Reporting: What does it all mean?

Data. The Service Desk creates a lot of it and, often, it’s undervalued. This could be down to how it’s generated, what metrics are used, how it’s presented or whether its meaning gets lost in translation.

It’s at this point we need to ask, “What are we measuring and why?” and “where’s the value?”

Used the right way, data can be used to improve the performance of the Service Desk, flag help predict future trends and even used in business intelligence, but a balance must be struck to ensure that quality metrics – that actually mean something to the business – are reported.

“When identifying core business metrics that will be monitored as a key performance indicator it’s vital that consideration is given to the business language barriers that often exist between the IT department and the rest of the organisation,” says Neil Penny, Product Director at Sunrise Software.

“MTTR and MTBF may well be well known ITIL related performance metrics employed by IT but these can mean nothing in the context of a business metric with people baffled by acronyms and arcane terminology.”

Creating accessible metrics that are live, visual and relevant can assist the Service Desk in making a greater contribution to the business. Tools such as dashboards, wallboards or the Service Desk Institute accredited Performance Results Reporting suite can help start the process of gathering data and improving visibility.

“Rolling such operational metrics up into more business related KPIs, all couched in the correct terminology, simplicity and accessibility, ensure that such a metric could be expressed as “% service availability” – something that can be understood by all.

“And don’t forget, if information is data put into context, then true knowledge is information applied to your business. If you don’t really need that metric, or do nothing with it, then don’t measure it. In the case of monitoring key performance indicators, less is often more.”