3 Ways to Measure Success with ITSM Tools

Posted by on November 09, 2018


To achieve real improvement, you have to set measurable goals. Think of the show The Biggest Loser. One of the most important moments is when a contestant steps up on the scale for the first time in order to set a baseline for what they hope to accomplish by the end. Throughout the competition, that contestant is weighed and measured multiple time, enabling them to set benchmarks for their own improvement.

Whether you are the director of your IT organization or a service desk technician, you know the importance of goal setting. You've probably talked about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals within your own organization. For this post, I'd like to focus on the M in S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Measurable. If you want to meet your goals, you must ensure you're measuring the right benchmarks. But, how do you know which metrics matter most?

Tweet this: Goal setting in IT is crucial. Here are 3 ways to measure success with ITSM tools

This is where your IT service management tool can really come in handy, provided you have a tool that lets you measure what matters to you. See, there are thousands of metrics and many legacy solutions boast an extraordinary ability to measure each and every one of them. Here's the secret, though: There is no definitive guide to what metrics your organization should measure, because every IT organization will have a different strategy when it comes to supporting their business. 

Most IT organizations don't understand what to measure. You might look at best practice research (i.e. HDI) and measure what they recommend. Sure, these metrics might be easy to capture and easy to benchmark performance against other organizations. The problem is those metrics don't properly demonstrate IT's value to the business. This gap requires IT to translate their statistics to the business leaders, who could care less about them. 

Let's look at an example. Say you're the IT director for Starbucks and you want to measure First Contact Resolution (FCR), as it is often a key performance indicator. How does high FCR help Starbucks sell more coffee? How does low FCR inhibit Starbucks from selling more coffee? Do we have any data that correlates FCR to corporate performance? 

The answer is no. That type of report won't be built into your ITSM tool. Still, this is vital information you need to help improve business performance, so you're stuck. You'll either try to build it yourself or you'll say your ITSM tool can't give you the reports you really need. 

Tweet this: Does your ITSM tool give you the reporting you need to measure your success?

I have good news for you, IT Director for Starbucks, and I won't even make you give me free coffee for life in exchange for the solution. Here's my advice on the metrics that matter most and how to actually measure them.

1. Understand how your IT organization adds value to the business. Determine the goals and objectives of the IT organization and work down to identify the key performance indicators and metrics that support those. If a current metric can't be tied back to business performance, stop measuring it.

2. Report to the right people. You must understand who you are communicating what metrics to, and when. Metrics you report UP are to business leaders and executives. Metrics you report DOWN are for day-to-day operations. If you mix those up, you're wasting time and failing to effectively demonstrate the value of IT to business leaders. Additionally, be sure to use multi-dimensional performance metrics. Looking at one metric without understanding its impact on another can lead to poor decision support. 

3. Stop reporting. Start dashboarding. Reports are static. Dashboards are dynamic and provide context of what you're doing against what you should be doing. Plus, the best ITSM tools have dashboards that update in real time, so you always know where you stand. 

Understanding what metrics matter and how to get the right measurements could be the difference between winning the competition or ending up back at home with nothing to show for your efforts. The choice is yours.