Business Metrics for the Service Desk

Align IT business metrics for the service desk with your business goals. This helps business understand the financial value a Service Desk adds to the organisation.

Introduction:

IT Metrics form a vital component of any service desk. Traditionally they focus on the performance of the service desk. However, in this format, they do not convey how the Service Desk benefits business.

There is no connection between IT effort and business productivity when using traditional IT Metrics. The challenge for IT is to effectively communicate the business benefits of a well-run Service Desk. This can only be achieved by aligning IT metrics with business goals.

Problems Reporting IT Metrics:

Service Desks struggle to measure and report service metrics in terms understood by business. Reporting issues are:

  • Limited communication with business and incorrectly translating metrics into terminology understood by business.
  • Difficulty translating customer satisfaction into tangible business value.
  • Lack of common metrics reporting terminology between the Service Desk and business.
  • There is a conflict between the Service Desk KPIs and customer expectations.
  • Identifying service improvement opportunities is difficult when focused on day-to-day operations of the Service Desk.
  • Often there is no clear owner for reporting metrics to business.
  • Forecasting service desk costs and expenditure to business is difficult due to the large number of variables.

Communicate IT Support Goals In Business Terms:

Clarify the connection between IT and Business by documenting IT goals using business terminology. This changes the perception that IT has no role in improving productivity and revenue generation.

Aligning Service Desk Business Metrics with business goals will change the business view of IT being a cost centre to a profit centre.

For business to understand IT goals they need to be written using business terminology. Currently this is not happening.

Look at the differences between the IT and Business goals:

IT Support Goals Business Goals
  • Minimise service disruptions
  • Increase sales by 5% each quarter
  • Minimise length of the service disruption
  • Reduce annual operation cost by 5%
  • Reduce cost per call
  • Expand customer base by 20%
  • Meet service level goals
  • Increase repeat business by 5% each

The Support goals are written in IT terms. As you can see, they do not support the Business goals. In addition, the Business goals do not have a dependency on technology.

To rectify the problem, write the IT goals from a business perspective:

IT Support Goals IT Support Goals From a Business Perspective
  • Minimise service disruptions
  • Increase productivity and service quality using expedient and accurate problem resolution
  • Minimise length of the service disruption
  • Reduce cost per call
  • Streamline processes that impact the customer
  • Meet service level goals
  • Improve customer expectations for services.

With a few changes in terms and phrasing, the IT goals are now business-focussed.

However, current IT metrics reporting is not well understood by business and will need to undergo significant change. Making the data meaningful to business requires a fresh approach to IT Metrics reporting. This is achieved by:

  • Augmentation
    No changes are made to reports. A supplementary explanation of the correlation between IT report data and business goals is added.
  • Modification
    Reports are modified to better present information to business. Supplementary explanations are added because the underlying metrics have not been changed.
  • Transformation
    Metrics are modified to more accurately reflect achievement of business related goals. This approach yields the most meaningful change in reporting for business.

IT Goals and Business Value:

Communicating the value that IT and Support add to Business improves the perception management has of IT Services. However, the current business view of IT will only improve when IT aligns with the business goals.

Conclusion:

Reporting IT Business Metrics in terms that business understands aligns IT with business goals. This shift in focus presents the IT department as a profit centre instead of a cost centre.

Now more than ever, IT must invest the time to understand the business goals and to translate IT Metrics to reflect impact to these goals

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