Effectiveness Metrics for IT

Most software and IT organizations have great difficulty measuring organizational efficiency and effectiveness, despite a zillion metrics that have been proposed. CIO Dashboard has an excellent article on IT metrics for CIO. These metrics provide a simple holistic view for CIO to help him understand how IT is faring.

  1. Multi-year view on productivity, something like (Discretionary IT Spend)/(Total IT Headcount). This could normalized it with some factor for “effective” discretionary spend assuming all projects are not 100% effective.
  2. Percentage of discretionary spend categorized by type. A few categorization models include – Run | Grow | Transform (Howard Rubin) – or Infrastructure | Transactional | Informational | Strategic (Peter Weill/MIT) and see if it matches where the business is headed.
  3. Number of bug fixes and enhancement requests for top 20 systems. This is a quick indication of functional and technical health of applications.
  4. Average hours/days to close critical/high support issues. You gotta get the platform stable before focusing on other stuff.
  5. Percentage of projects using enterprise HW/SW standards. This is a good way to make sure there isn’t a proliferation of exceptions, non standards, multiple “enterprise” standards.
  6. Number of hours/days of training per person/team/area. Training is an unbelievably neglected area in IT – this shows you care about your people.
  7. Number of projects in each phase of the SDLC and average times in each stage (view of overall project pipeline, identify bottlenecks, etc.)
  8. Some kind of customer/user measure if the company has any customers using an online channel – avg time on the site, top content viewed, top issues/comments, etc.
  9. Percentage of projects who deliver 100% of their planned scope or %scope delivered. On-time/on-budget doesn’t mean as much as “did i deliver what the business needed?”
  10. Core application availability (not technical SLA stuff, rather apps availability when users need it)

Sure you can take each one of these and drill down further in various focus areas like Financial, project Management, Security, Compliance, Customers etc. Some of the metrics highlighted in yellow should be fairly easy to measure and should be measured – by individual project managers or ITIL Process Owners, which can then be rolled up to dashboards. Few other metrics should be measured by Program/Portfolio Managers or PMO.

Even though most of these are on operational/tactical side of IT, still these metrics provide enormous info to understand the current state of affairs in IT. The results can then be used to improvise IT operations and subsequently be focussed on Business-IT alignment. Companies should have strategies focussing on generating bottom-line benefits before embarking on strategies for generating top-line growth. In other words, focus on cleaning up your organization before advising Customers on what they should do.

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