Over the past 10 years, technology has triggered a sea of change in the way businesses deal with information management. The emergent landscape has created unique challenges for chief information officers (CIOs), who are tasked with extracting meaning from a growing and increasingly abstract field of metrics.
By viewing system performance and overall productivity through the lens of cost-effectiveness, CIOs put themselves in a better position to make sense of IT metrics. To that end, here are five essential strategies for making the most of IT data.
Metrics and Performance are Inextricably Linked
IT metrics should always speak to a clear strategy for improving customer service performance. Some fall into the trap of concentrating too much on what competitors are doing or on the metrics that supposedly define the industry in which the company operates. While these can be important considerations, nothing is more crucial than looking inward.
IT metrics should always reveal whether or not the company is dedicating enough resources to meeting its performance and customer service goals, and answers will always come from inside the organization, not outside it.
Look Beyond the Numbers
When read correctly, IT metrics yield important clues about the future direction of an organization — in addition to providing insights into past performance. CIOs should always empower their management colleagues to translate numbers into actionable insights, using whatever means they can to make facts, trends, opportunities, and insights accessible and easily understood.
The Importance of Project-Specific Metrics
Some businesses do not focus enough on implementing and tracking IT metrics. This is particularly true of larger companies, which may have dozens or even hundreds of projects on the go at any particular time.
At their simplest, metrics measure performance basics, such as the number of projects that were completed on time and whether or not projects stayed within budgetary constraints. However, these aren’t the only important factors.
It’s vital not to exclude efficiency, customer satisfaction, and user experience when analyzing IT metrics. These metrics yield important clues to the value of particular initiatives — clues that will go unnoticed if too few metrics are tracked.
Choose the Right Metrics
Similarly, it’s absolutely essential to choose the right metrics to track in the first place. The annals of IT history are filled with cases in which businesses identified the wrong goals and ended up failing despite appearing to succeed.
This is a major reason why it’s so crucial to implement project-specific metrics. Measuring the wrong things will only result in a great deal of wasted resources, not to mention strategically misleading insights that can have disastrous consequences.
Metrics are Dynamic
As businesses grow and evolve, so do the metrics used to measure and track key aspects of performance. Continuing to evaluate metrics that are no longer relevant can cause an organization to spin its wheels in neutral or head in the wrong direction.
CIOs need to take initiative in deciding which factors are going to determine the organization’s success today and tomorrow, rather than continually focusing on what worked yesterday. As such, it’s important that CIOs make regular evaluations of metrics to make sure they’re tracking relevant details, rather than things the company has moved beyond.
So, where should a CIO get started? Click here for answers to some of the hardest questions on implementing and managing new Information Technology strategies.