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We do a great job. Our dashboard is a sea of green... Really?

Use the wrong metrics and do the wrong thing faster

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A Forrester-client inquiry call and the creation of some slides for a webinar with Axios really got me thinking about how we measure our success in IT. It just seemed so easy to take the IT version of success (and the associated measures) and create a snide customer retort. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek but please take a read of one of my Axios slides:

I'm sure there are many more to play with.

If you read my blogs on a regular basis you will have seen:

But I need to bring the topic up again.

Common ITSM metrics - help or hindrance?
Don’t get me wrong. Organisations such as HDI do a great job in providing benchmarks across common metrics. I use them regularly and Forrester clients want to receive them. Benchmarks are like gold dust in IT.
What worries me though is that:


  • Organisations might just follow best practice and blindly adopt the common ITSM or IT metrics.

  • We continue to see metrics as a score to beat rather than a pulse to take and the right medicine taken as needed.

  • Benchmarks are often not a case of comparing apples with apples. Are we kidding ourselves that we are better than the average bear? Or are we chastising ourselves over a level of capability we can never reach?

  • My challenge to you …

Did you hear that? It was my gauntlet hitting the floor.

Please take a look at your metrics or KPIs and do two things:

  • Ask yourself what each metric really means and what your customers would make of it (as per the above).
  • Look for where you have used that metric as a launch-pad for improvement, i.e. that you are not viewing metrics as the final output but rather as an input into something else, such as business conversations about services or improvement activity.
  • I’d be interested in what you see and think.
Finally, if you want to tune into the Axios webinar on “Using ITSM to increase business user satisfaction and the perception of IT” the sign up is here. And don’t forget the wise words of Ivor McFarlane of IBM: “If we use the wrong metrics, do we not get better at the wrong things?”

Posted by Stephen Mann

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