know your IT department is a treasure, but do your customers know it? Creating the right IT measurement tools will help you translate technical metrics into a strong business case that your enterprise leadership and stakeholders will come to value. I’m Bob Kress
and in this blog I will explain how measuring IT will enhance your quest to run IT like a business.
Typical IT statistics such as the number of incidents logged and resolved, network uptime and work station failures are useful measures of internal performance. Without a context for comparison, however, they fail to provide a framework to value your IT department. The challenge is to use these metrics to understand and convey the value of your department’s work to both enterprise leaders and your customers. Invoking rigorous measurement analysis will give you critical data to substantiate the business case for IT investments, to learn which investments are paying off and to know how your operation benchmarks against industry standards.
Creating a measurement tool for your IT department won’t occur overnight; it took Accenture more than two years to arrive at our current approach, which examines both global issues and microscopic details to help us improve our business. As outlined in my book Running IT like a Business: A Step-by-Step Guide to Accenture’s Internal IT
, the reporting framework we use is shaped like a funnel, and begins at the top with level 3 operational reporting on products and services that are evaluated on a daily and weekly basis. Reports at level 2 synthesize data from multiple sources into more coherent portraits of IT performance on a monthly basis. That information is siphoned down to level 1 strategic enterprise reporting that examines the IT function holistically and constitutes the highest point of abstraction and synthesis. Results are then fed into multiple IT scorecards tracking strategy, performance and priorities. These reports are submitted to the IT steering committee, Accenture’s chief operating officer and the executive leadership team who scrupulously measure the return on Accenture’s IT investments to realize the actual benefits in relation to the original business case.
Now you can see how measurement and analysis play a critical role in the life cycle of IT investment decisions, which I discussed in my previous blog
. The approval of the business case for an IT investment is only the beginning, since it must be accurately measured to determine whether the promised benefits are achieved. We feed our results back into the investment planning process to inform future decision making. Additionally, Accenture’s independent audit group inspects a random sample of business cases to confirm the results.
Measuring IT investments wouldn’t be complete without maintaining healthy customer dialogue through frequent surveys and regular feedback. At Accenture, we use this information as an early warning signal about changing business requirements or service delivery issues that might warrant immediate actions. We have learned that not being afraid to ask for customer input is indispensable to running IT like a business.
Please tell me how you elicit feedback from your internal customers and how that is included in your IT measurement process.