An important aspect described in the ITIL Continual Service Improvement book involves the various types of metrics that ITIL recommends and how they are used. The three types of metrics ITIL identifies are technology, process, and service. In this post, I will describe these three types of metrics and provide some examples of each.
Technology metrics measure specific aspects of the IT infrastructure and equipment. In most IT organizations, we are somewhat overwhelmed with the availability of various technology metrics. Some example technology metrics include:
- CPU utilization of a server
- Amount of disk space utilized
- Speed of a network interface
While technology metrics are abundant, they only provide information about a small piece of the service management environment and potentially only supply information about a tiny technical aspect of a service.
Process metrics measure some specific aspect of a process. Whether an organization is consciously following ITIL or not, there will still be several processes in place. Processes are measurable. Some examples of process metrics include:
- Number of failed changes per week
- Average incident resolution time per month
- Number of requests completed per week
Process metrics provide useful information about the functioning of one or more processes. Organizations should be careful to establish a set of useful process metrics without overwhelming themselves by looking at too many metrics.
Service metrics comprehensively measure a service, or as stated in the ITIL CSI book, they provide an end-to-end measurement of service performance. Service metrics can be elusive to define, but some that are worth considering include:
- Overall customer satisfaction with a specific service
- Cost of a specific service transaction
- Time to complete a specific service transaction
All three types of metrics should be defined in order to effectively manage the organization, and they should be woven together in a way that provides an overall, comprehensive understanding of the health of service management throughout the organization.