Corporate IT teams collect all sorts of metrics, such as “uptime,” “availability,” “budget allocation,” but, as companies’ ability to source and use the right technology is increasingly determining business success, IT performance has come under far greater scrutiny. And as those in CEB’s networks report, IT executives are finding it hard to demonstrate IT’s value to this much broader audience that are suddenly so interested.
The main mistake that IT teams make is that they still tend to communicate using the wrong sort of measures. They tend to use operational or functional performance metrics that don’t feel relevant to business partners, board members, or external customers. And in order to communicate with senior executive stakeholders, IT should refocus its metrics towards tracking performance against business and corporate goals.
Chart 1: The three levels of IT metrics Source: CEB analysis
Focus on Business and Corporate Goals
This refocusing exercise doesn’t mean that IT teams need to spend time and money identifying and tracking new metrics, but rather creating composite metrics that measure outcomes, instead of inputs. For example, IT expenditure measures should focus less on the types of technology project they are running, and more on how the projects that IT spends money on support top-line company goals.
Similarly, uptime (the amount of time that the company’s IT systems were working) is still important, but IT should communicate how that enables company performance by highlighting how downtime affects company revenue through reduced productivity. In this way, improvements in uptime show how IT has increased productivity.
Forward-thinking IT teams have been using ten “IT value stories” to frame the way they report to senior colleagues, and to make their communications relevant to company goals. Rather than report every possible metric, they put two to three value stories at the heart of their scorecard. And they include commentary and forward-looking projections to create a narrative that clearly demonstrates how IT supports the company as a whole.