It’s a typical week at the office. You’re dealing with data recovery infrastructure, high availability systems, cloud backup, capacity planning and lots of other things that take up your time. Can you – in context – tell your stakeholders the cost of running out of capacity, for example? Do you have a metric that answers the impact to the business if an outage occurs? We’re taking a look at how Business Value Dashboards (BVDs) can help you provide context and clarity in terms of how IT adds value to the business.
When building a BVD, begin with the end in mind. Involve stakeholders – business leaders – in conversations to understand their goals, the services they need, and a timeline for getting the services up and running. Business leaders can provide the information you need to determine the appropriate level of IT spend to support and enhance business goals.
Next, you’ll want to look at your data and metrics. Metrics can differ across different industries, but in general, the deeper you dig, the more consistent the metrics become. Lower level metrics such as process compliance metrics work well as a starting point. If you’ve developed a process for capacity planning and have a good understanding of expected growth in demand, then technically you shouldn’t get into a situation where you have a major incident due to insufficient capacity.
Get a good understanding of how many emergency changes IT is being asked to make, because emergency changes introduce risk, and risk is bad. For example, are you patching a business application because a specific part of the system isn’t working? If that change wasn’t planned, it increases the level of risk to the business. Risk is bad for business.
IT departments today are operating in an environment where industry boundaries are blurring, according to a 2015 global CIO survey from Deloitte. “Internal company goals and external competitive pressures are now dictating priorities, and CIOs must be able to operate “outside-in” with regard to their industry context.” And with performance, cost, and growth making the top five CIO business agenda list, IT is thrust into the spotlight of doing more than saving money and correcting hiccups.
The problem isn’t that IT isn’t doing enough. You are. The problem is that the business doesn’t understand how well you really do your job, which brings us full circle back to clearly communicating the value IT contributes to the business.
A BVD is a way to showcase what IT is doing to help and enhance the business’ ability to generate revenue. The minute you associate a dollar amount to something, you increase your credibility with the business. You’re going to get a conversation started. If you have critical business systems that operate at 100% uptime, that’s great. But what’s going on underneath as it pertains to the business is what’s of value. You’re managing all of the risk associated with the technology and you need to understand how much it really costs to maintain uptime. Identify a metric your business unit relies on and report your metrics back to them in terms that allow them to understand how well your work, systems, and applications help them generate revenue.
The crew at Enterprise Holdings understands this concept well. They understand that the business lives and breathes on the metric of cars rented per hour, so whatever IT metrics they use internally, they always translate them into cars per hour when communicating with management. “This makes it necessary to correlate business transactions to resources consumed in order to estimate the cost to the organization. This is invaluable when it comes to translating IT metrics into the language of the business and seeing how well we are doing in terms of cost.”
Not everyone does this well…or at all. It requires a level of maturity with processes and tools. Not sure if you’re able to express real value to the business? Gartner analyst Ian Head has been quoted as saying, “Always begin by conducting a maturity assessment.” And we agree. Take the assessment.
Assess your IT maturity level. Build the necessary processes. Reap the benefits. We’re here if you need us.