Why measure IT performance? 5 benefits that will save IT

With the advent of cloud and SaaS, internal IT finds itself in competition with external providers. These providers are businesses, and they are marketing themselves to your enterprise, promising lower cost, greater agility and efficiency. How can internal IT survive, even thrive faced with these challenges?

 

At HP, we’ve got a lot of great people thinking about this topic and trying to help IT organizations evolve. That evolution can be described as becoming a service broker, which HP Software Professional Services Chief Architect Joshua Brusse has written about in his post “Why a service integration and management strategy is essential for IT.” HP Software Evangelist Paul Muller puts it another way this video, “Changing Role of IT in Business”: IT is changing from becoming a “plumber” to becoming a “producer.” However you describe it, the first step in the journey is measuring IT performance.

 

To illustrate the urgency around IT performance metrics we produced an infographic that summarizes the challenges and key benefits of performance management. (For better viewing/printing, you can find a PDF of this infographic under Attachments at the bottom of this post.) Measuring (and optimizing) IT performance helps you:

 

  • Become a partner to the business
  • Demonstrate how IT is adding value
  • Improve agility
  • Reduce costs
  • Improve service delivery

ITperfinfographic.JPG

 

But achieving this is still a challenge for many IT organizations. At HP Discover, the Discover Performance team was there asking attendees how they defined IT performance and what their thoughts were. Was IT performance on their radar? If it was, how successful did they think they were at measuring it?

 

A lot of you were good enough to fill out our IT performance survey at the show and tell us what you thought. The results were fascinating. We asked how YOU define IT performance. Is it business alignment? Customer satisfaction? Operational excellence? Or does it depend on who’s asking? Here’s one response that points to the quandary IT often faces:

 

“Should be alignment with biz objectives, but it almost always depends on who's asking. Because the business wants to tell IT what it should be doing but business isn't of one mind.”

 

We also asked if you were able to track the business benefits of the IT services you provide. Your answers indicated it's still an area of struggle. Here’s how one person responded:

 

“It's not easy. I don't know the financial impact. Considering all the fires I fight, it's not a priority as long as they're financing it. It's a real problem. Here's a number, but how much money did we spend to get to that number?”

 

We’ve been talking about these issues on our LinkedIn group as well. There we’ve got a similar poll that has sparked some amazing discussion. (Interestingly, the number of people who defined IT performance as business alignment on our LinkedIn group nearly mirrors the number of HP Discover attendees who made the same choice: roughly 47%.) And many of our group members are keyed into these topics as well. Recently group member Pearl Zhu posted about creating a culture of analytics and went into 5 aspects of KPIs to examine (Take a look at the discussion here).

 

So what do you think? How do you define IT performance? And what benefits and/or challenges do you see from a performance management approach?

 

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Labels: IT Performance
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About the Author
I'm the community manager for Discover Performance and have been a writer/editor in the technology field for several years.
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