Demonstrate Service Desk Value Using Meaningful Business Metrics

Service desks available in the market today produce metrics that almost exclusively focus on how productive the Service Desk and the IT department are. This requirement is changing because senior business executives are asking for metrics that highlight information that will contribute to positive business outcomes. Business metrics are becoming a vital component of the modern Service Desk. Unfortunately, their significance is often underestimated and overlooked.

Traditionally, Service Desks have looked for ways to measure performance and set targets. To facilitate management reporting, aggressive use of business metrics has been introduced addressing a wide range of performance measures that provide management with quantitative data needed to make accurate business decisions.

Introduction

There is a widespread acceptance of the value of business metrics within IT, and quantitative information is playing a major role in the decision-making process in business. Furthermore, it is pleasing to note that many Service Desks have adopted industry best practice metrics, but there is still uncertainty on which metric is the most important. The use of metrics has enabled organisations to share information with a wider group of people. It is becoming clear that the adoption of business value metrics is a key component of the transition from traditional Service Desks to Business Service Centres.

Communicate The Value Your Service Desk Metrics Provide

All metrics recorded should have a target or goal attached to them. Without pre-defined targets, it is difficult or nearly impossible to accurately gauge performance or trigger alerts when the metrics are about to breach the targets. The targets must be meaningful and adjustable in line with your Service Desk performance. Used correctly, they are a wonderful motivator for the team but be careful not to be over-optimistic when setting targets as this will demoralise your team very quickly.

Approximately only two-thirds of Service Desks currently communicate and publish their targets. The lack of reporting by some organisations is unfortunate because targets provide a convenient way to measure the Service Desk performance, plus they assist management in making sense of the data. Also, the Service Desk must be accessible at all times to all stakeholders, as this will ensure that it becomes a trusted business partner.

Read the rest of the Business Metrics series:

Business Metrics for the service desk

How to configure BMC FootPrints to produce your Business Metrics reporting 

Business Decisions Based on Service Desk Metrics

It is surprising to note that only half of businesses are making use of their Service Desk metrics when making decisions. However, this information is having a positive effect on those businesses that have elected to incorporate it into their decision-making process. A very important business decision that is being influenced by the available metrics is resourcing. This is highlighted by the fact that Service Desks rely on metrics when making a business case for more staff or additional investment.

When looking at the importance of the metrics being measured, it is interesting to note that business is firstly interested in the Service Desk performance and then in customer satisfaction, a key performance measure for the Service Desk. In an age where customer satisfaction is so important, one should not be surprised that these two metrics rate so highly. KPI’s have been linked to these two metrics so that business can measure customer satisfaction; when customer satisfaction is low, this may correlate to increasing call volumes and lower first contact resolution rate.

Business Value Metrics

Introducing business value metrics may not be easy for the IT department as these measures force them to move beyond the metrics that show how well they are doing and rather focus on metrics that are beneficial to business that provides a clear indication of value and performance.

Traditionally, metrics tell business how well the Service Desk is doing and to achieve this, they focus on the following type of metrics. (This is not an exhaustive list.)

  • The number of calls answered
  • First time fix rate by the technician
  • Incidents resolved within the SLA time
  • Average time to respond
  • Average resolution time
  • Number of incidents resolved
  • Abandonment rate

For IT to align itself more accurately with the business requirements, they have to re-evaluate the metrics they supply to the organisation and move away from those metrics that make it look good. In future they must supply business value metrics that include statistics such as:

  • Lost IT service hours
    This metric indicates clearly to business how long IT services were not available. It gives business a clear indication of IT performance.
  • Lost business hours
    A clear picture of the impact of IT failure is provided by this metric and on further investigation, the amount of revenue lost can be calculated.
  • Business Impact
    This metric supplies more information than merely stating how good the service provided actually is. It goes a lot further and attempts to highlight the impact of an IT disruption on different departments in the organisation. This metric enables the Service Desk to provide a mature and business focussed view on the value it provides to business.
  • Risk of missing SLA targets
    Traditionally, this is a reactive metric that looks at past events. However, if IT and business co-operate and view it from a different perspective, it can be used proactively to supply visibility before the event. In other words, if an SLA is going to be missed due to an unexpected change, IT can make business aware of the pending breach, giving business time to prepare for the possible loss of IT services.

Why Do Business Metrics Matter

If you do not know how much your services cost, or whether your customers think you are delivering a service that meets their expectations, expect to attend a few meetings with your business leaders where your commitment to customer services and adherence to the SLA’s will be questioned.

It is important that your Service Desk understands the value it can offer to business. The key metrics that your Service Desk must constantly monitor are the SLA targets and Customer Satisfaction metrics. These metrics are used to measure business value. Unfortunately, they do not always receive the attention from IT that they deserve. Traditionally, Service Desks focus on reporting on how well they spend money. Their focus needs to change to embrace metrics that report on how much value they add to business. In this way, business will gain a better understanding and appreciation of the Service Desk’s value.

Conclusion

IT has used metrics to tell business how well the Service Desk is performing by listing the number of calls answered, incidents resolved within SLA, first-time problem fix rate and a host of other metrics. However, business metrics have been sadly lacking. These are the metrics that are crucial to business as they provide a clear idea of performance and value. In the future, IT must focus on producing business value metrics and in so doing will demonstrate the true value the Service Desk can provide to the business.

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