You’ve probably heard the old adage that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” While the saying is technically true, it can be misconstrued, especially in IT.
IT has no shortage of measurable tasks. Most IT organizations have been using the same metrics for decades. KPIs like cost per ticket, ticket close time, user self-service completion rate and technician resolution are popular metrics that many CIOs use to determine the success of their IT organization.
But do those rates tell the real story of what’s happening in IT? I’m going to argue that they do not. In order to succeed in the digital age, CIOs must identify new ways to measure success.
The Problem with the “Old Way”
IT is no longer just a support team. Now IT plays a critical role in delivering services to end-users (read “customers of the business”) and can be a driver of business growth within the organization.
Old metrics simply will not measure success in the digital world. Look at the examples of common IT metrics that I listed above: cost per ticket, ticket close time, user self-service completion rate and technician resolution. These are not bad metrics and there is value in measuring them but they certainly don’t give a holistic view of how IT is contributing to the business.
An IT organization could hit every one of those example metrics but still be seen as a cost center instead of a contributor.
While CIOs understand the importance of these metrics, business leaders like the CEO and the CFO may not understand the importance of them. It’s the CIO’s job to use these metrics to point to the bigger picture and demonstrate how those metrics increase business value.
IT metrics need to also tell the whole story, from historical data and into the future. Business leaders should be able to look at IT metrics and understand where the organization has been and what direction it must take to move forward.
Metrics in the Age of Digital Transformation
Metrics in the age of digital transformation can be summed up in one sentence:
Metrics should connect to end-users and the business.
This appears to be a struggle for many organizations. A Gartner study found that only 31% of organizations have IT metrics in place to improve business operations.
If you cannot connect a metric to the end-user, you will struggle to demonstrate business value. This often requires the CIO to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of the business so that they have an understanding of the entire business model.
Metrics should also lead to definable actions – and those actions may touch several different areas of the business. This is important to note because it is going to move IT organizations away from having a silo mentality. IT touches almost every part of the business. CIOs need to collaborate with other areas of the business to determine where IT plays a role and how IT can provide the necessary resources to produce results.
Once you begin working with other parts of the business to identify where IT drives business value, you can then begin to build actionable process and systems and identifying key metrics for success within each one.
The Future of Measuring IT Success
IT metrics shouldn’t just measure technology performance. They should:
- Track and trend performance over time
- Diagnose and understand the underlying drivers of performance gaps
- Prescribe actions to improve performance
- Establish performance goals for both technicians and IT support overall
Every organization will have unique metrics but there are some starting points you can use to determine your initial metrics to ensure you’re properly measuring IT success in the digital age.
1. Cost and revenue indicators
Digital transformation is changing operational costs and customer acquisition costs. As technology evolves, pay attention to where those costs are, what can potentially be reduced, and where new business models or revenue streams are generated through leveraging technology.
IT is often seen as a cost center because of the constant need for tools and technology. It’s important to measure utilization of these different tools and the impact of IT tools on business goals.
3. User experience
Are the other employees in the organization engaged with the tools and processes you have made available to them? What is the general level of productivity and business efficiency in the organization? If the users are enjoying a seamless experience and are able to identify productivity in their jobs because of the tools, technology and processes you have defined then you are able to IT’s role in business growth.
4. Customer experience
Finally, in the digital age, IT has a critically important role in providing the overall customer experience. IT can support the business in projects that improve the customer experience. CIOs need to inquire on how each project they play a role is impacting or enabling the right customer experience.
Pay attention to these four areas as you address new projects. If you begin to align your projects to support these areas, you will be able to identify relevant metrics that align with business success.
The Future is Here
The future of IT is already here. The bots have arrived, customer’s expectations have shifted, and the way we work has changed. So it’s time for your measures of success to do the same. If you are leading an IT organization, work with your peers to take a holistic view of business so you can begin to shift your IT metrics to reflect the success of the organization.Share