IT Metrics that Matter the Most

What IT metrics matter the most? Is it how fast an issue is resolved? How many times the same issue reoccurs? Cost to resolve the issue? All of these metrics can have a varying degree of importance depending on who you ask! Today we are going to look at the IT metrics that provide the best overall picture of how your IT is performing for your business.

It goes without saying that collecting proper data for the metrics is required. Many internal groups utilize email or other basic ticket tracking methods that will not provide the needed data. The setup of a ticketing system is the subject of another post, but suffice it to say that it would be yet another good reason to outsource your IT versus DIY in-house!

Ticket resolution ratio (open versus closed)

The analogy of a sink filling with water is used to illustrate ticket volume and resolution. The facet is the incoming tickets, and the drain is the closed tickets. If the ratio of incoming tickets is consistently higher than resolution the sink eventually overflows! This does not mean that every ticket opened in a given period (usually a day/week) also has to be closed then. What is does mean is that you should be closing the same (or more) amount of tickets to keep the level of tickets the same in your queue (sink).

We look at this on a weekly basis and find that a 100%+ close ratio is the minimum for acceptable long term performance. If you have less than this tickets will start building to a point where the team cannot “dig out” of the hole.

Ticket Age

People don’t like to wait, it’s a fact of life in the IT support world. This metric highlights those tickets that are not being handled in a timely manner. The resolution ratio will not show you this by itself. Obviously there are tickets that are going to take longer to resolve than others, but if the age of a ticket is past 1.5x of the AVERAGE then it needs to be looked at. Yes, there is a better way to calculate this, which would be to figure out the standard deviation of the ticket ages at closure and then highlight those that were more than 1 standard deviation from the mean….but we are trying to make this easy to apply!

Ticket Resolution Time

The amount of time actually spent resolving an issue is one of the first metrics people track. Not how long it takes to actually get the ticket closed (this is ticket age) but how much direct time is involved in solving the issue. This one is tricky because most groups struggle to accurately capture the true time spent resolving a ticket. A proper ticketing system AND training are key to capture this information correctly.

Once you have resolution time capture correctly it can be very useful in pinpointing areas you can improve from a system, end-user training, and strategic standpoint. Attacking recurring high-resolution time areas can reap big benefits over time. If setting up end-user VPNs is consuming a lot of time per request it would make sense to consider switching over to an SSL VPN or Remote Desktop Gateway setup. Then your time is freed up to focus on other support areas!

Finally, it is also helpful to classify tickets in different buckets that will ensure the ticket metrics remain valid. A bucket for all the reactive Helpdesk tickets, versus a bucket for all the “can we do this” tickets. A good ticketing system will have this built-in!