This blog was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.
Companies utilize information technology (IT) because they believe IT leads to higher productivity. IT improves business outcomes. We are all users of information technology. We know what we want from our own IT organizations and it really boils down to three things in priority order: availability, responsiveness, and technology currency. As IT professionals, we are satisfied when we are provided with services that are available, responsive and employ current technologies. Our customers are the same. Even though we often track dozens of metrics on IT service management programs, these are the three metrics that most impact user satisfaction with IT services.
When you want to use an application, such as email, or a resource, such as the internet, will you be able to get to it? Is it up? Not only is it up, but is it providing the responsiveness you need? If you can access email, but it takes an hour to update your mailbox then you could say the service is unavailable. IT organizations need to strive to keep applications and resources up and responsive. This needs to be the organization’s primary focus because users expect these services to be up all the time.
Metric: Service Availability (Any application or resource you support)
When you have an issue or want something (software, hardware, access, etc.), you want it as soon as possible. This means you need to resolve all incident and requests tickets on time. Since responsiveness is subjective, you need to clearly set user expectations on the level of performance they can expect. At home, you can download software and set up servers in seconds. At work, it is often more complicated. Hence you need to set clear expectations with your customers and you need to focus on resolving all issues and requests within these expected timeframes. Additionally, you also need to continually improve that expected timeframe.
Metric: Time to Resolve (Incidents and Service Requests)
We all want the latest stuff. Whether it is the new iPhone, the latest version of MS Office or an application upgrade that gets us off of Internet Explorer 9, we believe we need the most current tools to do our job. The sign of a disciplined and efficient IT organization is how well they can keep pace with technology. New technology today is much more stable than it was ten years ago. Many of us lived through the days of Microsoft Vista and other failed attempts at technology improvement. IT organizations need to focus on how to quickly get new technologies to the users – but not at the expense of availability or responsiveness. Of the three metrics that matter, this is the least important to the day-to-day activities of users, but one that will impact business performance if not addressed.
Metric: Time to Implement Change (from time of identification to user acceptance)
Think about how well your IT organization is doing in these three areas with your customers. Are the services you are providing available? Are you and your organization responsive to issues and requests? Are you evolving the infrastructure and business services quickly? Most importantly – have you clearly set expectations with your customers so they know when they should be happy or unhappy – at least in line with your agreements? By focusing on these three metrics and aligning your work to these areas, you will focus on what matters most – the satisfied users of your services.
About the Author
David Page is Director of the IT Service Management Innovation Center. David has over 35 years of technical, business, and organizational development experience and brings the expertise and strategic perspective to help Salient CRGT stand out from its competitors. He created and developed CONNECT, a web-based tool to manage and track staffing on large programs and provide complete real-time visibility to customers. Prior to Salient CRGT, David was a vice president at SRA International where he held multiple positions leading complex customer programs, heading new initiatives, and improving organizational effectiveness. David has consulted across numerous federal agencies and led a program of over 200 individuals supporting the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.