How to Capture the Metrics that Matter to the Business

    August 18, 2015

    By John Miecielica

    When you’re dealing with complex IT problems, it can sometimes be difficult to tell which way is up. Find out what information you need to know — and how it can help your business.

    It’s easy to get lost in the woods of a business’s data needs. Without the proper knowledge, a company can find itself adrift amongst enormous amounts of information, and in the confusion, could choose to pursue a path that isn’t in its own best interest. How can an IT team optimize its services to avoid such pitfalls?

    TeamQuest’s IT Service Optimization Maturity Model works as a compass to navigate the volumes of data within a company. Each of the model’s five levels of maturity specifies what kinds of data an organization is able to collect and how this data informs the process of improving the business.

    As a company collects data, it must ask itself: how can this information enhance our services? Data is critical in ensuring a system’s response time isn’t degraded, and that the system is fully optimized for present and future needs.

    Analyze This

    At the lower levels of the IT Maturity Model, data provides real-time answers to immediate questions. This is called descriptive analytics, and scours incoming data in order to develop alerts and automate corrective actions. One step higher, diagnostic analytics sift through that data to spot and prevent issues from ever happening.

    The more advanced the analytics, the more potent it is in guiding business decisions. Predictive analytics help to determine the best strategies for present and future needs. The final category, prescriptive analytics, suggests the optimal course of action based on those predictions.

    Canary in a Coal Mine

    At the heart of this issue is the so-called degradation of response time. Response time refers to the actual throughput (usually measured in bits per second), or speed, of an online service. As a company increases their CPU utilization (the demand being placed on a service by its users), at a certain point their response time will be degraded, negatively affecting operations.

    TeamQuest utilizes our network tuning system to determine the threshold of utilization at which a company’s throughput will be affected, and makes optimization recommendations based on their specific system and needs.

    As a company’s services become more and more mature, its system response time will decrease. Indeed, the time between recognizing an issue and responding to it is a barometer for how well the business utilizes their data. At lower maturity levels, customers or users typically notify the organization when an issue arises, and the response time is slowed by this reliance on outside alerts. With smarter data, the response time quickens through internal automation.

    At the most advanced levels, the analytics are of such intelligence that they preemptively identify issues — and suggest ways to solve them — before they even arise. Essentially, the aggregated information becomes a company’s crystal ball. The power to proactively optimize entire business operations reflects the highest levels of IT Maturity — the places where response time is the highest represent the gaps to be filled in order to become a productive, well-oiled machine.

    The Art of Communication

    A Van Gough painting.

    Communicating IT maturity needs to a business can take a certain degree of artfulness, even when ideal response times are reached. The simple reality is that all businesses require constant progress. The best solution is to phrase IT solutions in business terms. Translating IT needs into the language of the decision maker shows them for what they are — necessary expenditures to ensure positive ROI in the digital age.

    Explaining IT optimization can be confusing, and convincing a superior to consider enhancing IT maturity requires a similarly artful discussion. Combine the phrasing of IT maturity in business terms with tangible evidence for its success — in other words, cater your argument to the listener with concrete facts and appropriate wording.

    Overcoming language barriers between IT and management can be tricky, and TeamQuest has the necessary expertise to turn those problems into actionable solutions. When your business is lost or confused, turn to TeamQuest's knowledgeable team for IT service optimization concerns.

    (Image credits: mikael altemark/flickr; uhuru1701/flickr)