Five New Metrics for CIOs

“It’s a common misconception that money is every entrepreneur’s metric for success. It isn’t, nor should it be.”  Richard Branson

Five 9s is so 1999. IT leaders need to think differently about the performance indicators for themselves and their organizations.

1.     The frequency of features and functions delivered to the customer. How often is your customer getting new features with which they are delighted? Check your mobile phone – as fast as you update the apps, new updates appear. That’s the benchmark. Companies who want to survive and sustainably grow, must be delivering with increasing frequency to keep up and/or overtake the competition. The end-end DNA of the company must be geared towards customer-centric delivery at speed. 

Metrics20192.     The ratio of deliverers to projects. Deliverers defined as people who design, develop, test and implement features and functions, inclusive of the related infrastructure. If this # is any less than the average fully resourced delivery team then you’ve got one or more of the following problems: too many projects, lack of prioritization, insufficient developers, wrong talent mix. The result will be chronic delays, quality issues – ergo customer ennui at best, dissatisfaction and exit at worst. 

3.     The speed of information. How long does it take to get data in the hands of decision makers? Whether a contact center representative deciding how to source a customer request or executives determining whether to undertake a particular strategy, the velocity of identifying, arraying and presenting information is critical.  Information must be not just readily available, but aid and prompt individuals and teams that are best equipped to decide and act in the best interest of the customer.

4.     The level of employee engagement. There are methods and surveys to capture engagement, but true leaders do more. Walk around. Attend meetings. Ask questions and do something with the answers. Use the same tools as everyone else. Call the service desk yourself. If people are relaxed and open in your presence, including being willing to share concerns, good for you. If people panic and scatter ahead of you, akin to Sandra Bullock’s colleagues in the opening scene of “The Proposal” – might want to check yourself.

5.     The amount of time spent in meetings for average person in average work week, vs total working hours. A good proxy for this is the # of hours that meeting rooms are booked multiplied by capacity of the rooms. Compare meeting time to #1 or #2 above. If your frequency of delivery and speed of information is too low, but there’s a lot of meetings going on – start looking into your talent, processes and culture for grit in the gears. Another meeting-related metric – amount of meetings on the same topic. If decisions and direction can’t be figure out in one meeting (two, max) then there is an information or leadership problem.    

6.     Bonus metric! Vendor savvy, as measured by on-the-spot knowledge. A CIO should be able to contact their account executive or similar and ask for the products and services and the annual spend, and get an immediate answer. If the person accountable for the relationship with your company doesn’t have basic information at his or her fingertips, do a health check to see what else isn’t quite right. 

We’re almost 20 years into a new century so shed the five 9’s of the 90s and metric differently.

“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.” Plato

Worth Considering:

Love or hate season 8 of Game of Thrones, the cinematography was stunning. Right up there with Lord of the Rings’ Battle of Helm’s Deep.

Forget dragons, we should be worried about worms. On May 15, Microsoft announced a zero-day vulnerability similar to the WannaCry attack of 2017. Older operating systems which haven’t been supported by Redmond in years, such as Windows 2003, are vulnerable. Health care systems are particularly at risk given the amount of legacy technology in their environments. Another cautionary tale for CXOs – postpone eradication of technical debt at your company’s peril.

“Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything.” Gregg Easterbrook. True. All reports and dashboards should include the source and context of the data.

I wrote this blog in the back of a Jeep on a Saturday morning whilst driving to a family wedding, with my iPhone as a hotspot. The joys of technology.



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