A relatively new CIO asked me what top metricsI would recommend he measure his IT organization against. I remembered what Maynard Webb, recounting his experience as CIO of eBay had written when he reviewed my book “ “CIOs have to be masters of many disciplines—they are technology strategists, business partners, project managers, operations gurus and budget analysts."
So, I rattled off a few metrics focused on economics, service levels, customer satisfaction, innovation etc.
Then I reached out to Chris Curran who in his usually wonderful sharing attitude not only responded but shared with the world this blog post.
I also got feedback from other IT executives. Most of them cautioned – focus on a few key metrics.
But then each emphasized their own IT experiences. One I respect as very innovative highlighted IT innovation and alignment with business and customer/revenue goals. Another who is a damn good fiscal manager had SOX deficiencies as one of his key metrics. Yet another who comes from a lean manufacturing background emphasized IT process metrics. Another who works in a global, very decentralized company emphasized internal relationships and customer satisfaction metrics. I know of a CIO whose users expect high-touch local IT support. So, his staff has a heavy component of desktop management since his customer satisfaction scores are heavily influenced by that.
Great, really thoughtful input from all.
Except…when you add them all together, you end up with 40-50 metrics and this would violate the caution each of them had about a scorecard with too many metrics .
Besides exposing me to key metrics I could not have dreamed off, the big aha from this exercise was maybe a single “balanced scorecard” that will work for very CIO is a bit too much to expect. Better to give them a Chinese menu of key metrics and let the executive team, not just the CIO, decide on the top few areas they want to measure the CIO and IT against. And repeat the exercise every so often as scenarios change. The key metrics would vary by culture of the company, the competitive landscape, the financial shape of the company, the regulatory environment etc.
Talk about a painful, but so critical, business/IT alignment process..and think of the even more painful SLA conversations with suppliers who want 5-7 year legally binding contracts and who are ready to draft change orders for everything. That’s an even more critical alignment of IT and supplier goals and incentives.
And then again using the Polymath AND not OR theme of my book where may be, just may be the 40-50 metrics may soon be the reality CIOs will have to live with.