ITSM Data and Metrics – Make Them Matter

I’ve often heard Cherwell’s CEO Vance Brown discuss how data should be collected and used to make right, or what Vance has coined RITE decisions. It’s not about collecting data for data sake but about collecting data and metrics that are:

– Relevant to the mission, strategies and objectives of the organisation
– Integrated across all departments and geographic locations
– Timely, so issues can be addressed and resolved before they become crises; and
– Efficient, so that with the mounds of data, organisations can ‘manage by exception’ and the automated best business processes can be enforced.

So, how do you achieve this? What data should be collect? How much data is needed? What metrics should be measured? How do we report on data and metrics?

Start at the very beginning. Metrics form a vital component of any Service Desk and the delivery of Service Management. The measurement of performance provides a tangible way for Service Desks to understand the quality, relevance and value of the service being delivered.  The SDI’s Service Desk Standards advocate that there are 30 metrics that should be measured by every Service Desk. You can find a listing of these metrics (with explanations of each) within our whitepaper Making Metrics Matter.

Metrics – how are you benefitting the business?

Metrics have traditionally focused on how well the Service Desk is performing, but how is the service benefitting the business? Business value metrics focus upon what the Service Desk and Service Management is delivering for the business and offer a much fuller picture of how the service ‘feels’ for customers. Perhaps even more important than that, the measurement of business value from the Service Desk and Service Management links directly back to business objectives and goals. These metrics place IT’s performance and relevance to the business front and centre.

Here are some examples that could be considered:

– Lost IT Service Hours: How long IT services were unavailable to the business thereby impacting business objectives and goals
– Lost Business Hours:  Different areas of the business have different levels of importance and can be affected to a greater or lesser degree by IT failure
– Risk of Missing SLA Targets: This allows the business to prepare for the potential of missed targets and plan accordingly. If SLAs are going to be missed because of change, this can be explained to the business. By being proactive and communicating, a Service Desk can strengthen its relationship with the business.

Business metrics should be comprised of any measures that are beneficial to the business and provide clarity on performance and value. In addition to linking performance to business objectives, ask what other information the business need? Communicating performance in terms relevant and meaningful is incredibly beneficial in building a bond between the business and the Service Desk.

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