Top tips for using metrics

Finding your way through a maze of service management metrics can be a real struggle. Only a cursory search on a popular search engine will bombard you with hundreds of potential Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you should monitor on varying degrees of frequency. KPIs for big companies and small companies, customer service and IT support KPIs, staff performance and service level performance, availability vs down-time, and on and on. But how do you know with any certainty which are the ones you should focus on, and which are superfluous window-dressing. Here are my top tips for getting the most from your metrics.

1. Work out what’s important

This may sound obvious but it’s amazing how many people start with a Google search and then take at face value these as the performance indicators they should be tracking. Sure it’s good for inspiration but how do you know whether it’s important to your business? Take some time to analyse your needs. Remember, if you wouldn’t take any action from it then don’t measure it.

2. Know your audience

When thinking about your KPIs it’s best to understand what your audience wants. Do they need detail or would an overview suffice? Do they need stats daily or would monthly be more appropriate. Is it better to email a prepared report or publicly display the KPIs permanently? Understanding your audience will answer all of these questions, so go and speak to them.

3. Start simple and expand over-time

There’s really no need to overdose on KPIs. Just because you can measure it doesn’t mean you should. Try to avoid agonising over a KPI or the best way to measure or display it. There’ll be time to review and implement changes over-time, so in the interests of just getting started – less is definitely more.

4. Identify your sources

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll have the source of all of your KPIs in a single data source, so you’ll need to spend some time identifying where they all are, how you’ll gain access to them, and what data format their output will reach you in. Try to automate this part as much as possible – you definitely don’t want to spend days every month hunting down the latest data manually.

5. Gain agreement and management buy-in

Before you publish it’s best to gain management agreement and buy-in to the process. Publishing your KPIs can initially be quite revealing and it’s important to understand how the results will be interpreted and used. If it’s as a stick then best get a hard hat. If they’re the basis of continual operational improvement then get ready to be busy.

6. Share your findings

There are a lot of options for sharing. You could produce reports, email them round once a month, provide a dashboard, or even publicise them on a screen above the service desk for all to see. Once you know your audience you can work out which is best for you. Oh, and once you start measuring then make sure you stick to your timescales. There’s nothing worse than out-of-date information, missing reports, and lack of updates.

7. Review and change

Nothing stays the same and that’s definitely true for the KPIs that you measure. Make sure you provide review cycles to identify those KPIs that aren’t providing value, those that need tweaking, or even those that are missing. Even look at new ways of communicating them. You’ll be amazed at how your KPIs will develop and mature over-time.

At Sunrise, we set great store by KPIs – we live and breathe our individual and company performance metrics – and we want to provide organisations with the ability to do the same for their Service Desks. A simple ability to build, share and monitor whatever KPIs that you choose are important to you and your organisation.

Earlier this month we launched version 3.0 of Sunrise Wallboard. The latest version improves on usability, provides ever more visualisations for your KPIs, with ever more options. Wallboard brings together multiple data sources and allows you to publish your KPIs within a single portal that can easily be shared with others, giving you more flexibility in how you communicate your performance metrics and more visibility over the important things to aid in your journey for service improvements.

So whether you choose to publish metrics that are all your own work, or are inspired by those published by the Service Desk Institute (SDI), Performance Results Reports that make up your SDI Certification evidence pack, we really don’t mind. Take inspiration wherever you can, but make sure the metrics you choose to benchmark yourself by are both relevant and actionable.

Written by: Neil Penny, Product Director