Here’s How to Make Your ITSM and IT Support Metrics Work Better

Make Your ITSM and IT Support Metrics Work Better
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Many organizations struggle with metrics, reporting and analytics, and ultimately demonstrating the value created by IT service management (ITSM). If your organization is using various service management best practices including continual improvement (or continual service improvement (CSI) as it was prior to ITIL 4), then metrics are essential to its ongoing success and improvement. In particular, to demonstrate the value of our services and to help make informed decisions about how to improve them.

However, too often much resources and time are wasted on reporting packs that few read or understand, and which are seen to deliver little value. So, what’s the issue?

There’s too much of an internal focus

This is where IT organizations report on what they do, rather than on how what they do delivers value to their customers. So, the focus is on IT operations and technology and not on its results and outcomes – for instance, first contact resolution, mean time to resolution (MTTR), and availability. While these metrics are valuable in our own understanding of performance, they don’t explain to customers what has been done for them.

Have your metrics got too much of an internal focus? Here @Joe_the_IT_Guy shares some simple suggestions to make your #ITSM and #ITsupport metrics work better for you and your customers. Click To Tweet

SLAs are seen as the adjudicator of performance success

Service level agreements (SLAs) are useful as targets for some aspects of IT service delivery, but not all. And a green SLA doesn’t always equate to happy customers. This is likely dependent on involvement in terms of how the SLAs were set and agreed upon, and by whom. The bottom line is: Are these SLAs relevant to the business and key stakeholders? Often this question can’t be answered in the affirmative, which seriously impacts on the value of the SLAs and reports.

IT organizations are happy to be spoon-fed metrics

Sadly, IT organizations tend to use the ITIL best practice guidance and their ITSM tools as props, which they then expect to deliver them everything they need – including metrics. Instead, they need to actually discover what their organization’s requirements are.

Nothing is done with the performance metrics

Here organizations simply churn out reports that don’t, in turn, generate actions. It’s just a number generating exercise. Instead, it’s vital to actually use the employed metrics – and results – to make decisions, ask more questions, and initiate activities and projects that actually deliver positive results.

Are your SLAs simply seen as the adjudicator of performance success? Then you need to read these simple suggestions to make your #ITSM and #ITsupport metrics work better for you and your customers. Click To Tweet

What should you do about the above and other IT support metrics issues?

Here are some simple suggestions to make your ITSM and IT support metrics work better for you and your customers:

  1. Be clear about business expectations and desired outcomes. Talk to your customers about what’s important to them. Then work out what you can measure and improve on. It’s the process of engagement that’s most important here because you’ll develop some common objectives and understanding that will allow you to refocus your reporting. Remember that the goal here is to find what’s useful to measure that will matter to customers, not to IT.
  2. Think in service terms and bundles of metrics. Operational metrics on their own are useful but they’re only building blocks for the bigger “bundle” of value-based measurements that will be useful to the customer.
  3. Think about your audience. Then the presentation of your metrics is super important because no one will read a 200-page report, or perhaps not even a 5-page report. You must present what’s important in summary – with an eye of the audience, which might differ – and employee attention-grabbing formats as much as possible. For example, think summary (1 page), targeted information (don’t give people the task of finding the results they’re interested in), and use graphics and color as much as possible.
  4. Do something positive with the results.  If nothing is happening, then maybe your metrics aren’t of value (or not appropriately presented). However, you also need to have a process in place to review and act based on the results. Ultimately, metrics and reporting should be the key to unlocking quality and value from your ITSM activities.

If you’re interested in reading more detail about defining ITSM and IT support metrics, then I highly recommend the following blogs by my good friend Stuart Rance:

I’m pretty certain that you’ll find them helpful.

If your organization has found the winning recipe for ITSM and IT support metrics, and you can offer up additional tips to others, then please let me (and them) know in the comments.

Joe The IT Guy is a native New Yorker who loves everything connected to IT service management (ITSM). He's a passionate blogger and twitter addict, and is also the resident IT guy at SysAid Technologies.

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