4 Essential ITIL KPIs & How To Best Implement Them
With the help of an IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), it’s a breeze for businesses to oversee their mission-critical tech resources in a unified, consistent way throughout the life cycle of different software and hardware assets.
Of course for an ITIL to be effective, you need to check in on its performance and recognize when there’s room for improvement.
So what are the key performance indicators (KPIs) you need to look out for, and what’s the easiest way to get to grips with them?
The quality of the services you provide to customers is a clear indicator of how well the IT underpinnings are holding up under current levels of demand, and whether they are aligned with the mission statement and overall growth goals of your organization.
You can break this down into a number of separate KPIs, all of which need to be assessed side by side to give you a big-picture overview of where things stand right now. From here you can look at what changes you need to make to optimize the experience for end users.
Gauging customer satisfaction with surveys, checking up on employee retention rates, and analyzing quality by looking into the number of support requests you receive and how long it takes for these to be dealt with are all useful KPIs to monitor.
Even if your services are of a sufficient quality, they won’t be satisfactory if downtime is a constant threat.
Uptime is therefore a KPI to keep in your sights, with unexpected outages expressed as a percentage of the total time during which your services are intended to be available.
You will have to also consider differences that result from periods of intended unavailability, during which essential maintenance is carried out. These are no bad thing in isolation, but can be indicative of wider problems with your infrastructure or its implementation if they come to monopolize a larger share of uptime.
When it comes to scrutinizing availability, a network sniffing tool used as part of a wider monitoring setup will be invaluable.
It’s important to use such tools not just to track issues as they are playing out, but also in order to accumulate enough data to have a sense of what ‘normal’ periods of operation look like. That way you can more easily tell when KPIs veer away from the desired levels, and be proactive in addressing snafus.
Availability KPIs don’t solely have to relate to server hardware and networking, of course. You might also choose to check up on any disruption that occurs in terms of critical business processes, or the availability of service desk support whether for internal or external users.
It’s tempting to be solely focused on sales as a KPI when it comes to your ITIL and your broader business practices.
However, you must take a wider view of your relationship with the people that purchase products and services from your organization, seeing them not just as entities to win over once, but as assets to be nurtured over time.
Using a customer relationship management (CRM) solution is useful for collecting and collating a gaggle of different KPIs, which in turn can inform your strategies for optimizing the rest of your IT resources and processes.
Knowing how many customers return after their initial conversion, and the means by which they made this decision to re-engage with your brand, should sync up with your goals to tweak and ITIL strategies. So again it’s this combination of moment to moment changes in metrics, as well as the longer term patterns which emerge from vast data sets collected over months and years, that come together to shape the decisions you make.
No IT assert is able to provide adequate functionality for a business indefinitely, and so at some point it’s necessary to transition a service either by upgrading it incrementally or replacing it entirely with a new equivalent.
This is another arena in which a gaggle of different KPIs join forces to provide a clearer overview of performance on a wider scale.
First, you need to consider the timing of the transition. Does it come at a point before the existing setup is a bottleneck on productivity or the quality of the customer experience, or has it been implemented only when such a hold-up has become apparent in the data? In the latter case, changing strategies for the future to implement transitions without risking disruption makes sense.
Next there’s the qualitative aspect of the transition; is a change demonstrably improving the areas you’d hoped to impact most, or has the amount of movement been lower than expected? Unless you’re tracking this metric, you won’t know, and it will be harder to judge the outcomes.
Then there’s the cost, which of course varies depending on whether it’s a full-blown replacement or migration, or merely a stopgap upgrade. As with most things in business, money is the driving force behind all sorts of decisions, and you cannot hope to pick the right path if you aren’t looking at the budget throughout a transitional phase and beyond. It’s not just whether the costs were affordable, but whether they were worth paying in light of the results of the transition.
Things like customer satisfaction and retention rates are brought back in here, as you’d expect. And thus there’s an extent to which KPIs from various facets of your ITIL feed into one another and must be considered from as many angles as possible.
Ultimately the use of KPIs in an ITIL context comes down to empowering you with information which supports the steps you take in procuring, deploying and overseeing IT resources, whether they’re managed internally or outsourced to a third party vendor.
Objective metrics on software performance and subjective feedback from user experience surveys go hand in hand here, and your implementation of the data insights you extract has to be right for your unique business needs.