Nine business value metrics that can help you on the journey to provide more meaningful and valuable metrics to your business.
We are used to providing metrics but often do not produce metrics that are helpful to our business. Time and time again we produce internal metrics that help us measure our own productivity and somehow we expect the business to understand and care about these metrics. In reality though, they rarely understand them let alone care about them, mainly because they do not help the business achieve their goals.
So, what can we do differently to help us provide better metrics to the business? We hear a lot about business value metrics but often do not know where to start. I previously wrote in “3 Words to Better IT and Service Desk Metrics” about an approach to speaking to the business to gain what metrics they wanted to see.
One of the problems with talking to the business to ask what metrics they would like to see, is that they often do not know where to begin. Therefore, to help you get the conversation going and come up the best measures for you, I have listed nine metrics to help.
Lost IT service hours
Reporting on the number of hours lost by the service type can be a great help to IT in pinpointing failing services and understanding where they need to focus their attention and resources. It can help IT highlight to the business where investment may be needed.
Lost business hours
Reporting on the number of hours that the business has lost as a result of IT service failures is extremely powerful. First and foremost, you can see the amount of time that the users of IT are affected and it helps the business determine the loss of productivity, inability to serve it’s customers and the potential cost. It can also reinforce any messages highlighted in lost IT service hours and may help IT secure investment if the business is losing money as a result of their IT services.
Business impact of IT problems
Problems are often issues with the technology that we either do not know what the underlying cause is or we do know what the cause is but do not know how to fix it or will need investment to fix it. Therefore, the ability to understand what the impact to the business of each and every problem is essential. It will enable you to determine what the business should do next to eradicate the problem. It could be as simple as a small upgrade or it could be a major technology refresh if the impact of the current problem is too great.
Business impact of IT changes
Changes that go without a hitch are brilliant as they help you improve your IT and get rid of those troublesome problems. However, those failed changes are the ones that cause us the real difficulties. You know the one – you come in Monday after some bright tech has made a change that nobody know about, let alone approved. You spend half a day dealing with unhappy customers, firefighting and trying to reverse the change.
These happen far too often and need to be eradicated.
Reporting on these can really help the business understand what the real impact to them is. It also helps IT understand how bad practices such as a lack of change management can have on it’s users.
It can be a driving force in changing behaviours.
This is very important in measuring how the IT teams are performing against agreed targets. Service level agreements will have been put in place between the business and you to ensure that you meet certain targets. Therefore, you better be reporting on them so the business knows how you are doing.
Risk of missing SLA targets
What are the risks of missing SLA targets? If you have agreed to a certain level of availability, do you get financial penalties as a result of a reduced service? Consider what the risk of not meeting your agreed targets are so you can plan to mitigate the risk.
You’ve got to find out whether your customers are satisfied with the service you provide. Your customers may be internal staff or external companies, but one way or another they can affect whether or not you will be around long term to provide your services.
Use a number of means to gather their feedback, report on the findings and take action to improve.
How we’ve improved
Report back to the business on how you have improved. Tell them about what wasn’t going well and how you’ve resolved this for them. Put on your marketing hat to make sure they realise how important you have been in helping them do business and achieve its goals.
Whatever the business asks for or feels is important to it!!
Because you are there to serve the business and they pay the bills, then if they ask for something to be reported on then you should do it. Obviously, try to understand what it is and why they need, even offer alternatives if you think you can but ultimately give them what they need to help them succeed.
These are no way the most conclusive list of measure to report and may not be useful to you or your business because every organisation if different and has different goals. I do hope they prove useful as a starting point for you to produce better and more meaningful metrics. So, go back to your business contacts and start talking to them about what they want to see that will help them achieve their goals.