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Develop Meaningful Service Metrics

Reinforce service orientation in your IT organization by ensuring your IT metrics generate value-driven resource behavior.

  • IT organizations measure services from a technology perspective but rarely from a business goal or outcome perspective.
  • Most organizations do a poor job of identifying and measuring service outcomes over the duration of a service’s lifecycle – never ensuring the services remain valuable and meet expected long-term ROI.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Service metrics are critical to ensuring alignment of IT service performance and business service value achievement.
  • Service metrics reinforce positive business and end-user relationships by providing user-centric information that drives responsiveness and consistent service improvement.
  • Poorly designed metrics drive unintended and unproductive behaviors that have negative impacts on IT and produce negative service outcomes.

Impact and Result

Effective service metrics will provide the following service gains:

  • Confirm service performance and identify gaps.
  • Drive service improvement to maximize service value.
  • Validate performance improvements while quantifying and demonstrating business value.
  • Ensure service reporting aligns with end-user experience.
  • Achieve and confirm process and regulatory compliance.

Which will translate into the following relationship gains:

  • Embed IT into business value achievement.
  • Improve the relationship between the business and IT.
  • Achieve higher customer satisfaction (happier end users receiving expected service, the business is able to identify how things are really performing).
  • Reinforce desirable actions and behaviors from both IT and the business.

Develop Meaningful Service Metrics Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should develop meaningful service metrics, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Design the metrics

Identify the appropriate service metrics based on stakeholder needs.

2. Design reports and dashboards

Present the right metrics in the most interesting and stakeholder-centric way possible.

3. Implement, track, and maintain

Run a pilot with a smaller sample of defined service metrics, then continuously validate your approach and make refinements to the processes.


Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this blueprint and what our clients have to say.

9.5/10


Overall Impact

$27,556


Average $ Saved

30


Average Days Saved

Client

Experience

Impact

$ Saved

Days Saved

City of Fairfield

Workshop

10/10

$64,999

47

Team learned about setting up outcome based Metrics and will be able to apply it to the daily operations.

Hunt Consolidated, Inc.

Workshop

10/10

$32,499

10

Paul's insights and facilitation was invaluable.

Arizona Department of Education

Guided Implementation

10/10

$64,999

23

National Arts Centre Canada

Guided Implementation

8/10

$2,000

5

Palm Beach State College

Guided Implementation

9/10

N/A

20

Government of Bermuda

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

No way to determine time or budget impact at this time. Too soon. Love the conversation and have good direction on where to start.

Altarum Institute

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

1

Shelby County Government

Workshop

10/10

N/A

120

The level of real-world valuable insight Valence, the facilitator, brought to the workshop had great value for the team overall. After this worksh... Read More

Dollar General

Guided Implementation

10/10

$2,519

50

Open Text Corporation

Guided Implementation

9/10

N/A

5

University of Ottawa

Workshop

8/10

$25,000

14

Best: Adequate time to do the work. being able to afford the time to dig deeper into the KPIs. Executive review at the end. Good management of doin... Read More

Tulane University

Guided Implementation

10/10

$14,259

50

Valence was very knowledgable and helpful. I'm pleased with the level of service.

Office of the Attorney General

Guided Implementation

10/10

$12,292

10

Best part: - The analyst used examples I'm familiar with (applications and databases, human body, etc.) so it was relatable and easier to underst... Read More

Allens Operations Pty Ltd.

Guided Implementation

8/10

N/A

N/A

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Guided Implementation

9/10

N/A

6

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Guided Implementation

10/10

$99,166

60

Best: Tony gaining understanding and validating our experience and position in developing a metric model. Framing how we can start to use the metr... Read More

Clark Pacific

Guided Implementation

9/10

$509K

N/A


Performance Measurement

Measure IT right and measure it well.
This course makes up part of the Strategy & Governance Certificate.

Now Playing:
Academy: Performance Measurement | Executive Brief

An active membership is required to access Info-Tech Academy
  • Course Modules: 4
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5-2 hours
  • Featured Analysts:
  • Gord Harrison, Senior Vice President, Research
  • Valence Howden, Principal Research Director, CIO Practice

Workshop: Develop Meaningful Service Metrics

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Design the Metrics

The Purpose

  • Define stakeholder needs for IT based on their success criteria and identify IT services that are tied to the delivery of business outcomes.
  • Derive meaningful service metrics based on identified IT services and validate that metrics can be collected and measured.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Design meaningful service metrics from stakeholder needs.
  • Validate that metrics can be collected and measured.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Determine stakeholder needs, goals, and pain points.

  • Understand stakeholder priorities
1.2

Determine the success criteria and related IT services.

  • Adopt a business-centric perspective to align IT and business views
1.3

Derive the service metrics.

  • Derive meaningful business metrics that are relevant to the stakeholders
1.4

Validate the data collection process.

  • Determine if and how the identified metrics can be collected and measured
1.5

Validate metrics with stakeholders.

  • Establish a feedback mechanism to have business stakeholders validate the meaningfulness of the metrics

Module 2: Design Reports and Dashboards

The Purpose

  • Determine the most appropriate presentation format based on stakeholder needs.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Ensure the metrics are presented in the most interesting and stakeholder-centric way possible to guarantee that they are read and used.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Understand the different presentation options.

  • Learn about infographic, scorecard, formal report, and dashboard presentation options
2.2

Assess stakeholder needs for information.

  • Determine how stakeholders would like to view information and how the metrics can be presented to aid decision making
2.3

Select and design the metric report.

  • Select the most appropriate presentation format and create a rough draft of how the report should look

Module 3: Implement, Track, and Maintain Your Metrics

The Purpose

  • Run a pilot with a smaller sample of defined service metrics to validate your approach.
  • Make refinements to the implementation and maintenance processes prior to activating all service metrics.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • High user acceptance and usability of the metrics.
  • Processes of identifying and presenting metrics are continuously validated and improved.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Select the pilot metrics.

  • Select the metrics that should be first implemented based on urgency and impact
  • Complete the service intake form for a specific initiative
3.2

Gather data and set initial targets.

  • Create a process to gather data, measure baselines, and set initial targets
3.3

Generate the reports and validate with stakeholders.

  • Establish a process to receive feedback from the business stakeholders once the report is generated
3.4

Implement the service metrics program.

  • Identify the approach to implement the metrics program across the organization
3.5

Track and maintain the metrics program.

  • Set up mechanism to ensure the success of the metrics program by assessing process adherence and process validity

Develop Meaningful Service Metrics

Select IT service metrics that drive business value.

ANALYST PERSPECTIVE

Are you measuring and reporting what the business needs to know?

“Service metrics are one of the key tools at IT’s disposal in articulating and ensuring its value to the business, yet metrics are rarely designed and used for that purpose.

Creating IT service metrics directly from business and stakeholder outcomes and goals, written from the business perspective and using business language, is critical to ensuring that the services that IT provides are meeting business needs.

The ability to measure, manage, and improve IT service performance in relation to critical business success factors, with properly designed metrics, embeds IT in the value chain of the business and ensures IT’s focus on where and how it enables business outcomes.”

Valence Howden,
Senior Manager, CIO Advisory
Info-Tech Research Group

Our understanding of the problem

This Research Is Designed For:
  • CIO
  • IT VPs
This Research Will Help You:
  • Align business/IT objectives (design top-down or outside-in)
  • Significantly improve the relationship between the business and IT aspects of the organization
  • Reinforce desirable actions and behaviors
This Research Will Also Assist:
  • Service Level Managers
  • Service Owners
  • Program Owners
This Research Will Help Them
  • Identify unusual deviations from the normal operating state
  • Drive service improvement to maximize service value
  • Validate the value of performance improvements while quantifying and demonstrating benefits realization

Executive summary

Situation

  • IT organizations measure services from a technology perspective yet rarely measure services from a business goal/outcome perspective.
  • Most organizations do a poor job of identifying and measuring service outcomes over the duration of a service’s lifecycle – never ensuring the services remain valuable and meet expected long-term ROI.

Complication

  • IT organizations have difficulty identifying the right metrics to demonstrate the value of IT services to the business in tangible terms.
  • IT metrics, as currently designed, reinforce division between the IT and business perspectives of service performance. They drive siloed thinking and finger-pointing within the IT structure, and prevent IT resources from understanding how their work impacts business value.

Resolution

  • Our program enables IT to develop the right service metrics to tie IT service performance to business value and user experience.
  • Ensure the metrics you implement have immediate stakeholder value, reinforcing alignment between IT and the business while influencing behavior in the desired direction.
  • Make sure that your metrics are defined in relation to the business goals and drivers, ensuring they will provide actionable outcomes.

Info-Tech Insight

  1. Service metrics are critical to ensuring alignment of IT service performance and business service value achievement.
  2. Service metrics reinforce positive business and end-user relationships by providing user-centric information that drives responsiveness and consistent service improvement.
  3. Poorly designed metrics drive unintended and unproductive behaviors, which have negative impacts on IT and produce negative service outcomes.

Service metrics 101

What are service metrics?

Service metrics measure IT services in a way that relates to a business outcome. IT needs to measure performance from the business perspective using business language.

Why do we need service metrics?

To ensure the business cares about the metrics that IT produces, start with business needs to make sure you’re measuring the right things. This will give IT the opportunity talk to the right stakeholders and develop metrics that will meet their business needs.

Service metrics are designed with the business perspective in mind, so they are fully aligned with business objectives.

Perspectives Matter

Different stakeholders will require different types of metrics. A CEO may require metrics that provide a snapshot of the critical success of the company while a business manager is more concerned about the performance metrics of their department.

What are the benefits of implementing service metrics?

Service metrics help IT communicate with the business in business terms and enables IT to articulate how and where they provide business value. Business stakeholders can also easily understand how IT services contribute to their success.

The majority of CIOs feel metrics relating to business value and stakeholder satisfaction require significant improvement

A significantly higher proportion of CIOs than CEOs feel that there is significant improvement necessary for business value metrics and stakeholder satisfaction reporting. Stacked horizontal bar chart presenting survey results from CIOs and CXOs of 'Business Value Metrics'. Answer options are 'Effective', 'Some Improvement Necessary', 'Significant Improvement Necessary', and 'Not Required'.N=364

Stacked horizontal bar chart presenting survey results from CIOs and CXOs of 'Stakeholder Satisfaction Reporting'. Answer options are 'Effective', 'Some Improvement Necessary', 'Significant Improvement Necessary', and 'Not Required'.N=364

(Source: Info-Tech CIO-CXO Alignment Diagnostic Survey)

Meaningless metrics are a headache for the business

A major pitfall of many IT organizations is that they often provide pages of technical metrics that are meaningless to their business stakeholders.

  1. Too Many MetricsToo many metrics are provided and business leaders don’t know what to do with these metrics.
  2. Metrics Are Too TechnicalIT provides technical metrics that are hard to relate to business needs, and methods of calculating metrics are not clearly understood, articulated, and agreed on.
  3. Metrics Have No Business ValueService metrics are not mapped to business goals/objectives and they drive incorrect actions or spend.
When considering only CEOs who said that stakeholder satisfaction reporting needed significant improvement, the average satisfaction score goes down to 61.6%, which is a drop in satisfaction of 12%.

A bar that says 73% dropping to a bar that says 61%. Description above.

(Source: Info-Tech Research Group CIO-CXO Alignment Diagnostic Survey)

Poorly designed metrics hurt IT’s image within the organization

By providing metrics that do not articulate the value of IT services, IT reinforces its role as a utility provider and an outsider to strategic decisions.

When the CIOs believe business value metrics weren’t required, 50% of their CEOs said that significant improvements were necessary.

Pie Chart presenting the survey results from CEOs regarding 'Business Value Metrics'. Description above.

(Source: Info-Tech Research Group CIO-CXO Alignment Diagnostic Survey)
  1. Reinforce the wrong behaviorThe wrong metrics drive us-against-them, siloed thinking within IT, and meeting metric targets is prioritized over providing meaningful outcomes.
  2. Do not reflect user experienceMetrics don’t align with actual business/user experience, reinforcing a poor view of IT services.
  3. Effort ≠ ValueInvesting dedicated resources and effort to the achievement of the wrong metrics will only leave IT more constrained for other important initiatives.

Articulate meaningful service performance that supports the achievement of business outcomes

Service metrics measure the performance of IT services and how they enable or drive the activity outcomes.

A business process consists of multiple business activities. In many cases, these business activities require one or more supporting IT services.

A 'Business Process' broken down to its parts, multiple 'Business Activities' and their 'IT Services'. For each business process, business stakeholders and their goals and objectives should be identified.

For each business activity that supports the completion of a business process, define the success criteria that must be met in order to produce the desirable outcome.

Identify the IT services that are used by business stakeholders for each business activity. Measure the performance of these services from a business perspective to arrive at the appropriate service metrics.

Differentiate between different types of metrics

Stakeholders have different goals and objectives; therefore, it is critical to identify what type of metrics should be presented to each stakeholder.

Business Metrics

Determine Business Success

Business metrics are derived from a pure business perspective. These are the metrics that the business stakeholders will measure themselves on, and business success is determined using these metrics.

Arrow pointing right.

Service Metrics

Manage Service Value to the Business

Service metrics are used to measure IT service performance against business outcomes. These metrics, while relating to IT services, are presented in business terms and are tied to business goals.

Arrow pointing right.

IT Metrics

Enable Operational Excellence

IT metrics are internal to the IT organization and used to manage IT service delivery. These metrics are technical, IT-specific, and drive action for IT. They are not presented to the business, and are not written in business language.

Implementing service metrics is a key step in becoming a service provider and business partner

As a prerequisite, IT organizations must have already established a solid relationship with the business and have a clear understanding of its critical business-facing services.

At the very least, IT needs to have a service-oriented view and understand the specific needs and objectives associated with each stakeholder.

Visualization of 'Business Relationship Management' with an early point on the line representing 'Service Provider: Establish service-oriented culture and business-centric service delivery', and the end of the line being 'Strategic Partner'.

Once IT can present service metrics that the business cares about, it can continue on the service provider journey by managing the performance of services based on business needs, determine and influence service demand, and assess service value to maximize benefits to the business.

Which processes drive service metrics?

Both business relationship management (BRM) and service level management (SLM) provide inputs into and receive outputs from service metrics.

Venn Diagram of 'Business Relationship Management', 'Service Metrics', and 'Service Level Management'.

Business Relationship Management

BRM works to understand the goals and objectives of the business and inputs them into the design of the service metrics.

Service Metrics

BRM leverages service metrics to help IT organizations manage the relationship with the business.

BRM articulates and manages expectations and ensures IT services are meeting business requirements.

Which processes drive service metrics?

Both BRM and SLM provide inputs into and receive outputs from service metrics.

Venn Diagram of 'Business Relationship Management', 'Service Metrics', and 'Service Level Management'.

Service Level Management

SLM works with the business to understand service requirements, which are key inputs in designing the service metrics.

Service Metrics

SLM leverages service metrics in overseeing the day-to-day delivery of IT services. It ensures they are provided to meet expected service level targets and objectives.

Effective service metrics will deliver both service gains and relationship gains

Effective service metrics will provide the following service gains:

  • Confirm service performance and identify gaps
  • Drive service improvement to maximize service value
  • Validate performance improvements while quantifying and demonstrating business value
  • Ensure service reporting aligns with end-user experience
  • Achieve and confirm process and regulatory compliance
      Which will translate into the following relationship gains:
      • Embed IT into business value achievement
      • Improve relationship between the business and IT
      • Achieve higher customer satisfaction (happier end users receiving expected service, the business is able to identify how things are really performing)
      • Reinforce desirable actions and behaviors from both IT and the business

Don’t let conventional wisdom become your roadblock

Conventional Wisdom

Info-Tech Perspective

Metrics are measured from an application or technology perspective Metrics need to be derived from a service and business outcome perspective.
The business doesn’t care about metrics Metrics are not usually designed to speak in business terms about business outcomes. Linking metrics to business objectives creates metrics that the business cares about.
It is difficult to have a metrics discussion with the business It is not a metrics/number discussion, it is a discussion on goals and outcomes.
Metrics are only presented for the implementation of the service, not the ongoing outcome of the service IT needs to focus on service outcome and not project outcome.
Quality can’t be measured Quality must be measured in order to properly manage services.

Our three-phase approach to service metrics development

Let Info-Tech guide you through your service metrics journey

1

2

3

Design Your Metrics Develop and Validate Reporting Implement, Track, and Maintain
Sample of Phase 1 of Info-Tech's service metric development package, 'Design Your Metrics'. Sample of Phase 2 of Info-Tech's service metric development package, 'Develop and Validate Reporting'. Sample of Phase 3 of Info-Tech's service metric development package, 'Implement, Track, and Maintain'.
Start the development and creation of your service metrics by keeping business perspectives in mind, so they are fully aligned with business objectives. Identify the most appropriate presentation format based on stakeholder preference and need for metrics. Track goals and success metrics for your service metrics programs. It allows you to set long-term goals and track your results over time.

CIOs must actively lead the design of the service metrics program

The CIO must actively demonstrate support for the service metrics program and lead the initial discussions to determine what matters to business leaders.

  1. Lead the initiative by defining the need
    Show visible support and demonstrate importance
  2. Articulate the value to both IT and the business
    Establish the urgency and benefits
  3. Select and assemble an implementation group
    Find the best people to get the job done
  4. Drive initial metrics discussions: goals, objectives, actions
    Lead brainstorming with senior business leaders
  5. Work with the team to determine presentation formats and communication methods
    Identify the best presentation approach for senior stakeholders
  6. Establish a feedback loop for senior management
    Solicit feedback on improvements
  7. Validate the success of the metrics
    Confirm service metrics support business outcomes

Measure the success of your service metrics

It is critical to determine if the designed service metrics are fulfilling their intended purpose. The process of maintaining the service metrics program and the outcomes of implementing service metrics need to be monitored and tracked.

Validating Service Metrics Design

Target Outcome

Related Metrics

The business is enabled to identify and improve service performance to their end customer # of improvement initiatives created based on service metrics
$ cost savings/revenue generated due to actions derived from service metrics

Procedure to validate the usefulness of IT metrics

# / % of service metrics added/removed per year

Alignment between IT and business objectives and processes Business’ satisfaction with IT

Measure the success of your service metrics

It is critical to determine if the designed service metrics are fulfilling their intended purpose. The process of maintaining the service metrics program and the outcomes of implementing service metrics need to be monitored and tracked.

Validating Service Metrics Process

Target Outcome

Related Metrics

Properly defined service metrics aligned with business goals/outcomes
Easy understood measurement methodologies
% of services with (or without) defined service metrics

% of service metrics tied to business goals

Consistent approach to review and adjust metrics# of service metrics adjusted based on service reviews

% of service metrics reviewed on schedule

Demonstrate monetary value and impact through the service metrics program

In a study done by the Aberdeen Group, organizations engaged in the use of metrics benchmarking and measurement have:
  • 88% customer satisfaction rate
  • 60% service profitability
  • 15% increase in workforce productivity over the last 12 months

Stock image of a silhouette of three people's head and shoulders.
(Source: Aberdeen Group. “Service Benchmarking and Measurement.”)

A service metric is defined for: “Response time for Business Application A

The expected response time has not been achieved and this is visible in the service metrics. The reduced performance has been identified as having an impact of $250,000 per month in lost revenue potential.

The service metric drove an action to perform a root-cause analysis, which identified a network switch issue and drove a resolution action to fix the technology and architect redundancy to ensure continuity.

The fix eliminated the performance impact, allowing for recovery of the $250K per month in revenue, improved end-user confidence in the organization, and increased use of the application, creating additional revenue.

Develop Meaningful Service Metrics preview picture

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

MEMBER RATING

9.5/10
Overall Impact

$27,556
Average $ Saved

30
Average Days Saved

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve.

Read what our members are saying

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 6 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Design the metrics
  • Call 1: Design metrics based on business needs
  • Call 2: Validate the metrics

Guided Implementation 2: Design reports and dashboards
  • Call 1: Select presentation format
  • Call 2: Review metrics presentation design

Guided Implementation 3: Implement, track, and maintain metrics
  • Call 1: Select and implement pilot metrics
  • Call 2: Determine rollout process and establish maintenance/tracking mechanism

Authors

Valence Howden

Paul Brown

Kimberly Jiang

Contributors

  • Joe Evers, Joe Evers Consulting
  • Glen Notman, Associate Partner, Citihub
  • David Parker, Client Program Manager, eHealth Ontario
  • Marianne Doran Collins, CIO, The CIO-Suite, LLC
  • Chris Kalbfleisch, Manager, Service Management, eHealth Ontario
  • Joshua Klingenberg, BHP Billiton Canada Inc.
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