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How To Hit A Hole In One With The Right Analytics For Your IT Business

September 24, 2013  By Patrick Burns

The most common mistake in golf is a mental error, and it happens long before the first tee shot: Not practicing enough on the short game. The average golfer has no idea that more than half of all shots in a typical round occur less than 50 yards from the hole.

Every golfer wants to improve their game, but very few take advantage of even simple data to make rational decisions. Similarly, in business, using data to guide decision-making can make a big difference. Especially in technology service management, where the difference between success and failure can have a profound impact on business performance.

The most important thing is to make a fundamental commitment to metrics in the first place. Once you commit, you need to create a data analytics framework that measures the right goals for your business’ bottom line.

Below are several tips to get started:

  • Start by identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) most critical to your business. Think about the things that contribute directly to your business goals: revenue, customer retention, labor cost, efficiency, service level compliance, etc. Measure these monthly and hold stakeholders accountable.
  • Measure both operational (real time) and trending (long term) performance. Operational data will tell you what’s going on and keep things running smoothly – but trending data will provide guidance on strategic decisions that can change the game.
  • Treat your standard metrics like a focus group. This will tell you where to focus additional analysis. General reports often tell you “what” happened, but not “why.” Once you see a problem, go deeper and identify the underlying cause.
  • Focus heavily on customer-oriented metrics. Maintaining customer satisfaction will naturally influence your team to focus on the right priorities, much like in golf how focusing on hitting the ball squarely will produce a good swing out of muscle memory.
  • Benchmark whenever possible. By measuring your performance against peers and your own high standards, you will set sensible goals and always strive to improve.

Make data and analytics a competitive advantage in your business – it’ll be just like spending an extra 45 minutes on the putting green – you end up seeing your best score of the season.

Patrick Burns
Vice President of Product Management
Patrick leads strategic product planning for Autotask’s global IT business management platform. Patrick and his team define the business requirements and set prioritization for new improvements to the Autotask platform, managing them throughout the product lifecycle.
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