A metric is a unit of measurement. In project management, for example, metrics are used to track progress based on goals or critical success factors. In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about IT metrics and why they are so important.
Keep reading to discover what standard IT metrics are, how to choose your IT metrics, best practices for choosing, and potential challenges when working with them. Stay tuned until the end to discover a project management tool you can use to define, monitor, and analyze your IT metrics.
What are the standard IT metrics?
Standard IT metrics are the quantifiable values used by IT industry leaders to measure the value of technology, productivity, and output to the business. They help them manage the business of IT PMO and demonstrate how technology can improve the bottom line. Here are the must-know terms:
Time to resolve
SLA breach rate
SLA stands for Service Level Agreement and a breach refers to a break in that agreement. The SLA breach rate defines the total monetary fee for violating the contract terms.
The user satisfaction score is a widely-employed metric that measures how much respondents do or do not enjoy a product or service. The survey asks respondents to rate the level and typically uses a small scale such as 1-10, with higher numbers meaning more satisfaction and lower numbers meaning less satisfaction.
Cost per contact
The cost per contact is the sum of all costs involved in running a contact center. It is often divided by the number of contacts that were handled.
Service availability is the percent measurement of how accessible a service is during the time when you promised to keep it. It typically refers to digital products and software.
Incident counts are the number of reports made to the service desk regarding issues with the product.
Downtime refers to the total amount of time a product is not available to users for events such as scheduled maintenance or security threats.
How to choose IT metrics
As you can see, there are a lot of IT metrics to choose between. Like with any professional services management project, the key is to make sure that the metrics you choose are aligned with your goals.
There are two main categories of metrics: service and operations.
- IT service metrics: IT service metrics are the process of applying knowledge and expertise to enable organizations to improve their operations. They often provide resolutions for issues that users experience when using the product.
- IT operations metrics: The mission of the IT operations department is to provide the necessary tools and services to enable organizations to manage their hardware and software. This includes the development and deployment of software and hardware solutions.
Best practices for choosing your IT metrics
If our goal is to achieve a specific outcome, then choosing IT metrics that help us evaluate how well we're executing our strategy makes sense. However, many metrics are neglected simply because they don't match the goals of the product or the organization.
In order to choose your IT metrics, you’ll need to start by learning more about which ones correspond with your next big project management goal. From there, you’ll want to narrow down your top choices to only the IT metrics that directly tie back into your benchmarks.
It’s also good to think about how the IT metrics you’ve chosen may affect how your team works. In general, choosing IT metrics may motivate employees to work faster. Known as the observer effect, simply seeing how they are being measured in real time will increase the speed of their output.
But when it comes to influencing behavior, you may find that a particular set of IT metrics will push your team in a direction you don’t want them to go in. So make sure to consider the real-world impact these goalposts will have on your unique team.
The challenges of choosing IT metrics
Hyperfocus on metrics
When choosing IT metrics, we should be aware that we are not adding more goals on top of those we already have. Instead, IT metrics serve as a tool to quantify progress made toward the PMO’s goal. They are not goals in and of themselves, even if we plan to improve their numbers. Focusing too much on the IT metric progress may actually waste resources in the long run.
Lack of balance
As Bill Graff, SVP & CIO, Cerner Corporation, told The Enterprisers Project, managers will have to strike a balance between internal and external IT metrics.
“To show IT’s real value to the organization, you need two sets of metrics,” shared Graff.
“One internal-facing set focused on how you run your business on a day-to-day basis. This should include metrics such as turnaround time on support tickets, vulnerability remediation, budget adherence, and uptime/availability. The other set of metrics is external-facing. These metrics describe how the consumers are using your services, their satisfaction, and how they add to the company’s bottom line.”
Overly complex management
Another one of the challenges of choosing IT metrics is complexity. The complexity of an organization’s adaptive systems makes it hard to determine which metrics are right for you. Most of the time, they cannot measure cause-and-effect behavior.
Yes, it’s easy to create dashboards with metrics. But applying too many at one time will increase the complexity of our system and make our dashboards less useful.
Using Wrike as an ITSM solution
A good IT service management tool such as Wrike provides high quality and timely planning, reporting, and monitoring. All of this combined enables other teams and individuals to perform their jobs more effectively.
Wrike’s tailormade ITSM template is the most commonly used framework to provide a base configuration and a sample data set. But it also provides support for Agile teamwork, project management performance monitoring, and complex projects with phases.
You can use Wrike's predefined folder structure to create a hierarchy that takes into account what your team does and what type of work they deal with each day.
Wrike also lets you keep track of all your tickets and IT project management issues and review all of your progress reports. These reports combine with visual dashboards that detail all of your team’s work alongside your chosen IT metrics so you can compare progress against these data points.
Not to mention that you can seamlessly manage multiple open projects and requests in one centralized location.