How to Know When You’re Doing Well
As an example, “5 nines” availability is a commonly used term in the industry for the accepted level of network, systems and application availability, which translates to just over 5 minutes of accepted downtime per year. Sounds like a number to use as a benchmark, right? Sure, only if your organization has exceptionally deep pockets and a critical need for that high of an availability. Most organizations can’t afford all of the N*2 redundancy required to deliver on that infamous metric. Instead of using isolated or textbook metrics, we should be measuring metrics and comparing to other organizations and those of like-size or application criticality. With that comparison comes a baseline based on other organization’s actual investments in their systems platforms and operational costs. The business will ask for the highest performing systems at the lowest cost possible. In order to meet those goals, know where you stand. MSPs and tool providers have access to this data, but most are not taking the effort to provide the value of that data back to you.
Ok, we have comparable, metrics. So what?
When You’re Doing Comparatively Well
In high school, an 82% is a B. No “ifs, ands or buts.” In college, though, that 82% could very well be an A, or even a C. Why? Because most classes grade on a curve – – the grade is not purely based on the percentage of questions answered correctly, but more about how one individual’s score compared to the class.
IT leaders are provided finite budgets and challenged with delivering Operational Level Agreements (OLAs – internal Service Level Agreements) back to the business. True success is demonstrating raw OLA metrics for the business, and then comparative OLA metrics. When success can be demonstrated comparatively, opportunities exist for bonuses, upward mobility, pursuit of transformative projects and much more.
How better to create a case to a CFO about the need to increase IT budgets than to present key metrics that are below comparative norms? Yes, a leader will need to support that the existing people and processes are not the issue, that is a given. Once that foundation is built, a strong case can be made for either new systems, more people, or investments in workflow or automation. Anecdotal or emotional arguments won’t result in increased spend. CFOs want data, and a combination of internal and comparative data will provide the detail that is needed. The choice is then up to the executive leadership: spend more to improve IT delivery to meet the standards of peers, or don’t increase spend and accept a lower performance.
The data exists. Our organization provides services to dozens of customers, very similar in nature. We share meaningful metrics around availability, performance, capacity, and support metrics such as incidents/device aggregated across our customer base to demonstrate these comparable metrics. If your provider isn’t doing this, they should. If your tools provider can’t or won’t provide you this data, they’re not putting data to use for their customers. Demand more – – what percentile are you in?