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At their most basic, metrics are a way to parse through all the data you’ve got on your department operations and tell a story. But is the story your metrics are telling actually interesting and insightful?

Your metrics should be encouraging change and improvement within your department: they need to go beyond presenting an overly-detailed, confusing snapshot of what you do and instead serve as a guide to show where and how changes can benefit your operations. Think less Ulysses—telling a simple story through complex vocabulary—and more The Giving Tree—understandable, compelling and didactic.

But how do you do that? Here are three KPIs you may not be following that present compelling information about your department’s success.

Variability of application performance

You probably already have strong KPIs to measure your operations. From online application performance to average maintenance time, you may think you’re covered—but unless you’re tracking the variability of application performance, you’re not.

Performance variability is best defined as the change in performance for any one device or operation. While small levels of variability (a variation of about 10 percent) are to be expected, more drastic variations are a sign that there’s something wrong. You should be measuring performance variability for all major software and hardware you oversee as well as that of your own employees. If there’s a high level of variability, it’s time to look into it: you may find an inefficient device that it’s time to retire or an especially efficient employee who can act as a mentor to others.

IT budget variance

What are your actual costs versus your budgeted costs? Review budget variance for both direct expenses, like salaries, and inter-company expenses (allocated from other departments) to determine where you’re over- or under-budget.

Keeping track of this allows you to determine whether or not you’re allocating resources appropriately and where you’re off-base. It also lets you build a long-term picture of how you’re using your budget, giving you significant ammunition for further budget negotiations. With a few quarters of information showing how you’ve come under budget on important projects, you have strong leverage in negotiating more resources from the CEO.

Project satisfaction

If you’re not sending out post-project surveys to affected employees, you’re missing out on important data that helps you understand your IT department’s success. Employee satisfaction may just be your most important metric to track: tracking a KPI that allows you to quantify satisfaction on a project-by-project basis is a key way to prove your value and commitment to your company to your CEO.

Create a questionnaire for employees to fill out post-project. Provide them with a scale of 1 to 5 to measure satisfaction, where 1 is least satisfied and 5 is most satisfied. Don’t forget to ask your team members to fill out this questionnaire as well: they’ll have valuable insights to bring to the table on how you can better streamline your project, manage time and increase efficiency.

With this information, you can track where you can improve and why your most successful projects worked.

If you’re looking for a way to make some of your processes more efficient, we can help. Take a look at our new eBook, 6 Steps to Recharge Your Managed Print Process, for some tips to make the most out of your IT department’s management of each and every printer.

Download here

Photo credit: NEC Corporation of America via Flickr Creative Commons

CIOs IT efficiency