Basic KPIs like tickets opened and closed provide the visibility you need into the IT organization’s performance by day, week, and month. Yet to improve your KPIs, you need the ability to dig deeper into your data and connect the dots.
A business intelligence solution with dashboards and analytical capabilities allows you to go beyond “what” happened to understand “why” something occurred. These in-depth applications give you the tools to investigate issues as they arise as well as identify patterns and outliers at a glance. This deeper level of insight enables you to make changes that ultimately improve your KPIs.
Taking KPIs to the Next Level
KPIs are great at telling you how your organization is performing right now, but they don’t offer information on how to change course and improve your metrics. Alternatively, analytics can unlock data and provide intelligence on how to streamline processes, quickly conduct root cause analyses, and reveal business impact.
Analytics provide insight into many key IT functions that are connected to your KPIs. For example, with analytics you can:
- Identify the root cause of outages to improve application health, thereby decreasing the frequency of outages and the mean time to restore services.
- Increase the speed of innovation by driving change velocity and reducing change failures.
- Increase service desk efficiency by streamlining processes, automating services, and reducing backlog and incident demand.
- Display accountability and demonstrate the impact of IT investments on business outcomes.
- Uncover assets and configuration issues that ultimately lead to cost savings and reductions in maintenance effort.
Analytics in Action
To help you understand the true value of analytics, let’s look at a few examples of how businesses are using these applications to positively impact their KPIs.
Improving IT Workflows
We worked with a software company that wanted to discover the root cause of outages and visually show the relative volume of incidents per business service. Using a business intelligence tool, the company easily identified the top IT workflows that were impacting business services. Their IT team was then able to reduce outages by resolving key technical issues for highly impacted services.
With analytics, the company’s IT leaders created an operations dashboard for easy access to key data around outages and major incidents during review meetings. Change management process owners also gained visibility into process compliance and change state durations, enabling them to identify where bottlenecks are occurring and how the change management process can be improved.
Pinpointing Underlying Service Issues
For a large managed service provider (MSP), priority 1 incidents impact not only customer service levels but also the company’s bottom line. Using analytics, the MSP was able to identify a configuration item (CI) that was generating twice the number of priority 1 incidents as any other CI. Through a deep dive they were able to uncover the underlying issue: memory faults. By adding memory to key servers, the MSP reduced its outage rate by 25 percent — a simple solution to an issue that could have had a severe impact on business.
Tracking Change Performance
We also helped a large fashion retailer monitor the performance of an outsourced team. The company wanted to track the team’s change implementation results in order to identify unsuccessful changes and the root cause of failures. They implemented an analytic dashboard that allows them to track successful and unsuccessful change rates, and — importantly — to expedite the analysis of failures so that remedial action can be taken. In addition, a weekly incident management dashboard enables the team to closely monitor the team’s performance.
Boost KPIs with the Help of Analytics
KPIs tell only part of your IT organization’s story. They tell you what is happening at the moment, but don’t give you the deeper analysis you need to improve KPIs over time — or to demonstrate your efforts to the business. To accomplish that, you need an analytics tool that will allow you to dig deeper and reveal valuable insights you can act upon to move your business forward.
[Photo courtesy of flickr.]