Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are critically important to a business. Even managers unfamiliar with the term will understand the idea: KPIs are simply the body of data about a business that can be used to gain insight into its efficiency and profitability. Ideally, KPIs will be easy to gather and query from existing accounting or HR records and will provide data that can be used to make meaningful management decisions.
Many facets of business are relatively easy for a manager to observe: sales figures, operating expenses, safety records, and employees’ schedules should be plain as day. However, since IT typically plays a “behind the scenes” role, it can be difficult to assess just how productive the department is, especially if managers don’t have a background in that line of work themselves.
Measuring Everyday Operations
As with any department, the most important thing to observe with your IT workers is their daily productivity and cost-effectiveness. Some KPIs commonly used to determine day-to-day efficiency include average ticket response times, the percentage of orders resolved, and customer satisfaction rates.
Measuring Crisis Response
As anyone who has worked in IT knows, sometimes there are fires to put out. A team that works efficiently on most days might still not be well equipped to troubleshoot a serious unexpected issue. Measure your IT department’s resiliency in crises by looking at system downtime, the average time it takes the department to return to their usual tasks, and the profit lost during service outages.
While the goal of KPIs is to provide an entirely objective analysis of an organization, it can also be useful to gather subjective reviews of your IT department from your customers, team members, and the IT department themselves. Subjective reports can, of course, be time-consuming to gather, and may be prone to personal biases, but they can go a long way to help shed light on the humans behind the numbers.
Planning for the Future
The most successful managers will use KPIs to strategically adjust their personnel for the future, always striving for both greater day-to-day efficiency and resilience when faced with tougher problems. Weak organizations merely improvise their responses to issues, and middling ones will have codified plans but limited experience implementing them. Strong organizations, on the other hand, have a robust plan for almost every situation, seasoned employees, and a strategy to continue growing stronger in the future based on the weaknesses identified by KPIs.
Knowing how to interpret and respond to KPIs is just as important as collecting them.
Disappointing KPIs may indicate it’s time for hirings or firings, reassigning tasks, or an equipment upgrade, and encouraging KPIs may mean that the business has room to expand. In an IT department, replacing old gear, outsourcing tasks to outside consultants, and focusing on employee development will typically yield the greatest results.
Does Your Business Need an IT Upgrade?
If your KPIs are revealing it’s time for an equipment upgrade or outsourced IT services, contact a reputable IT company as soon as you can. They should have the best ideas on how to tackle an issue and get it resolved quickly.