IT manager looking at code

IT METRICS THAT EVERY IT MANAGER SHOULD USE

TOP 15 IT Key Performance Indicators and Metrics

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An IT KPI or key performance indicator helps to keep track of all relevant aspects of quality regarding an IT project. KPIs help deliver projects on budget and time by analysing and optimising the IT ticket management, IT problem-solving and IT cost management.

Modern times require modern solutions and the IT industry is usually at the forefront of innovations. CTOs, managers, professionals, and project leaders need to constantly keep up with changes in order to optimise their performance and results. Modern KPI software helps organisations to automate processes and generate immediate insights from their IT data. In order to be fully successful, we suggest you create a complete IT dashboard from our selected IT metrics below. That way, you will gain full control over your performance while taking advantage of professional IT analytics solutions that will improve your bottom line.

Since we have explained what are KPIs in IT, now we bring you a complete list of the top 15 IT KPIs and metrics that every IT professional needs to know:

Total Tickets vs. Open Tickets: Do you measure the ticket churn over time?

Projects Delivered on Budget: Can you keep your budget within limits?

Average Handle Time: How do you keep your tasks under control?

New Developed Features: How many features do you continually develop?

Number of Critical Bugs: How many bugs do you regularly encounter?

Server Downtime: Do you know why and when downtime happens?

Mean Time to Repair: How efficiently you deal with unexpected events?

Unsolved Tickets per Employee: Do you monitor employee’s effectiveness?

Reopened Tickets: Are you handling your tickets efficiently?

IT Support Employees per End Users: Do you have enough IT support?

Accuracy of Estimates: Do you estimate your team’s time correctly?

IT ROI: How profitable are your investments?

IT Costs Break Down: Are you able to identify your costs’ breakdown?

IT Costs vs. Revenue: Do you compare your IT expenses to your revenue?

Team Attrition Rate: Do you manage to keep talented employees?

visual example of total tickets vs open tickets for the IT department

TOTAL TICKETS VS. OPEN TICKETS

Do you measure the ticket churn over time?

Monitoring the overall progress of your tasks and projects is key, and that’s why this IT KPI made it to the top of our list. An important number of unresolved tasks piling up might translate a problem across the system, or with the agents. This is why it is important to monitor it in relationship with other indicators (workload of the staff, their deadlines, etc) as displayed on our example aside. Thanks to a modern KPI software like datapine’s, you can easily track the ratio of open to resolved tickets, while keeping an eye on the most important open tickets to complete your tasks on time. You can also work with various filter options for the ticket history, and filter by specific project for instance, or by individual team or employee.

Performance Indicators

Monitor the ratio of open tickets vs. completed tickets over time for different projects, teams or employees, and find potential optimisation in your ticketing system.

Relevant Showcase Dashboard
visual example of one of the most important IT KPIs: projects delivered on budget

PROJECTS DELIVERED ON BUDGET

Can you keep your budget within limits?

Our second IT KPI example reflects on the project expenses: it estimates if the costs of your project are below or above the originally planned upper limit. To calculate the cost variance, divide the planned budget to the actual budget at a given time. On our example, we see that the budget is currently 8.1% over target. When budgeting for a project, we try to take all the costs into account but there inevitably are new costs that appear, unexpected events that change plans, etc – this is why it is important to add a certain margin of error to take them into account.

Performance Indicators

If your project budget is already over target in the early or mid-stages of delivery, you should investigate on the reasons: poor estimations? Underlying problems in the development? Find the potential issues to better stay within your budget limits.

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chart which visualises the average handle time of project tasks for different employees

AVERAGE HANDLE TIME

How do you keep your tasks under control?

This IT KPI is a key metric for every project manager – but also for employees – and helps you monitor your planned tasks, projects and sprints. By analysing your past sprints, you can optimise the workload of each employee. In our example aside, we take the case of a 5-day sprint. We see that Nancy has completed her tasks within the 5-day sprint-limits, usually already after 3.7 days, and doesn’t have a heavy workload. Paula, however, can rarely accomplish her tasks within 5 days. You should hence analyse the reasons behind it: is it due to bad planning management, or is Paula lacking the skills required to accomplish that task? On overall, however, the average handle time for all the employees is 5.5 days, which is still within the framework.

Performance Indicators

Analyse your sprints at your preferred time-interval (one week, two weeks, four weeks, etc.), and optimise the workload of all team members. You can then plan the average handle time more accurately, and hence have more control over your project deadlines.

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illustration of the IT metric new developed features

NEW DEVELOPED FEATURES

How many features do you continually develop?

Each IT team is focused on developing new product features but the important part is to measure and compare the results over time. This KPI for the IT department will make sure you have a clear overview of the feature development in order to implement those findings within your next sprint planning, internally across the business, or launching it to the public. Usually, each feature should be tied to a bigger business goal (acquisition, retention, conversion, just to name a few) and it’s important to filter the ones that wouldn’t bring additional value to the company and focus on the most profitable ones while keeping the track of the teams’ performance.

Performance Indicators

Measure the developed features over time, compare, and optimise based on your overall business goals and teams’ productivity levels.

Relevant Showcase Dashboard
data visualisation of one of the most critical IT metrics: critical bugs

NUMBER OF CRITICAL BUGS

How many bugs do you regularly encounter?

Problems and/or bugs arise every day but the most critical must be monitored over time, intuitively organised, and analysed in depth. That’s why a KPI for the IT manager such as the visual one on the left has advantages in showing the total number of critical bugs, the ones that were reported internally by your team, and externally by the end-user. The point is to keep these numbers as low as possible since a high number of externally reported bugs can affect your brand as a result. An overview over time can tell you if the critical bugs are rising and, in that case, it might make sense to dig deeper into causes. Perhaps the product was launched too soon or new features don’t work as expected?

Performance Indicators

Keep an eye on the overall number of critical bugs in order to avoid deeper issues within the business and potential damages to the brand image.

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data visualisation of the it metric server downtime

SERVER DOWNTIME

Do you know why and when downtime happens?

The server downtown is a great IT KPI for the server performance management. It tracks the amount of time your IT infrastructure is down and not working. Downtime can be planned: for maintenance, updates or reboots, that are necessary to a well-functioning infrastructure. However, downtime can also be unexpected, when the system crashes – and at this moment, you will need to have an outage response plan efficiently designed to minimise that unforeseen downtime. You can measure this IT metric on a monthly basis, or on a quarterly or annual basis – but the more often, the better, so that you can track more accurately if there are specific times at which this happen, and identify the root causes more easily.

Performance Indicators

You can measure the downtime in minute alongside the uptime as a percentage. Having an uptime over 99,9% is considered good and is favourable.

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visual representation of the mean time to repair

MEAN TIME TO REPAIR

How efficiently you deal with unexpected events?

The mean time to repair is an IT KPI that is measured calculating the time between the start of an incident and the moment it is resolved. It includes the diagnostic time, fixing time, alignment, calibration, test, and wait time to get back to production. It is a reliable performance IT metric since it measures how good a team is at facing, responding and repairing a problem. Our IT KPI examples aside organise the different time to repair according to their nature (DNS issues, hardware failure, ...) and the time they need to be troubleshot: that way, you not only know where you should assign more staff to address the issues, but also how long it takes on average to do so. That is important for planning ahead.

Performance Indicators

By knowing which issues appear and for how long, you can better develop standard processes and strategies to tackle them as they happen, and benchmark over time the evolution.

Relevant Showcase Dashboard
see rich examples of interactive real-time kpis in datapine view our live it dashboard
data visualisation of the it kpi unsolved tickets per employee

UNSOLVED TICKETS PER EMPLOYEE

Do you monitor your employee’s effectiveness?

This is another pretty self-explanatory IT KPI. Unresolved issues can also be called open tickets, and calculate the number of issues that remain unsolved and need further communication. Tracking the number of tickets that remain unsolved by worker provides a good view on each of your employee’s performance. It can also create a healthy competition and give everyone an idea of where they stand with regard to their peers. Displaying them as a ratio between the solved and unsolved tickets will show who is off track and you should investigate the reasons why: it might be because of a very demanding customer, or a lack of training, etc.

Performance Indicators

The lowest the percentage, the better, since it means that you have more issues solved than not.

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IT metric reopened tickets

REOPENED TICKETS

Are you handling your tickets efficiently?

Our rundown of the most prominent IT performance metrics wouldn’t be complete without the metric focused on reopened tickets. This basically shows how effective is the task handling, usually feedback or bugs, and doesn’t require additional reopening. If the team performed well, the less repeated problems will appear again, and your improvement efforts will be positive. It’s good to track this metric over time and see which months brought more reopened tickets, in order to improve the team’s performance. The goal is to keep the ticketing system as clean as possible and the numbers on the lower end of the spectrum.

Performance Indicators

Track the number of reopened tickets over time and talk to the team to see what happened during certain spikes in your metric’s data.

Relevant Showcase Dashboard
line chart showing the development of the IT support employess per thousand end users

IT SUPPORT EMPLOYEES PER THOUSAND END USERS

Do you have enough IT support employees?

This IT KPI represents a self-explanatory ratio: how many support workers does your company have to help a thousand of end-users? On our example on the side, there are 10 support employees for an average of 99.177 end-users daily. But the ratio keeps on growing over time, and from the lower-end of the target zone it increases to reach the top and even goes beyond. That translates a need to hire more support workers for them to continue providing a high-quality work without being under too much pressure, trying to solve a pile of tickets that never decreases. There is no exact ratio to follow, as it depends on the type of users you have in front of you, but also on the product you support: a small mobile app requires less time for support than a high-end analytics software suite. This IT KPI is especially important for hard scaling IT companies.

Performance Indicators

To know if your current ratio is good, validate it with different quality support metrics. If such ratio doesn’t provide a good support, set it lower by hiring new support employees.

Relevant Showcase Dashboard
chart shows the accuracy of estimates for different IT developer

ACCURACY OF ESTIMATES

Do you estimate your team’s time correctly?

In many IT scenarios, developers need to estimate how much time they need in order to complete a task. It’s extremely hard to estimate 100% correctly each time, but the point is to be as close as possible. Missing the launch date because of an increased number of bugs that developers need to deal with is common in the IT-sphere and requires regular tracking in order to be better prepared for the future. Here it would also make sense to be aware of “just” tasks: it’s just a small task, it will only take 10 minutes to fix it, it shouldn’t take a lot of time, etc. These are often ad hoc tasks that cause delays and missed deadlines since developers can easily underestimate the time needed to focus on the issue.

Performance Indicators

Monitor the task efficiency with a percentage and break it down by team members so that you know which tasks have caused inaccurate estimations and examine why.

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line chart showing the development of the IT KPI 'IT ROI'

IT ROI

How profitable are your investments?

An IT metric relatively universal, the IT return on investment measures the efficiency of your investments. An ROI analysis usually answers the famous question, “how much bang for the buck do I get?”. It is an easy gauge for profitability, evaluating how much you get back for one dollar of investment. To push it a bit further, when measuring returns, you should go beyond obvious metrics like cost savings or revenue increases, and include all levels of performance relative to a program or a project’s goals. You will thus measure more than only financial, raw returns, and expand them to achieving desired outcomes and producing the right results.

Performance Indicators

The ROI is measured dividing the benefits by the cost of investment. The higher the better of course. It is important to measure it over time to see its evolution, that should go upwards.

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stunning pie chart of the it kpi 'IT costs break down'

IT COST BREAKDOWN

Are you able to identify your costs’ breakdown?

Knowing how and where you are allocating your money is another of the essential IT KPIs you should track. Breaking down the investments into the different unit levels (software, hardware, SP, personnel) and each of their components (maintenance, infrastructure, development, operations...) will give you a better insight on where the money is spent, and let you identify your main cost drivers as well as opportunities for improvement. That also lets you perform a more accurate financial budgeting and projections. For an optimal budgeting though, it is better if each department makes sure to measure in detail their IT costs.

Performance Indicators

The goal of this IT metric is to identify the main cost drivers and analyse them more in details. Try to make it as accurate and detailed as possible.

Relevant Showcase Dashboard
line charts showing the IT costs and revenue per month

IT COSTS VS. REVENUE

Do you compare your IT expenses to your revenue?

The last of our IT KPIs compares the IT expenses to the revenue generated over a year. It is an important metric for tech companies that scale heavily over a short period of time, and witness large revenue increases. Are the costs maintaining the same level of percentage to the revenue? Or are they, as it often happens, growing exponentially (and often enough, uncontrollably)? Such case scenario is not uncommon and impacts negatively on potential profits, and that is why it is important to track this metric and keep it to a steady level. Another scenario would be that with a stagnating revenue, if IT costs steadily increase over time, the impact on profit margins would be unfavourable.

Performance Indicators

Define a target range for your IT costs as percentage of revenue, so that you can make profit. If this ratio rises sharply, identify the reasons behind that and if necessary, take action to reduce these costs.

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IT team attribution rate for the last 12 months

TEAM ATTRITION RATE

Do you manage to keep talented employees?

Team attrition is a real issue, especially in the technology sector where talents are nevertheless scarce and companies need to develop good offers for candidates that they want to keep in the long run in order to avoid additional recruiting costs. High attrition has a massive impact on organisations, meaning the separation can cost to over 125% of an employee’s salary for companies in the software industry. To keep this number as low as possible, IT leaders need to develop abilities to keep talented employees, and, in order to do so, an IT metric that keeps track of relevant attrition rates through a period of time can certainly help.

Performance Indicators

Oversee the attrition rate over a timeframe and develop strategies together with HR to keep talents in order to avoid potential additional business costs.

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