Invest in an analysis of current metrics and those missing, and develop a plan for continuous management and improvement.

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1 Research Publication Date: 29 April 2008 ID Number: G Key Metrics for IT Service and Support David M. Coyle, Kris Brittain To evaluate IT service and support performance, senior management must focus on metrics beyond the IT service desk basics. A good performance management dashboard should be a careful blend of operational and service metrics. Key Findings Management tends to focus on readily available IT service desk statistics, which are only a partial indicator of overall performance. Unfortunately, these tend to provide misleading guidance. Most IT organizations struggle to gather the right mix of metrics from a variety of sources to create an IT service and support management dashboard. Recommendations Define key service levels and create more-detailed service-level goals based on historical operational performance metrics and the expectations of the business. Invest in an analysis of current metrics and those missing, and develop a plan for continuous management and improvement. Hold regular service-level reviews to keep the lines of communication open between the IT service and support group and business units. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

2 ANALYSIS The cost of delivering IT service and support continues to be a significant part of the overall IT budget. Basic metrics used to evaluate IT service and support delivery have existed for decades; however, they often lack the ability to align IT service and support with business value. Although the IT service desk still remains the major component of the IT organization's service and support strategy, IT organizations need to look beyond the Level 1 support metrics of the IT service desk to measure the efficiency, effectiveness and value of the entire IT service and support organization. By maintaining the status quo with its metrics gathering, the IT organization is unable to provide performance data as an analytical foundation for the business to make informed tactical and strategic decisions. This research reviews the required changes to deliver impactful and valuable IT service and support performance reporting to the business. IT Service and Support Metrics Must Evolve Historically, the IT service and support organization of the 1990s was measured by operational metrics focused on the Level 1 IT service desk. These IT service desk metrics included average response time, abandonment rate, total number of issues per employee, first call resolution rate and Level 1 analyst productivity. The IT service desk tends to be reactive, with an emphasis placed on how quickly it could react to the next call, rather than on call avoidance, business value or end-user productivity. As the IT service desk matures, it must strive to embrace industry best practices, such as creating self-service sites, building knowledge repositories, automating service requests, developing and administering service-level agreements (SLAs) and concentrating on more-advanced metrics, such as mean time to repair, end-user satisfaction and first-contract resolution rate (see "Toolkit: IT Service Desks Must Understand the Importance of First Contact Resolution"). Most requests historically have come to the IT service desk in the form of a telephone call (80% or greater of total requests); however, there is growth in channels, including , Web chat, self-service and online request management. IT service and support managers will be compelled to implement new strategies and IT services for support that require a review of metrics reporting. As the IT service desk matures, and process frameworks such as the IT Infrastructure Library get deployed, a deeper understanding that the IT service desk is the heart of incident management throughout all of IT begins to take root. In addition, the IT service desk doesn't work in a vacuum, because it must integrate with the service request, change, release and problem management disciplines in the IT service and support organization. Approximately 5% of the IT budget is spent on the IT service desk (see "IT Spending and Staffing Report, 2008"), and with the IT organization under constant budget pressure, the operations of the IT service desk are under continuous scrutiny. In most cases, innovation in IT service and support, contrary to what is hoped for, results in an increase, not a decrease, of contact demand in the form of calls, s, Web chat and service requests. Additionally, a large part of the perceived value that the business has for the IT organization comes directly from the interaction of the end user with the IT service desk team. These factors create the demand for IT management to continue to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and value of the IT service and support interactions with the end users. IT service desk metrics are still important; however, additional IT service and support metrics focused on overall costs, business value and end-user productivity are also critical. It is important to understand that IT service and support metrics not only must capture detailed IT service desk measurements, but also include the contributions of the Level 2 and Level 3 support groups. For example, the total number of Level 1 tickets received by the IT service desk is not an indicator of good or bad performance. And yet it is common to see this viewed as a primary indicator of Publication Date: 29 April 2008/ID Number: G Page 2 of 6

3 support quality. Measuring and benchmarking key IT service metrics across the entire support organization is essential for CIOs and IT infrastructure and operations leaders looking to improve three key areas: Business alignment and value End-user productivity Total cost of support Business Alignment and Value Business service metrics present the performance results of the end-user services in business value terms. For example, if the business views IT service and support as a cost center, it will want to track efficiency gains and/or cost reductions. However, if the business views IT as a business enabler, then performance metrics will focus on time-to-market values. In the end, the operational metrics must be wrapped with business metrics to closely align the IT service desk to business requirements. The end-to-end IT service and support that will be required of the IT service desk and other IT operations will be better measured by new, more-business-oriented metrics. SLAs are a key tool between the business and the IT service and support organization. Rather than presume which metrics and services are important to the business, the IT service and support organization should be required to sit down with business representatives, understand their needs and then create service-level goals that push the IT team toward service excellence, demonstrate true business value and meet the expectation of the business representatives. Operational metrics that may only be important to the IT service and support team are critical for improving team effectiveness, but they should give way to service-level metrics that validate the value delivered to the business. Always keep in mind that there are metrics to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the IT organization, and there are metrics to help show business value. There is a need for both, but only the IT-service-to-business-value metrics need to be part of the SLA. Typical IT service and support performance indicators that describe business alignment include demand management, time to complete a request for change and end-user satisfaction surveys. Operational metrics offer some insight into the satisfaction level of end users and the business, but the only way to know with certainty how satisfied end users are is to ask them. Leverage multiple end-user satisfaction survey types (periodic, transactional and passive) to effectively judge service value, expectations and experience at the point-of-service delivery. IT customer satisfaction surveys offer a substantive context of the IT service desk's role and customer productivity. Properly managed, the process provides valuable feedback for improving IT service quality and honing the service value by better aligning services to the business requirements. This awareness should persuade IT organizations to take a more methodical approach to enduser satisfaction (see "User Satisfaction Surveys Are Essential for IT Service Desks"). Demand management should track and calculate IT service and support request activity. Most IT organizations have rudimentary systems to track IT service and support activity (such as request type, category, frequency and timeliness), which prevents them from analyzing what types of services and support the business is consuming. IT organizations should strive to categorize each service and support request ticket and tie asset management and configuration item information to that ticket. A better understanding of the request activity will enable the IT service and support organization to better align resources, provide insight into emerging growth demand and provide data into a service's value compared with the cost of deliver. Publication Date: 29 April 2008/ID Number: G Page 3 of 6

4 Key metrics to measure business alignment: Periodic and transactional end-user satisfaction surveys Adherence to business-driven SLAs Demand management for service and support requests End-User Productivity If the IT service and support experience is burdensome for the end users, then it tends to dissuade use and reduces the value from their perspective. To improve overall end-user experience requires attention to the end-user productivity gains. Typical key performance indicators here could be mean time to repair, fluctuations in end-user contact frequency and overall time of interaction. Average contact per end user per month tracks the total number of contacts submitted through all the channels, divided by the number of end users consuming the services. Gartner research suggests that the average end user will contact the IT service desk to report an issue or place a service request on an average of between 1.1 and 1.6 times per month. During the last decade, the IT service desk has been unable to significantly reduce the average contact per month. Even with all its improvements to processes, standards and technology, organizations have added additional complexity, which has resulted in this steady state of contacts per month. The number of contacts per end user per month is not a telling metric of end-user productivity. For example, a low contact per end user per month number of 0.9 might be indicative of a well-run IT organization with strong processes and standards, or it might indicate a poorly run IT organization where IT service and support have gone underground and are being performed outside of the IT organization. This example exemplifies the need for end-user satisfaction surveys. However, fluctuations in average contact does warrant further investigation. The primary tenet for re-engineering or refinement in problem management is to reduce the negative impact of end-user productivity problems by shortening repair times and performing rootcause analysis to ensure that the same issues aren't happening over and over again. A decline in contact per end user provides management guidance regarding the success of root cause and other problem management enhancements. Average handle time refers to the average duration of the interaction between the Level 1 analyst and the end user. This has been historically viewed as a phone delivery, agent-handled contacts in minutes. Initiatives should search to understand the tool time interaction by type of delivery (Web chat, self-service search, , phone and so on) to understand the complete picture of end-user time consumed in the IT service and support process. Data should be captured and reviewed regarding duration, with an eye toward reducing unnecessary time requirements. Note that some cost-saving initiatives, such as remote control, push delivery cost down; however, they may increase the end-user participation. Web-based self-support can help reduce IT's overall cost of support, but those gains can be more than offset if it takes the end user longer to get the issue resolved. Web chat can cause reduction in the future, but initial introductions of this technology will result in little gain because transitioning from verbal to written communication may require considerable time and effort for support analysts. Key metrics to measure end-user productivity: Average speed to answer Call avoidance Mean time to repair for all severity levels Publication Date: 29 April 2008/ID Number: G Page 4 of 6

5 First-contact resolution Number of contacts per month per employee Channel delivery mix Abandonment rate Number of incidents caused by improper changes Which services and configuration items drive the most incidents Total Cost of Support Lastly, it is important to measure key performance cost indicators, such as cost per transaction and request avoidance, as a dashboard for overall support efficiency. To gain an accurate picture of cost by service, IT management needs to gather all contact data by tier and channel and calculate the associated costs. Channel data offers useful insight into demand trends, such as whether end users prefer vs. phone support, as well as potential cost-efficiency opportunities. For example, password resets handled by Level 1 staff cost, on average, $12 per transaction, while transactions managed by Web self-service (Level 0) cost $2 to $10. By taking into account service value based on satisfaction and SLA requirements, the delivery of IT service and support will be based on sound business guidance. Finally, baseline these costs to drive improvements and consider benchmarking against sourcing providers. Calculate the number of contacts avoided due to root-cause work and automations (categorize by severity). This data provides management guidance regarding the success of automation or rootcause analysis performed as part of problem management, and the cost savings gained from root-cause work. Another example would be password reset and security requests. Password reset alone can represent 20% to 35% of the overall IT service desk call volume. The number of password resets handled by agents vs. the number of resets handled by an automated system will illuminate adoption percentages, while establishing better virus automation may reduce contacts logged in a quarter-to-quarter comparison. Key metrics to measure total costs: Cost per call for Levels 0, 1, 2 and 3 Cost per contact per delivery channel (that is, phone support versus chat support versus automated service) Percentage of tickets being managed at Levels 0, 1, 2 and 3 Costs of common service requests RECOMMENDED READING "Toolkit: Running IT Operations as a Business" "Toolkit: IT Service Desks Must Understand the Importance of First Contact Resolution" "User Satisfaction Surveys Are Essential for IT Service Desks" "Toolkit: Incident Management Metrics Lack Insight Across Levels of IT Support, Poll Shows" Publication Date: 29 April 2008/ID Number: G Page 5 of 6

6 REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS Corporate Headquarters 56 Top Gallant Road Stamford, CT U.S.A European Headquarters Tamesis The Glanty Egham Surrey, TW20 9AW UNITED KINGDOM Asia/Pacific Headquarters Gartner Australasia Pty. Ltd. Level 9, 141 Walker Street North Sydney New South Wales 2060 AUSTRALIA Japan Headquarters Gartner Japan Ltd. Aobadai Hills, 6F 7-7, Aobadai, 4-chome Meguro-ku, Tokyo JAPAN Latin America Headquarters Gartner do Brazil Av. das Nações Unidas, andar World Trade Center São Paulo SP BRAZIL Publication Date: 29 April 2008/ID Number: G Page 6 of 6

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