Metrics and Business Value

IT managers gather and distribute metrics that reflect their group’s performance on a regular and timely basis.  But outside of their immediate organizations do these metrics have any real meaning or impact? Do these measurements really define the value that IT is delivering?  Business executives shouldn’t have to work to see the positive impact of IT performance.  It should be made readily visible, in language they can grasp quickly and easily.  In many IT organizations there is a continued focus of their reporting towards the performance of the technology and not the value being delivered to the business.  This emphasis continues to create a gap between IT and the rest of the organization. (1)

What metrics do you employ?  Service metrics, measuring the end to end performance of your services, based on your technology metrics.   Technology metrics, performance of your components and applications. Are they available when needed? Do you have the correct levels of capacity to meet dynamic demand?  What best practice processes do you engage and how are they measured?

Many of the organizations I have visited do these things, but stop short of having a strong overarching vision about what they want their technologies to accomplish and what the business value and benefit should be.  There is a lack of coordination among the many silos that make up the IT organization and what services should be rendered to their customers.  Many even operate without even giving much thought to “what value are we generating for our organizations. 

So I take us back to the “Continual Service Improvement” approach:

  • What is the vision?  Ensure business and IT strategic alignment.  An overarching vision of how our technology generates business value in measurable ways the business can understand.
  • Where are we now?  Do we have strong governance strategically, tactically and operationally to ensure are efforts are well coordinated across all of our silos?
  • Where do we want to be?  Have we identified areas where vision and alignment aren’t what they should be and defined plans and activities for improvement?
  • How do we get there?  Implementation of prioritized plans and activities to build strong digital skills and culture.
  • Did we get there?  Use of appropriate measures defined by both business and IT to validate our course of action and verify results of business outcomes.
  • How do we keep the momentum going?  Continued diligence in ensuring that our technology continues to generate business value.

1 The Real Business of IT – Richard Hunter, George Westerman

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