Metric, Metric, Who’s Got THE Metric?

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If I had a nickel for every time I was asked, “What is the most important metric?” I would be a present-day Andrew Carnegie. I kid you not.  

Almost everyone I know, myself included (and yes, I know myself pretty well), finds the discussion on Metrics to be very confusing. In fact, most of the time we end up chasing our tails trying to decide which Metric is key.      

To make matters worse, in some conversations I find myself championing one small set, only to hear myself later in the day championing another set.   

What gives? Why can’t I be consistent at anything? 

In this article, I’m going to try to sort it all out for all of us 

 The 4 Key IT Service Delivery Metrics to Know 

 If you have been following us for any length of time you know we talk about four key IT Service Delivery Metrics: 

  • Resource Utilization 
  • SLAs 
  • Mean Time to Completion 
  • RHEM  

DATTO presented 10 of their key Service Delivery Metrics at DATTOcon. Bright Gauge touts a whopping 72 key metrics. And the list goes on and on…  

So, which Service Delivery metric or small set of metrics are the most important? Well, it all depends!  

I know, I know…you were hoping for a fast, easy answer. But it’s just not that simple. (If it were, we wouldn’t be devoting an entire article to the topic.) 

Here are my perspectives:  

If you are an Owner focused on bottom-line profit, the most important Service Delivery metrics are: 

  • Resource Utilization 
  • Mean Time to Completion 
  • The cost of Managed Service Support 
  • C-Sat or Net Promoter Score 

If you are a Service Manager focused on Support Team performance, the most important metrics are: 

  • Resource Utilization 
  • SLAs 
  • Mean Time to Completion 
  • Reopen Ticket Rate 
  • Escalated Ticket ratio 

If you are a Service Coordinator focused on Ticket flow, the most important are: 

  • Open Tickets 
  • Ticket Backlog 
  • SLA’s
  • First Call Resolution 

If you are a Tech focused on what needs to be worked on next, the most important are: 

  • Next SLA Event Due Date  
  • My Open Tickets 
  • Service Calls on My Schedule
  • My Billable hours this week vs goal 

If you are a Project Manager focused on managing projects, the most important metrics are: 

  • Project and Task statuses 
  • Resource Utilization 
  • Earned Value 

Applying the Metrics: What does it depend on?  

Before you get too excited, another dimension to consider is, while the metric may be titled the same, how you view and apply the metric is different depending on your role. 

Here is where I believe most of the confusion comes from: Communication – go figure.  In this case it is the Jargon that is tripping us.  While we use the same naming convention for a metric, we are not using the same meaning as illustrated below.   Sometimes, the meaning is the same, but the naming convention is different. For example: The cost of Managed Service Support for Owners, is the same as RHEM for Service Managers 

Here’s how different roles view the Resource Utilization metric: 

  • An OwnerProfitability 
  • Service Manager: A Timesheet Review making sure everything is coded correctly, balanced workload, and is everyone pulling their own weight, without the company asking too much of them? 
  • Service CoordinatorDeciding who has room to take on more tickets 
  • TechAm I meeting my billable hours goal?
  • Project ManagerAre they available as promised? 

Why do we write about the four we do? 

When discussing the four metrics we write about most, you should know that they were not picked by a random dart throwing exercise. They have very specific impacts to the Managed Service Provider’s financial bottom line.  

After reading the book “The Goal,” which is a fictional story of how to implement LEAN manufacturing, some thought was put into how LEAN applies to a Managed Service Operation. 

Here is what we came up with: 

  • Mean Time to Completion = Throughput 
  • RHEM = Efficiency 
  • Resource Utilization = Inventory 

Note: We add SLA as a sub-set of the Mean Time to Completion report for several reasons: 

  • It is an Industry standard metric 
  • It shows the problem from the Customers point of view as well as the MSP’s 
  • It helps amplify how MSPs are missing the boat by focusing on SLAs only and not what the Customer is feeling 
  • It was an easy metric to add without defocusing the conversation on the “big three” 

Even the order we give them in is important (Resource Utilization, SLAs, Mean Time to Completion, and RHEM). On the Roadmap to IT Service Delivery Optimization, this is the order in which the fundamentals are in placed to support the reporting. This then leads to the benchmarking and tracking of the improvements as we indicate when optimization has been achieved. 

To apply LEAN, you would need to journey map ticket Lifecyle workflows, looking for bottlenecks and quality breakdowns. This is where the rest of the seventy-two or thousands of metrics come in. Once a bottleneck or quality breakdown is identified, a metric is thrown at the problem to benchmark and track improvements until it is no longer the bottleneck or lowest quality issue.  This is also where LEAN (Bottleneck focus) and TQM (Quality Management focus) intersect.   

Pro Hint: There is always a bottleneck and always a point of lowest quality.  Continuously addressing bottlenecks and points of lowest quality is what the Service Delivery Manager’s job is all about. The rest of the team is there to support them and also monitor life from their own point of view/agenda.     

Stay Tuned for Much More on Metrics! 

We just wrapped up an entire year discussing the Fundamentals of Service Delivery. With the subject researched through & through (in other words, beat to death), we now turn our attention to improving IT Service Delivery.  

This is where the discussion on Metrics comes into play. As we move from topic to topic, we will need to add the proper metric to benchmark and track improvements, so stay tuned!  

I am glad you are along for the ride and remember, from our perspective the most important IT Service Delivery metrics are always: 

  • Resource Utilization 
  • SLAs 
  • Mean Time to Completion 
  • RHEM 

For a glimpse at how to leverage these 4 metrics, subscribe and download our IT Service Delivery Optimization Roadmap. 

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