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The 4 Unconventional IT Success Metrics We Use (and Why)


June 24, 2021

4 minute read

MeasuringITSuccess FeatureImage

Cost per ticket. Mean time to resolution. Uptime. There are a lot of IT success metrics out there, but how do you know which ones to use?

IT’s role is no longer about “keeping the lights on” and reducing costs. Amidst accelerated digital transformation, IT teams are becoming change agents. They’re reimagining the role of technology, enabling organizations to transform and innovate. By applying new technologies and frameworks, they’re driving growth, solving business problems, and empowering employees in unprecedented ways.

Naturally, new responsibilities demand new definitions of success. So what are some metrics that reflect IT’s shift from functional to strategic?

There are dozens, but to get an idea, we sat down with BetterCloud CIO Tommy Donnelly. We discussed the four key IT success metrics we use here at BetterCloud—metrics that measure IT’s impact to the business, reflect the strategic nature of IT, and help transform productivity.

1. Percentage of time spent on automation

More than 40% of information workers said they spend at least a quarter of their work week on manual, repetitive tasks. So imagine this. What would happen if you spent that same amount of time automating things?

We have an “automationFIRST” strategy at BetterCloud. So not only do we track the percentage of work in each sprint dedicated to automation, but we also mandate certain automation goals each sprint.

Tracking (and mandating) automation is the key to transforming IT’s mode of operation from reactive to proactive, according to Donnelly. It creates the capacity for the team to focus on bigger, more transformational initiatives.

“If you’re not prioritizing automation—for example, automating onboarding— you’ll always be in reactive mode. And you won’t be able to scale the team as you adopt more technology,” says Donnelly.

“So we benchmark how much time we’re spending automating, and then we incrementally bump that up,” he adds.

2. Number of one-touch and zero-touch tickets

In a similar vein, this metric looks at how many tickets IT solves by using automation.

In Q1 of this year, Donnelly’s team found that over 38% of every ticket IT received could potentially be automated. So they created stretch goals around one-touch and zero-touch tickets for common manual processes. For example, two of their goals are zero-touch onboarding and hardware provisioning, in an effort to push the limits of automation and create a perfect day one for every employee.

For one-touch tickets, that “one touch” consists of kicking off an automated workflow (either in BetterCloud or some other workflow automation tool) that then solves the ticket. Something that might have taken 30 minutes or an hour to do manually is now done in literally a few seconds, reducing friction all around.

And zero-touch tickets take it one step further. For those, Donnelly says they’re looking at solutions that can parse through tickets, using natural language processing (NLP) to make a decision, and then take action—all without any human interaction.

“We want to see an increase of those tickets—either zero-touch or one-touch—because that shows us the percentage of tickets that we’ve actually automated. That’s tangible value, because it means lower resolution time. People aren’t waiting for IT, which creates a much better employee experience,” he says.

To make these types of tickets a reality, Donnelly says his team tracks every ticket they could automate. “If we haven’t automated it yet, we mark it as, ‘We could automate this,’” he says. Then, the next sprint, they work on automating those manual tasks.

“This way, you’re never doing the same thing twice if you don’t have to,” he says.

3. Employee wait time (in minutes)

On average, how long do employees wait for tickets to be resolved? We aggregate wait time across all tickets and measure this, in minutes, on a monthly basis. This is a clean way to communicate the value of investing in SaaSOps and an automationFIRST strategy’s impact on the business.

For instance, measure the total amount of time that employees are waiting on IT for ticket resolutions. Donnelly says he got this idea from conversations with HubSpot VP of Business Technology Ryan Ward. Measured monthly, the aggregate number will shock you.

A major benefit of an automationFIRST approach is that it reduces the total time people spend waiting—i.e., lost productivity. “And the way that you [reduce lost productivity] is either through automated resolutions or automation to prevent tickets. This measures the impact of automation to the business,” says Donnelly.

4. How well people are using technology within each department (i.e., maturity levels across data, process, and tech stack)

This metric is arguably the most impactful, as it helps measure transformation in every single department.

The goal of SaaSOps is to support a best-in-breed software strategy and drive broader organizational transformation. But that can’t happen unless you’re measuring how well people are using said software—and then helping them use it to its maximum potential.

By getting an in-depth understanding of how technology can enable each department, IT can multiply each team’s capabilities and 10x the entire organization, so to speak.

First, it starts with embedding IT into the business. By this, we mean literally embedding IT into each department—sitting in on meetings, determining how well different teams are using technology, and working with them to understand their challenges.

How “well” people use technology might seem subjective and hard to quantify. But Rudy Fraser, BetterCloud’s senior director of business systems, created an excellent framework to measure just that:

technology maturity framework matrix

This framework uses three criteria to measure where teams are on their technology journey:

  • Data. How are teams using data? Are they making data-driven decisions? Are there data silos? For example, less mature teams might not be leveraging data much, but transformative teams are using machine learning to drive business value from their data.
  • Process. How much of their processes are they automating? Less mature teams might still be doing a lot of manual tasks or only automating a few pain points, whereas transformative teams are using robotic process automation (RPA) or chatbots to streamline most, if not all, their operations.
  • Tech stack. Do the tools have enterprise-level capabilities? Are there redundant apps, or are all departments using the same approved software?

Using this criteria, we rate every single department on how well they’re using technology. Then we average those ratings and roll that up into a company rating, giving us a high-level metric that we can benchmark over time.

As you dig in and understand your organization’s technological adeptness and maturity, you’ll know exactly how to help departments use digital tools more powerfully. IT will then be able to drive true transformation across the org—and achieve SaaSOps success.

Join us this summer for a webinar series on how IT can embed itself across the organization to drive better alignment and achieve business objectives. Register right here: Hope to see you there!