Managers speak out about IT management and measurement

Last week I participated in two roundtables attended by customers in healthcare and public sector. The topic for both was IT management and, in particular, a discussion around what one area would you like improve in your organization in terms of management and measurement. A number of the comments coming from this question were fascinating, because they illuminate what many in IT are going through right now. 

 

Improving IT service delivery without adding cost

It was especially enlightening to hear about the depth of cuts taking place in the public sector. A county government IT leader is rushing to outside cloud providers because he experienced a significant cut to his IT staff. “We have been told that we cannot bring in another server—everything has to move outside,” he told us. University and public school officials talked about how they were dealing with tight budgets and needing to deliver more services for less money.  Others talked about the need to consolidate separate IT organizations within the university for cost efficiency and to provide better service. Healthcare providers said they have limited dollars, but still have to figure out how to deal with regulation including HIPPA.  

A community college IT leader mentioned that she needed process-driven metrics and the ability to show innovation.  “What should my efficiency measures be?” she asked. I responded that IT leaders need a performance management system in order to take real cost out of IT.

 

How performance management reduces costs

The problem is that most of the cost cutting that has taken place over the last few years in organizations of all type has resulted in more fragile IT organization, because nothing was been done to lower the demand for IT services. However, if IT leaders can eliminate demand or reduce inefficiency than I can take real cost out.

 

For instance, let’s think about the linkage between change, configuration, incident, and quality. If I drive standards for my infrastructure and better testing of patches and application changes, then my incident count goes down. According to ITIL Version 3, 55% of incidents are self inflicted. This is just one of many examples, but here is the interesting thing. I get a twofer—I increase service delivery quality and decrease cost. This explains why organizations that are best in class in delivery are also best in class in terms of the amount of money spent on IT. A performance system backed by best-practice KPIs gives you a roadmap for making these improvements.

 

Demonstrating value to IT customers

Customers, also, talked a lot about what could be called “effectiveness measures.” Several folks discussed the need to better demonstrate the value of IT—both for running the business and changing the business. Yet another person said that they were challenged with how to keep up with the speed of business and then provide visibility into how alignment is actually improving.

 

Typical questions from the IT participants were:

  • How do we show our business clients that there are different prices for different quality of service?
  • How do we make sure that we are delivering the right services?
  • How do we get non-strategic business stakeholders involved in a project aligned prioritization process?
  • How do we demonstrate how well we compare with our peers? This included the “softer” side of ROI.  
  • How do we achieve best practice, and then how do we measure and demonstrate that it to the business?

These questions point to something we talk a lot about at HP: the need to create a service-cost model for IT as well as the need to evaluate IT services through a business lens. A performance management system provides the fact-based evidence of how IT supports the business. It can also – when combined with financial planning and analysis – provide the numbers that enable IT to partner with the business to make decisions on service delivery and prioritization. With a performance system in place, IT leaders have a picture of how and when IT is adding value to the business and begin to optimize, managing assets across their full lifecycle.

 

To learn more, check out these blog posts and articles about IT performance management:

 

 

Feature:  Peak performance demands precision control

Solution page:  IT Performance Management

Twitter: @MylesSuer

Labels: IT strategy
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About the Author
Mr. Suer is a senior manager for IT Performance Management. Prior to this role, Mr. Suer headed IT Performance Management Analytics Product ...


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