational level. You need to be able to see when you are mature and when you’re not if you need to develop your company.

And this is where SPI Research’s maturity model can help you.

The model splits up maturity into 5 performance pillars. And you can be more or less mature in the different pillars. The pillars are:

  • Leadership (CEO)
  • Customer relations (Marketing and sales)
  • Human capital alignment (HR)
  • Service execution (Project managers)
  • Finance and operations (CFO)

Each pillar has its characteristics that reveal the different maturity levels.


You can use the maturity model to test how mature/professional your company is within the 5 pillars.

If you would like to see what characterises the 5 levels, keep on reading, as we take a closer look at each level. 

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[How-to-use] Test your company - the 5 maturity levels

In this section, you can see the average KPIs and typical characteristics for each maturity level.

56% of all companies are still at level 1 or 2. There is a high likelihood that your company is also at the same level.
In the graphics, you can check off which descriptions match your company.

This gives you a sense of where you are on the maturity scale. And you can also see which areas you can benefit from optimising.

We'll start with level 1 since we find most companies at this level.

Level 1 – Initiated (30% of all companies)

If your company is at level 1 on SPI Research’s maturity scale, it is characterised by ad hoc workflows.


SPI Research calls this level for the heroic level because success is often driven by a few individuals delivering an extraordinary performance – and not a well-oiled organisation.

The work environment is chaotic and opportunistic. It requires employees to take on numerous roles, and specialists have difficulty exploiting their core competencies.

You have different perceptions of best practices and quality across the company, which makes it difficult to provide a quote and deliver quality on time.

The IT landscape is very basic, based on Excel sheets, and your systems are not integrated at this level. Leaders, project managers, and financial controllers do not have insights into key figures for the company, and they regularly make decisions based on old data or gut feelings.


Level 2 – Piloted (25% of all companies)

At level 2, you start to incorporate work procedures for different functions across the company. In single areas, you have established best practice standards.


But neither processes nor best practices are documented and available to the rest of the organisation.

Within single departments or specialist teams, you can find operational excellence. But not across functions or the organisation.

More functions are digitalised but not integrated. At the same time, it diffcult to get an overview of key figures.


Level 3 – Deployed (25% of all companies)

This is the level most companies should strive for.

At level 3, standard processes and management principles are broadly anchored across your organisation.



At the leadership level, you have established targets and management mechanisms for finance and project delivery. You deliver projects efficiently, and you focus on aligning processes within and across organisational functions.

You now use standard methods and quality measurements in the project execution, which opens the options for creativity and overperformance. You become attractive to ambitious talents in the fight for the best employees.

Digitalisation and automation of project and resource management through a PSA system is in place, and you have deep insights into project execution and finances.



Level 4 – Institutionalised (15% of all companies)

At level 4, your company is an acute management, measurement and execution machine.


You have a Business Intelligence setup that allows you to measure important key figures, and Sales has a good CRM tool to forecast the future.

Within each performance pillar, you have worked out a detailed set of operational principle for execution, tools and measurements. These principles let you manage finances and quality stringently and with large transparency.

As organisation, you have established both quantitative and qualitative measurements for sales, customer retention and market penetration.

At level 4, you start to select your customers and projects, because you do not waste time on unprofitable businesses.


Level 5 – Optimised (5% of all companies)

If your company has reached level 5, you have definitely fought for it.

I want to congratulate you. The way to level 5 is hard, but the reward is matched, and in most metrics there are higher profits when you go from level 4 to 5 than from level 3 to 4.


When you reach this level, SPI Research characterises your company as a learning organisation.

This means that you have basic frameworks in place for management, measurement and execution. Now you have established targets for data collection and learnings from everything you do. Based on your data, you require constant revision, optimisation and innovation of your processes, which make you highly competitive.

At level 5, firefighting is history, because your organisation has become highly sensitive across teams that potential fires are put out before they start.

Finally, your digital landscape is fully integrated and standalone systems do not exist. Your PSA solution is completely integrated with your CRM and BI tools, and you have practically eliminated data gaps in your reporting.


Five tips to grow your maturity

If you would like to develop your company’s maturity level, it can be challenging to get started.

And five tips will not get you halfway or make you succeed. But they are pulled out of our internal work in TimeLog with optimising and making our organisation more mature.

I can tell you, we are in a good process, and I hope you can find inspiration in our experiences.

  • 1) Get the leadership team aboard
    It is crucial that your entire leadership team supports the idea. If half the team sit on the fence, it will be difficult for you to develop the teams across the organisation.

  • 2) Make a decision and see it as a serious investment
    It is a time demanding investment, and you must prioritise it over other tasks. You can’t expect to mature by running business as usual, and then develop when there is time for it. Cause there really never is - right?

  • 3) Get started fast
    There is no one right place in the company to start. Many companies develop in totally different ways. Often the focus is primarily on developing customer relations in young companies, where the more established companies have the energy to look more into fundamental processes. Go for the low-hanging fruits as much as you can.
  • 4) Don’t give up  adversity is normal
    It is normal that skeletons come out of the cupboard once you take a critical look at your work processes. And this is where it is important that you don’t close the cupboard again to prevent them from coming out. Then it will knock you over. Address what comes out and fix it, even if there is more than you expected.

  • 5) Pay attention to your success
    As you get a grip on more and more processes, it is important that you notice where you improve. It is especially important that the employees can see the success. Organisational development is challenging for them too. Find examples where you do a better job than before, and make sure to give words to them together.

We can support you in the digital part of your maturity journey

You may find it weird to read this article about maturity coming from a software company.

And maybe it is.

But through the work of implementing TimeLog for our customers, we have again and again seen how our customers move up on the maturity scale.

No IT system can improve an organisation’s work procedures alone. That is also true for TimeLog. But our PSA solution encourages a more well-considered approach to work processes supported by the system.

At the same time, the PSA solution provides your company with an architecture to link the work processes and enables you to optimise the entire organisation.

Especially if you run a consultancy business.

If you would like to know more, you are welcome to book a free 20 min. investigative conversation with one of our skilled consultants. Maybe we can help you move the maturity level of your company.

TimeLog and SPI Research’s Maturity Benchmark

Since 2017, TimeLog has cooperated with SPI Research to publish the early Professional Services Maturity Benchmark for the consultancy industry.

To our customers, TimeLog is often instrumental in a transformation towards higher maturity, and we, again and again, see how our customers develop – not only in size and revenue – but also in professionalism and maturity.

TimeLog releases the SPI benchmark and an Executive Summary with the most important key figures and takeaways from the benchmark.

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