Technology and how we use it to achieve business goals and objectives is constantly changing. However, the majority of IT service providers are still tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) that are outdated.
Measuring the success of IT on things like up time, meeting SLAs, targets of 99.99% availability and number of tickets resolved, while still important to track internally, aren’t necessarily relevant to C-suite goals.
99.99% uptime, often marketed as a unique selling point for most IT companies, isn’t a marker of success in this day and age, it’s just what’s expected. Adam Tallinger, vice president at healthcare IT consulting company Impact Advisors says, “You don’t necessarily cheer your plumber every time water comes out of the faucet. You for sure will call if you turn on the tap and it doesn’t come out.”
Uptime can be very useful, but only if tied to a result of the business. Availability is, of course, very important, but what people care about is how it impacts SLAs, or customer satisfaction when relating to website downtime for example.
Likewise, a lot of IT services companies take the perspective on a project’s budget and schedule adherence as the sole measure of it’s success. The issue here is that this view gives no insight into whether or not the completion of the project caused any business benefit.
Brent Rasmussen, CIO of Carrington Mortgage Holdings, says the business doesn’t fully benefit from an IT project until it has been fully adopted, business processes have changed, and it’s measurable and transparent.
He views staying within budget, like uptime, as “table stakes” for IT and says all your IT infrastructure layer needs to run all the time while being scalable and dependable so as not to impede the business.
So if these metrics and KPIs no longer prove the success of IT, what exactly should we be measuring as IT leaders? This will likely be different depending on what’s important to the specific business, which not only varies from company to company, but will also vary over time within the same organisation.
Organisational goals always change over time. One year the business’ primary goal is rapid expansion, the next year it could be profit maximisation followed by brand building. The only real way to decide on the relevant KPIs that IT should measure is to talk with business leaders and users about what matters to them.
How to discover what businesses really need
User satisfaction is a metric that business leaders consider vitally important. Often times IT organisations will send out a mass survey with little preparation to users asking for support to gauge satisfaction.
Adam Tallinger, vice president at healthcare IT consulting company Impact Advisors says this is a mistake as it’s “too much data, too much variability among the people you’re contacting at a specific point in time.”
He suggests, instead of sending out a blanket survey, to build relationships with organisational and departmental leaders and discuss with them ahead of time how we’re going to measure ourselves in the future. This allows them to give direct feedback, as well as prepares them for your survey in the future after a relationship is formed.
“Why” your way to more insight
The biggest issues tend to arise when business leaders don’t openly communicate the organisation’s specific goals and objectives to the IT service provider.
For example, a business leader might only convey to IT that external customer user experience needs improvement. The reason behind the emphasis on customer experience might be that the business is attempting to increase its customer base, but frustrated customers tend to leave which causes churn—this isn’t always shared with IT.
The new approach requires digging deeper and asking why this matters, often multiple times to find the real business reason.
You care about availability—why?
Because users are happier
Why does that matter to the bussines?
When they’re happier they spend more time on site and make more purchases.
Having a deeper level of understanding of the goals and motivations behind business decisions can often lead to a better way to achieve specific business goals with IT.
Tying metrics to business results
Brent Rasmussen, CIO of Carrington Mortgage Holdings, spends time with clients and departments one on one to determine what projects IT will do for them, along with projected benefits to result from the projects.
This helps IT services to track the relevant time and resources spent on projects to maintain budgets. The new approach to IT partnership also determines whether the desired business results are achieved.
Through bench-marking previous projects we’re able to look at new solutions against baseline metrics to track effectiveness.
Choosing the right KPIs are important and IT leaders are ready to take their place as partners to business leaders to help guide their organisations into successful and secure digital futures.
If you’re serious about driving business growth and improving organisational productivity, talk with us today about how a partnership with eStorm can benefit your business.
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