As we have mentioned many times, goals and KPIs are essential metrics to set and follow in every industry. Goals are the specific results you are aiming at and aligning your actions accordingly. KPIs, on the other hand, are the performance indicators you need to track in order to measure your success. Like any other industry, IT companies also rely on setting goals for their outcome. Even though they differentiate, the process is quite similar. However, a key difference between KPIs in IT and other industries is the duration of the KPI. In marketing, for example, KPIs are often used on a campaign or channel basis. This means that the marketers track the progress of KPIs weekly, monthly and yearly. In IT, KPIs are not so much campaign focused and time-bound. They occur consistently and continuously. This is done to ensure the smooth work of the product and prevent problems as early as possible. Therefore, we can conclude that while in most industries KPI tracking is goal-oriented and focuses on achievement, in IT it is often related to problem-prevention and solving.

Common IT goals

As we have established there are subtle differences in the IT industry, let’s look into goal setting. Goals and KPIs in the IT industry can be divided by a few different factors, as listed below:

Financial Capabilities

Those are the goals, which aim at improving the company or project’s financial capabilities and spending. Those are goals essential to set. Without boundaries, the costs related to IT products and services can grow drastically. A goal in this area will aim at better tracking and optimizing the IT-related expenses and costs.

KPIs to track to reach this goal

As already mentioned, the financial burden of IT projects can be extensive. In order to prevent indulgence, IT professionals need to follow a specific set of metrics.

It is essential that they track the percentage of total expenses spend on IT. This is due to the fact that a company’s finances need to be balanced, so all needed activities can be executed. Moreover, professionals need to look into the costs related to each individual project.

To ensure full efficiency, they should track the expenses related to each employee and expenses per user for support.

Only by having this overview can they see the weak sides of their strategy and find ways to improve their financial capabilities.

Product and Customer Experience

Another essential part of IT goals is aiming at improving the product and delivering an excellent customer experience. This will include making sure that the product is always up to date and works well. Also, that the customer is satisfied, has all needed information and is frequently updated.

KPIs to track to reach this goal

As sales professionals often say, “The customer is always right”. This saying can be applied to the work of IT experts as well.

Like any other industry which is user-based, the IT industry needs to closely monitor the experience their customers get from the provided services. Here are some KPIs they need to watch out for:

To control and ensure the user experience, IT professionals need to prevent errors in the solutions they develop. Therefore, keeping an eye on the number of critical problems is key. Moreover, they need to look for the time it takes to act on such problems.

For example, the time it takes for critical responses, loading times, as well as the time it takes to register a new user.

By having those aspects in mind, professionals will be able to always provide the best possible experience for their users, make them happy and encourage them to be loyal.

Workflow improvement

In order to deliver great products and services, a team needs to work smoothly. Moreover, all members will have to plan in order to prevent occurring and recurring errors in the system. Goals in this area will include managing the IT systems and workflow. Also optimizing the tasks duration and completion can be key.

KPIs to track to reach this goal

When defining the KPIs to track in order to access the workflow improvement, professionals need to audit three different areas. Those include project completion, quality assurance and agility.

Project completion

To improve project completion, IT professionals need to measure all KPIs which overlook a project’s state. Many of them overlap with ones from project management.

It is essential to track the project delivery time, in order to ensure consistency with the given management deadlines.

To be even more detailed and reach those deadlines, it is essential to look into the work process itself. It is key to measure the percentage of completed tasks and milestones, as this will ensure that your workflow executes according to plan and runs smoothly. Another metric taking care of this is the schedule performance index.

Moreover, to evaluate the overall work of the team and all activities, it is advised to evaluate previous projects. Therefore, professionals need to investigate the successes, and fails of delivered projects and measure the on-time completion rate.

If all those aspects are properly tracked and evaluated, the team could gain valuable insight into their capabilities and areas for improvement.

Quality assurance

Another essential part of the workflow improvement is assuring the quality of the products. IT products are digital assets. So, their smooth operation needs to be closely reviewed.

KPIs important for this part of the process includes evaluating the availability (uptime) of products. Especially when compared to the downtime. This is needed in order to establish whether it is running smoothly, or if there are errors you need to further focus on.

Furthermore, the security of the product needs to regularly be monitored. This is in order to keep the users safe and prevent data leaks to third parties.

Agility

The topic of agility in the IT sector can prove to be a deep one to explore. This framework and its principles have influenced the work of the software development industry. However, we will take a simpler approach to the word “agile”.

Some KPIs which can be essential to measure include the time between failure. Additionally, the time to repair such failures. This will give the company evaluation of their capabilities. It will lead them towards fixing potential challenges in the workflow and employee skills.

Another metric which can help to work towards this is measuring the number of recurring problems. This will show all team members which are the areas they did not manage to learn from and avoid.

Lastly, it will be advised they track the restore success rate, as this will give them another evaluation of their ability to handle problems.

Other metrics

KPIs are a trendy topic in the business industry and plenty of companies apply them in their work. However, there are other ways to ensure reaching your goals. When talking about the services and the user experience, the IT industry has different ways to ensure good quality. Those include SLA and XLA. A service-level agreement (or SLA) is a document that aims to ensure the quality of delivered services. Its goal is to make sure all employees understand the standard of quality and make sure all expectations are fulfilled. This document comes with a set of metrics which can be handy to track in regards to quality. It also serves for mutual quality understanding when two different departments work together. However, as this document is very technical and outdated, it faces wide criticism from professionals. A more modern solution is the use of XLA (Experience-level agreement). This document measures the user experience by given criteria. However, it still uses SLA as a basis for provided technical services.   If you are interested in learning more about KPIs in the IT industry, feel free to put a question in the comments below. For more educating articles on the KPIs and goals, check the rest of the posts in our blog.