Forrester recently published a great research note Develop Infrastructure Metrics Using The Balanced Scorecard by Richard Fichera, Sophia I. Vargas with Glenn O’Donnell, Vanessa Wegner. In this research, the Forrester team outlines how to measure I&O effectively. This often came up in my discussions with end users, but it was never laid out as clearly as in this note. The issues outlined in this research include:
I&O is often not entirely sure what it is doing (in terms of metrics) and why.
I&O commonly views metrics as an output in their own right.
I&O organizations often have too many metrics.
I&O often makes the mistake of focusing on technology rather than business metrics
These show a systemic issue, this is partially why dashboarding, and having as many as possible is normally the goal of many I&O professionals. I use this graphic to explain the problem with this approach:
The purpose of these screens and all of the email alerts are for visibility, but instead we just overload ourselves with non-relevant information. Forrester’s analysts have some great advice for us, “Start by defining objectives and then develop metrics to support your objectives” and
“Document metric targets and baselines”.
Many of our more advanced customers at AppDynamics tie employee bonuses and compensation to these business impacting performance metrics. Forrester recommends this in the latest research “Tie compensation of staff members to metrics, and set initiatives for improvement”.
Finally, the most relevant recommendation made in this research is to “Aggregate metrics into a dashboard that uses language the business will understand.” This means measurements such as lost business transactions, lost customers, or other issues related to response time. Keeping away from technical metrics such as MTTR which lose the business audience are strongly echoed in this research note.
It’s time for IT Operations to align better with the business, by crafting and paying close attention to business metrics.