In today’s IT environment, measuring work and performance is important. Knowing where your business needs to improve will help you identify how to grow your business. Unfortunately, it’s easy to lose sight of what you must measure. The diversity of IT opens up many ways to measure performance. As a business, you must identify the areas relevant to your goals and operations. IT metrics can help with that.
In this article, I’ll go over what IT metrics are, the common ones you can implement, and how to implement them.
Let’s start with a simple definition.
What Are IT Metrics?
IT metrics are the benchmarks or baseline values against which you measure an employee, team, and company’s performance during a specific period. These metrics help you understand each employee or team’s performance levels. Consequently, you can determine the overall impact of their actions and strategies on your company.
As you may have guessed, the ways to measure performance are endless. In the next section, I’ll go over the common IT metrics used by most companies.
4 Common IT Metrics
The metrics you track mostly depend on your business objectives and the outcome you expect to know. This is why it makes sense to group IT metrics across different areas of operations. In this section, I’ll discuss metrics for the following areas: availability, quality, security, and value. Let’s start with availability metrics.
Availability metrics help you evaluate the duration of availability for applications, devices, and services for your users.
|Load time||Load time is the average time it takes for a web page to load. |
It’s calculated as the difference between initiation (when someone clicks on a website) and completion (when a page loads fully).
|Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)||MTBF is the average time between system failures or breakdowns. |
You can use this metric to evaluate the safety and performance of complex systems like machinery and generators.
|Mean Time to Failure (MTTF)||MTTF is a maintenance measure that calculates the time it takes to repair a failure. |
It’s only related to assets that you can’t or shouldn’t repair.
|Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)||MTTR is a maintenance measure that computes the average time required to repair technical and mechanical devices, including the testing time. |
It applies to repairable devices.
|Network latency||This metric measures the delays of a network, and the time it takes for a data packet to move through multiple devices to reach its final destination.|
|Service availability||This metric, calculated as a percentage, is the time that a service/application is fully accessible and available for customers.|
The above metrics provide insights into the availability of devices and the performance of individuals who maintain them.
Quality metrics measure the usability of an application or service. The following metrics measure quality:
|Automated test coverage||This metric measures the number of lines of code that test cases cover. |
It’s the extent to which source code gets tested by QA teams which can impact the quality of the end product.
|Bug count density||This is the number of bugs in a software identified during development divided by the size of the software per thousand lines of code. |
Typically, you can consider a defect density of 1 as ideal.
|Escaped defects||As the name suggests, escaped defects are the number of defects customers find after a software release. |
This measure reflects the efficiency of the testing team.
|Release readiness||This is a process where you compare the actual performances against a checklist to evaluate if the software is ready for release.|
|Test efficiency||You can calculate this metric as the total number of defects found during the unit, integration, and system testing divided by the number of defects found in the unit, integration, system, and user acceptance, multiplied by 100.|
|Throughput||This is the number of transactions produced during a test. |
It can also denote the traffic that a website can handle in a defined time.
Overall, you can use the above quality metrics to evaluate the performance of individual tests and QA teams. They also provide a glimpse into the efficiency of existing development processes and can help you identify business areas that require improvement.
Security is an important aspect that’s woven into every business operation. Here are some security metrics that can provide a glance into your company’s overall security.
|Compliance documentation and change logs||Compliance documentation includes records, observations, change logs, and reports that establish conformance with a standard. |
You can view this more as a checklist to internally audit for compliance.
|Mean Time to Detect Vulnerabilities (MTDV) and Mean Time to Resolve Vulnerabilities (MTRV)||MTDV is the average time it takes for a cybersecurity team to detect vulnerabilities, and MTRV is the average time it takes to resolve them. |
Both these metrics provide insights into the performance of cybersecurity teams.
|The number of critical or high vulnerabilities||This metric shows the number of vulnerabilities classified as high or critical. |
Many companies have industry baselines, and anything over the established values reflects security issues.
|Technical Debt Ratio (TDR)||This is the time and cost it takes to fix the codebase over building it. |
Ideally, you can consider a TDR of 5% or less as acceptable.
Overall, these security measures help you better understand the security vulnerabilities in your company and the reasons they exist. They can also help to evaluate the performance of cybersecurity teams.
Value is an important category as it evaluates the impact of your business on customers. It can help you understand the areas for improvement. Here are some value metrics to consider.
|Cost savings||This fairly direct metric measures the costs saved without compromising on the quality of your end offering.|
|Attrition||Attrition is the number of employees leaving your company against the total number of employees in your company. |
This value reflects your HR policies, company culture, and other employee-related aspects.
|Customer satisfaction||This metric evaluates how satisfied a customer is with your offering. |
Often, you can calculate this as the weighted value of satisfaction survey questions.
|Customer usage||The number of customers using your product and the change (+/-) during a period reflect your company’s performance levels.|
|Lead time||This is the time it takes a product/process from initiation to delivery. |
In software development, it encompasses the duration of the entire lifecycle.
|Return on Investment (ROI)||This is another straightforward metric that evaluates the performance of your overall business unit.|
|Time to market||This is the time it takes to bring a product to market, from initiation to final delivery. |
It reflects the performance of individual teams, collaboration, decision-making, and more.
The above category evaluates your company’s overall performance and how different teams come together to achieve common goals.
These metrics help you evaluate the state of your business’s performance across several aspects. Feel free to refer back to these tables if you need to.
You now have the knowledge, but this alone isn’t enough! Next, I’ll explain how you can implement these metrics to get the most out of them for your business.
Implementing IT Metrics
The choice of metrics and their implementation depend greatly on your business’s goals, expected outcomes, policies, and more. This means you don’t have any “best practices” to consider when implementing these metrics.
That said, here’s a broad overview of how to start, assess, and get the most out of the metrics you choose to implement.
Choosing Your Metrics
Every company’s needs and goals are different. Therefore, you should identify the metrics that can provide the most insightful knowledge, which you can use to reach your business goals. The metrics you choose should provide actionable insights into the following:
- Productivity of your employees
- State of your security
- Performance of your systems and infrastructure
- Experience of your end users
- Overall operations to help you achieve your business goals
Accurate information is essential when it comes to getting accurate insights, so consider how you want to gather this information. Often, device-related metrics get captured through analytics platforms. Generally, you evaluate anything related to employees and values using surveys and outcomes. It’s also important to consider the frequency of information gathering. Too much information can be a good thing, but it can also be bad.
Visualizing and Sharing Data
Transparency in gathering and evaluating will go a long way in establishing trust with your employees. Create custom graphs, charts, and other visual media forms to understand metrics’ impact better. Make sure to share these with relevant stakeholders.
Evaluating Your Metrics
In today’s dynamic business world, revisit your metrics periodically to assess their impact on your business and make any necessary changes. This feedback process ensures that your efforts add value to your strategic decision-making.
I hope that the above metrics and the process to implement them will come in handy for improving your operational efficiency, employee performance levels, and the success rate of your business objectives.
Before we end, here’s a quick recap on everything discussed so far.
A Quick Recap
To conclude, IT and reporting metrics are important tools that you can use to assess the performance of different functions and aspects within your company.
You can categorize these metrics depending on what you want to measure. I included tables that discussed metrics for several business aspects, such as availability and value.
When implementing these metrics, consider exactly what you’re trying to measure. Look at the areas in your business that require improvement and focus on those.
I hope this article acted as a good starting point to understanding how you can use IT metrics to help evaluate your business’s performance.
Do you have more questions about IT metrics? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below!
Are IT metrics and KPIs the same?
No, they’re not the same. IT KPIs measure performance that impacts key business goals, while IT metrics measure the progress toward specific business objectives. Also, metrics are operational and help to improve your everyday activities, while KPIs are strategic and help with decision-making.
Do I need IT metrics for my company?
Yes, every business needs metrics as they provide a way to measure and evaluate performance. They also help you know if you’re on the right path to reach your goals. More importantly, metrics help to identify bottlenecks/anomalies, which enables you to fix them at the earliest.
Which is the most important metric?
This is difficult to answer, as it depends on your company’s goals, nature of work, and more. In general, metrics related to cybersecurity, value to your company, and the quality of deliverables are important. Examples of these include Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), Technical Debt Ratio (TDR), return on investment (ROI), lead time, and customer satisfaction.
What are the broad categories of IT metrics?
All metrics fall into two broad categories: operational and strategic. Operational metrics evaluate the performance across all operations, such as software development, testing, marketing, etc. On the other hand, strategic metrics evaluate the success or failure of a particular strategy and the subsequent decision-making involved.
How can I choose the right metrics for my company?
A good starting point is to evaluate where you currently are now and the goals you want to achieve. The gaps between the two ends can help you decide how you can get to your goals and what aspects to measure on the way.
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