IT Service Metrics: Measurement Approach

Here, Kurt McWhirter and Ted Gaughan, authors of The Definitive Guide to IT Service Metrics, detail the importance of a measurement approach.

A measurement approach is a holistic method of determining and providing metrics that demonstrate service and process success for both the business and service provider. This approach is utilized through all the stages of the service lifecycle and helps to clarify the understanding of service delivery and support as we collect evidence of execution and provision.

The measurement approach involves a bi-directional flow of communication between the business and the IT service provider.  The business needs, in terms of goals and objectives, typically flow top-to-bottom.  Alignment of “What can be measured” flows bottom-to-top (creating a feedback loop), with the goal of providing evidence toward meeting those needs.  Methods used to develop and implement metrics should be adapted to fit the business needs and service delivery situation beginning with collecting metric requirements during the service design stage. Therefore, it is crucial to develop metrics early in the design phase to ensure all aspects of the service are measureable and that we understand what metrics can and should be collected.

As an early part of the design stage, we recommend creating a tool and/or method for collecting metric requirements to use while working with the business to understand service requirements. This will allow the service provider to know what information concerning service provision is important to the customer; otherwise, what will demonstrate the value of the service. The figure below illustrates a measurement approach that demonstrates the importance of metrics early in the lifecycle.

 Measurement Approach

The important aspect of this approach is that metrics are considered from the customer or business viewpoint and not the service provider. If value is perceived by the customer then we must provide evidence of value based on their requirements and understanding.

In many cases, a single metric provides limited but valuable information concerning performance.  The power of a single metric is unleashed when combined with other metrics to give context and provide a complete picture of performance. Performance measures are considered part of the overall service strategy and serve as a critical aspect of a governance structure. Those that enjoy IT service delivery success utilize metrics to continually monitor performance outcomes.  They repeat practices that result in favorable outcomes and quickly adjust to eliminate unfavorable variances while improving customer service and satisfaction levels.

For more information, read Kurt and Ted’s book: The Definitive Guide to IT Service Metrics.

Or, if you are an itSMF USA member, you can buy this book here >>