Every IT organization tends to measure success somewhat differently. However, I’ve found that those with the the best grasp over their service quality really focus on the service desk performance.
The IT service desk is the single point of contact between end users and a business service. As much as the service desk can be the driver of efficient incident resolution and customer satisfaction, it can also be the bottleneck. To ensure that your service desk is operating as efficiently as possible, here are the five service desk metrics you should be tracking in 2017.
1. Incidents Detected by Customers vs. Operations
Are you reacting to incidents after they have affected customers, or are you proactively addressing potential issues before they impact service? This KPI is the difference between reactive vs. proactive incident management.
The organizations I speak with typically tell me that ~70% of tickets are reported by customers to the service desk. While this number is shockingly high, the first step is to actually measure this KPI, because it’s arguably the biggest reflection of IT operations effectiveness. Many organizations don’t do this today.
2. Ticket-to-Incident Ratio
Enterprise service desks create a lot of tickets, and each ticket rarely maps to incidents 1:1. In reality, the service desk is creating tens or hundreds of tickets for each major incident, especially when there is cross-stack impact. This means that tickets get escalated to different teams using different tools, and therefore these teams are often investigating the same incidents with a unique perspective. How long does it typically take siloed teams to realize they are investigating the same issues? The answers that I’ve received range from 30 minutes to 24 hours.
By measuring this KPI, you can see how your monitoring and event correlation strategy is impacting the efficiency of your helpdesk.
3. Number of Repeated Tickets
Tracking the number of repeated tickets over time is crucial because it tells you something very important: Is your operations team learning from failure?
Mean-Time-To-Detect (MTTD) and Mean-Time-To-Resolve (MTTR) are such important KPIs for ITOps and DevOps that they simply don’t have the time or resources to focus on any post-mortem practices. Once incidents are resolved, teams immediately move to the next issue. There typically isn’t any intelligence to capture the root-cause analysis and resolution steps taken. If implemented, this intelligence could automate much of the resolution in the future, and even prevent it altogether.
4. Actionability of Tickets
An operations manager from an automotive digital enterprise told me that she measures her team’s success by the number of false tickets created. By her definition, a false ticket is one that gets closed without any action taken. She told me that, before modernizing their event management strategy, 66% percent of her organization’s tickets were false and only 34% were actionable.
This metric is crucial to measure because false tickets are pure noise, a hindrance to productivity. Whether a ticket is actionable or not, someone will spend the time and effort investigating that ticket — that’s time that should be spent elsewhere.
When the false tickets number in the thousands per day, as is the case with many of the organizations I have spoken with, there is a serious productivity burn.
5. Number of Ticket Reassignments
We all know how ticket assignment goes. The service desk will stick the description of an application alert, for example, into a trouble ticket. That ticket will get forwarded to the application team who looks at it and says, “that’s not us.” The ticket goes back to the service desk who says, “maybe it’s compute.” Compute looks at it and says, “that’s not us.” This cycle can repeat itself for quite some time until everyone hops on a bridge call and figures out which team really owns the ticket.
The larger the number of reassignments, the bigger the indication that your service desk lacks context. Service desks need machine intelligence to understand the scope of complex incidents to indicate which subject matter experts need to be involved.
Go Forth & Apply…
As we step into 2017, modern event management solutions are available that can help to improve these KPIs.
But, the first step is to begin measuring them!
About the author Sahil Khanna
Sahil Khanna is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Moogsoft, where he focuses on the emergence of Algorithmic IT Operations. In his free time, Sahil enjoys banging on drums and participating in high-stakes bets.