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Three Steps to Improve Your IT Service Metrics

The services that IT teams provide to their colleagues can be measured in incredibly precise ways, which can be both a blessing and a curse. It means that, in some cases, it is easy to compare the cost of one IT investment with another but often it can also mean that everything gets measured in the same way and to the nth degree.

The default approach to managing IT’s services, as summed up by one member of CEB’s network of IT professionals, is to “just find something to measure or track what we can, which takes us down the path of one-size-fits all, traditional metrics like five-9s.” Five-9s refers to the target of making a service available 99.999% of the time.

Three Steps

While such precision is an impressive way to understand whether a firm is getting value for money it doesn’t need to be applied to all services that IT provides.

Leading IT teams thoughtfully select different metrics for different services. The team at one consumer products company in CEB’s network selects metrics that the users of the service would expect, for example, prioritizing user experience for high touch services or “experience-based” measures for end-user services.

This then allows them to work closely with business partners to understand where they should prioritize their limited budget on improving certain services and maintaining others.

There are three key to establishing service measurement based on end user needs.

  1. Identify services where user experience is of higher importance: Not all services are candidates for this approach. The first step is to pick services where end user experience has a disproportionate impact on service value, like a collaboration service.Services that do not directly effect the user will not benefit from this approach. Once these services have been identified, the next step is to figure out the important aspects to consumers so they can be measured.
  2. Identify the key aspects of a service: Perhaps the most important step is to accurately identify the most important interaction points between the user and the service – or “moments of truth” – that define what the user finds valuable about the service. Once these have been found, IT teams should identify the key elements of those moments.For example, for requests to have access to a certain service (an online procurement portal, say), elements like simple intuitive access, pre-loaded profile description, have a big effect on the user experience.  For each of these elements, evaluate the importance and satisfaction to help with prioritizing investments.
  3. Measure to identify investment opportunities: It should go without saying that not all aspects of a service deemed important by end users should be given equal importance when making investment decisions. IT teams should make sure they understand the level of satisfaction consumers derive from those aspects.

There’s probably no need to ensure a service “delights” its consumers, as long as it satisfies them. If it creates dissatisfaction that is a good reason for making some investments to improve the service. This kind of triage process should direct and prioritize service investments.

CEB is a best practice insight and technology company. Read more CEB blogs here.

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