While attending the ITSMF conference in Norway on 3-5 March 2015, I had the opportunity to listen to the key note, Rae Ann Bruno. While her entire presentation was fascinating, she really got to me when she talked about the real business purpose of the IT-department, especially the gap between what they report to the business and what is useful information.
Is this familiar within your IT-department?
IT-departments usually report a lot of metrics, such as network and systems uptime, IT man hours spent on projects, first contact resolution (FCR), mean time to resolution and many more. But are these metrics useful? Do these numbers really show the value to the organization? Are these reports truly promoting the value of services or the quality of the customer experience?
Ray Ann talked about the importance of not showing metrics that are focused on IT, but instead shifting to those that are of importance to the business. After all, IT is all about making sure people can work, not just technology.
Start asking the business questions
So, where do you start? What does the business want to know? You can begin by asking your stakeholders what information they need, and by asking your customers how you can make their job easier. Find out how your services save them time, and ask where the efficiencies are, as well as areas for improvement. Look at job rotation is an opportunity to learn more about the customer’s situation and ask business management how you can support their overall goals and strategies, such as sales and cost savings. Finally, make sure you benchmark the metrics, and also reach out to get ideas from other IT-departments.
Show business value
The next step is to review what reports you have today, focusing on the ones that meet the business needs. Those are ones you can start promoting today, while you build out the reports you need to add in order to fill in the gaps. Show trends and what is getting better, while acknowledging there are still areas of improvement, and what you are doing to address them. Talk about issues you have minimized: In customer terms, show how much you have reduced business disruptions. Don’t forget, the metrics should evolve and change as you and the IT department mature. Some examples are:
- Cite specific business projects and tasks that your team facilitates completing?
- Quantify the amount of time your team has helped the business save?
- Measure productivity gains facilitated by your team?
- Show cost savings or an increase in profits or customer retention?
IT gets more fun
When business value is shown, IT becomes more fun. The business will see and value the good work coming from IT, and complaints will go down (even though there are things that are still not working perfectly). The IT department will not only see the great metrics, but will also feel the success and will not have to work long hours by making the business happy. The result is IT and the business, working together towards the same goal.
Do you recognize these challenges, about the gap between what IT reports to the business and what the business really want to know? Please make your comment.
If you want some additional reading, I recommend downloading the white paper Resolve more support cases with a clear self-service strategy.
Therese Walve, Marketing Manager, ComAround