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Blah, Blah Blah (aka IT metrics and the need to justify your existence)

May 11, 2012

I’d like to start with the end of that title – the need to justify your existence – but I won’t. My twin brother tells me I can go existential in under 30 seconds, so I’ll refrain from that (for now).

Today, I was talking to Gary Bailey, the VP of IT at Penn Virginia in Houston., and he mentioned the need for meaningful, compelling IT metrics to put in front of his board and his business that say “What we are doing matters.” And to say it in a way that non-IT people could hear.

My playback to him was when it comes to IT metrics, what we need is no more blah blah blah. Lord, when I hear that, my eyes roll back in my head and I reach for a cup of coffee. Gary’s board is no different.

So we got to thinking.

Here are the 2 metrics (and maybe the only 2) that an IT leader needs:

Metric 1: IT’s Net Promoter Score. What if IT leaders took a lesson from the online world and asked the people they serve what they think of the job IT is doing? In the online world, it’s net promoter score – how many of your customers would recommend you? And then provide specifics.

Imagine if IT leaders tell their board or boss: Here is IT’s net promoter score. This is one of two measures by which we live or die (there’s that existential gene again). If it goes up, we are on the right track. If it goes down, then I will personally lead the charge to outsource this whole shooting match including myself.

I know, I know, you are thinking “I might not have a job with this approach.” Today, you might have a job but do you have a life (down, existential gene, down!). I would argue this is THE path to job security and, more importantly, job satisfaction. If you were THE guy to take that on as THE metric – you would be employed til kingdom come.

Metric 2 – The Cost of 1 Minute of Downtime on (Critical App Here). Tell the board, “Last year, I saved this company a potential loss of $x/week and $y/month and $z/year by having this application up and running for our company.” Put a stake in  the ground. Quantify it. Claim it.

If not now, when?

If not, why not?

The last thing any of us need is another blah blah blah powerpoint presentation.

Let’s give it a whirl. Wisegate members are now coming up with this approach and other game-changing metrics for the leaders in IT. Join in.

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