DAILY INSIGHT: What should we measure in our technology departments?

Is your IT department performing well? 
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Is your IT department performing well? 

By Steve Young, CIO Advisor

It is very easy to assume things are working well and that our IT departments are functioning excellently. But if we really want to confirm that, what metrics would we measure?

There may not be a one-size-fits-all answer on this, as there are so many variables in the equation, but ultimately there are a few key things that most of us should be tracking to help us gauge workloads, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

At the core of many IT departments sits a help or service desk. If we don’t have a handle on these numbers, then that is the place to start. The service desk is a window into our IT operations that can shed a lot of light on our operations. There are lots of things to measure: time to resolution, technician workload, technician efficiency, recurring problems, and more. Most of us strive to turn around trouble tickets as fast as we can, while at the same time making sure the customer is satisfied and received excellent service. So I would start with measuring these numbers. If you do not have a way to measure customer satisfaction with work performed, then it may be time to shop for a new help desk.

Going over these numbers regularly with your managers and staff helps promote an efficient service-oriented operation. If staff are thinking about how their work is perceived by customers, then they are likely to provide better service. Bad service ratings and customer satisfaction may be meaningful indicators of a serious IT problem that is not resolved, they may indicate an overworked staff, or they may even possibly show an employee issue that needs to be addressed.

At the end of the day, tracking many of these service-desk-related metrics can help us better understand the work our staff is performing and hopefully allow us to improve our operations and customer service.

Steve Young is CTO of Judson ISD in Texas and founder of the San Antonio Area Technology Directors group. He blogs at CTO Technotes, where this is cross posted. Follow him on Twitter as @atemyshorts.