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Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for Small Information Technology Departments

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for Small Information Technology Departments

Individuals, departments, and companies must track their performance in order to have a baseline and comparator for improvement over time. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are a great baseline for understanding historical performance, setting future expectations, and keeping the team on the competitive edge. If you do not have a good baseline and understanding of performance metrics, you will not know when you are slipping into mediocrity or worse.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of KPIs for individuals and departments. I received a few e-mails asking what KPIs I would track in a small IT department. Since I received several requests, I thought I would do a short post on the topic. In a small IT department, you do not want to burden the team with a bunch of new tracking activities. These should add a minimal amount of time to daily activities and take only a few hours a month to document in a report format.

Individual or Team KPIs

  • Average Technical Support Tickets Closed Per Day | Current Period Vs. Prior Period
    This graph should show the average number for technical support tickets your team closed each business day by month. I would graph current year and prior year. You will need consistent rules about what is entered as a support ticket. If you do not have a technical support ticket tracking system, you can look at one of the open-source solutions or use Outlook task folder in a common Exchange mailbox, folder, or public folder.
  • Total Closed Support Tickets Verses Helpdesk Hours | Current Year Vs. Prior Year
    If you outsource this function, then this graph will be very insightful and valuable when it comes time for annual contract renewal. I also use it to help me manage the support hours by making sure that we keep up productivity standards and not just adding billable hours.
  • New Support Tickets Created or Open Support Tickets | Current Year Vs. Prior Year
    I like to track open technical support tickets over time. This helps to see the general open workload over time. If I see this number heading north, then I know it is time to add team members providing that my average close rates are holding steady or increasing slightly.
  • Average Time to Close a Technical Support Ticket per Month | Current Year Vs. Prior Year
    I simply want to know how long on average it takes us to close new technical support tickets. This goes to my service level commitments to the users we support. Are we getting the job done timely? We have to know.

Systems KPIs

  • System Uptime Percent | Rolling 12-months
    We have identified our core systems and targeted a 99.5 percent up-time. Any time one of these core systems are off-line unexpectedly the amount of time is logged. At the end of the month, we simply divide the total number of failed hours by the total number of operational hours in the month to see how we did.
  • Production Storage | Rolling 24-months
    The goal here is to help justify the purchase of additional storage when needed. Being able to show how storage demand has increased over time enables me to more easily acquire the new assets when the time comes. Obviously, we have policies around data storage and purging, but the reality is that is never enough to keep data from eventually exceeding current capacity.
  • Production Load | Rolling 12-months
    Here I would want to track the total number of users utilizing the server environment and the average peak CPU load. As the user base increases and becomes more demanding on the infrastructure, you should see the peak load on the servers steadily increase or hold higher levels for longer periods. Having this type of graph over time showing the increased pressure on the core server environment allows for easier acquisition of capital equipment. Be very particular on what servers you choose to track for this KPI.
  • Bandwidth Utilization | Rolling 12-months
    In the small environment, I have never been able to get close to the capacity of a modern Ethernet network. Therefore, I am really tracking just Internet bandwidth. I use a utility like MRTG to log and generate the charts based on the information it gathers from our router. You want to keep an eye on the peak periods and the total duration time at these levels.  I am not so worried about the 90th percentile.

This is not a comprehensive list of all possible KPIs for a small IT department to track. These KPIs should give a good insight into the operational efficiencies of the department while not being administratively burdensome. I would have no problem combining these KPIs with a decently written one or two-page monthly report and send it off to the CFO or CEO for review. I would be sure to review this information on a monthly basis with my team and even post the charts in a common IT work area.

3 thoughts on “Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for Small Information Technology Departments

  1. Thanks Michael, that was a helpful post. Seeing suggested KPIs for an I.T. department is more useful to me than a bunch of executive level KPIs 🙂

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