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Know Your Metrics: Lagging And Leading Indicators For Service Operations Umuc Wrtg 101 Comparison Contrast Essay

1472 words - 6 pages

Organizations are often disappointed in IT service levels because they’re fixated on metrics that, alone, will not ensure a positive customer experience. SLA is the most commonly known metric. But savvy IT Operations Managers, given a choice of only one metric to run an operation with, would not choose SLA. It is a lagging indicator, which is a metric or indicator that is calculated after the event is over. Lagging indicators tell us how we performed on work that was already completed. Another important classification of performance metrics called leading indicators are often overlooked in IT. Leading indicators tell teams how they’re performing in real time, on open issues. People use leading indicators constantly in their daily lives without realizing it. The dashboard of your car is full of them. We’re going to look at lagging and leading indicators in more depth to learn the different things they tell us about the operation, how they are measured and reported on, and the impact of their visibility (or lack of) to executives in the organization.
So, what do these different metrics tell us? Lagging indicators are like outputs. They trail behind your goal (e.g. meeting the SLA) and measure the actual results of work that has already been completed. Leading indicators are like inputs. They measure the activities necessary to meet your goal. There are normally many leading measurements associated with a single lagging measurement. Weight is a lagging indicator for someone who is trying to fit into a smaller size of clothing. Calories consumed and calories “burned” are two crucial leading indicators that help predict how we will perform toward our goal. To monitor our progress we must count the calories of all food eaten in a given time period, the number of calories burned, consider physiological differences in the calculation, count the balance of certain acids, carbohydrates, proteins, and different types of fat. Those are all leading indicators of a single lagging indicator, weight. Those who approach weight loss casually may have some good, but inconsistent results. However, those who put the work into balancing their foods and body chemistry can achieve a predictable, excellent result. Our operation needs to be predictable so the business knows what to expect.
SLA by itself is doesn’t give a manager the insight required to run a great operation. IT SLAs are normally tied to the time a ticket was in an “in progress” state. But “state” can be changed by the technician. If a priority 3 ticket has a 5 business day SLA, and it’s resolved inside 5 days, the SLA is achieved. However, that same ticket could have been in an “on hold” state for 30 days in addition to the “in progress” time, and still achieve the SLA. This is a situation where the SLA is not ensuring a good customer experience. Customers cannot wait that long for service. And crediting a service provider with an achieved SLA for this interaction is...

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