Friday, March 24, 2017

The Multifaceted Aspects of IT Management Dashboard

A dashboard is a tool to visualize and show the metrics of the values and the effectiveness of the measured department (IT), or the measured activity produces.

A Dashboard is a support decision instrument, gives instantaneous information about the organization's main drivers. In other words, it is a tool which is a part of a management system. The feature of the dashboard is to display information that can be customized and categorized to meet a user’s specific needs. Here are the multifaceted aspects of the IT management dashboard.

Well selected metrics and performance measure data: Selecting the right key performance indicator is one of the most important steps in measurement because this process includes to answering why you are choosing that, how you will use them and whether you have enough resources to manage information. Always attempt to identify areas in which measurable improvements can be realized, providing demonstrable value is essential. Even if you choose the right KPIs, you must change them from time to time accordingly. Otherwise, your business is going to be driven by that specific set of KPI. You are going to focus on them only, but ignoring the bigger picture of the dynamic business. Ensure that IT performance measures are both qualitative and quantitative, and implement whatever mechanisms you need to be able to gather the data. Selecting the right metrics is critical from performance management perspective as well. There’re always two sides of measurement. The measures to motivate teams to achieve more and the measures to distract management from the ultimate business goals. KPIs and the associated metrics drive priorities and behaviors. Therefore, KPI setting should focus on achieving the ultimate goals of business as a whole.

Top accomplishments for strategy execution: Performances are not just numbers with metrics, they are numbers in context, results related to your strategic goals. Measure IT performance through the benchmark which can reflect the multidimensional value of IT to the business, not only for the bottom line but also for the top line growth. IT Metrics have to evolve from being a cost center to becoming a revenue generator.  This is an important step to building IT reputation as a strategic business partner. As for success metrics, either new or old, for success will be predicated on the strategy and sourcing model. However, the problem is that the IT folks tend to see value in things that aren't as important to the business. KPIs for IT need to be defined in keeping the view of the corporate objectives and put into a mix of other KPIs. One of the other biggest pitfalls for performance measurement is measuring the “part” with ignorance of the “whole.” In other words, what are the organization's rewards and recognition structure perpetuating? The problem stems from the way outcomes are being measured. When the collective outcome is the focus, the silo walls collapse. When individual and departmental outcomes are measured, the walls go up. So the performance measurement should ensure the business as the whole is superior to the sum of pieces, also make sure IT and business are always on the same page.

IT Departmental P&L: Running IT as the business with a clear P&L. Build an intuitive dashboard to monitor the performance. It is a very good idea to make IT metrics transparent to the other departments, to visualize the progress and also to evaluate if the KPIs being used are the same as the ones they use to describe IT activity. Every new technology adopted must facilitate the business but also bring down the incremental cost of growth and the time to market. That should be the true metric for IT to demonstrate its P&L, as well as how it impacts the business growth. Another sign of a poorly run IT department is the way in which the business leaders choose to measure them. If their targets and measures are focused purely on controlling the cost of IT, then the group has failed to show the business value that IT brings. This can lead to a lack of trust from the business towards IT and a continuous questioning of "what are you doing?”  IT metrics need to evolve to something that matters to the business audience, at the same time that "business sentiment" needs to get put into something more tangible, such as optimizing processes or improving productivity.

Employee Turnover/ Attrition percentage: People are still the most expensive cost for either running IT or the entire business. When employee turnover or attrition percentage is high, IT performance will suffer. Thus, the values ROI delivers in talent management must be a subset of the organization’s own measure of created business value.  Once you've defined those clearly in the context of your organization that should give you the critical factors you can measure progress on. Take a look at what is important to your business’s long-term growth strategy, and figure out which metric to use. The best IT team should always have well-mixed strengths, skills, capability, and experience. Too much short-term focus in perceived "benefits" (shorter time to fill the vacancy, lower total compensation, etc.) could be very problematic over the long haul. The one way to find out that the performance measurement setting is ineffective is by looking at the behavior and culture the KPI is driving. The goal of well-selected metrics and effective measurement should help align performance management, talent management, and culture management to achieve the high-performance result and maximize its full potential.

Key challenges and relevant information: Dashboards are supposed to be objective. Services provided by IT are critical to efficiency and quality of operations of a corporation. Hence, it needs to be monitored and measured objectively, that it continues to perform optimally. A simple dashboard with a few basic instruments is helpful and illuminating. Because the trick is that the more information you expect to include in your first launch of a dashboard, the more you risk, both in terms of delayed implementation and in terms of loss of buy-in from stakeholders if the data quality is low. The key to success is focusing on business-critical information at the start and not getting bogged down in the 'collect everything you can count' trap. The purpose of measures is to focus on improving overall IT capabilities and maturity.

A dashboard is a tool to visualize and show the metrics of the values and the effectiveness of the measured department (IT), or the measured activity produces. The dashboard is also a good tool to provide input to the decision maker and help create a degree of abstractness in presentations that enables executives to have their saying in a meeting or make an effective decision. The dashboard is an effective method to show IT value, furthermore, encourage the IT departments to create their own marketing plan for dealing with their different 'customers inside and outside of the organization.


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