Primer on Metrics

Standards are especially useful (and needed) to assist organizations in understanding the metrics it collects on its performance. The use of metrics has been problematic, in part, due to the lack of definitions of such things as:

  • What a metric is
  • What a service is
  • What a critical service is
  • What a core service is
  • How to measure Effectiveness and Efficiency in any specific service
    • Effectiveness Metrics:
      • What Delivery of a given service is (Availability, Reliability, Speed, or Accuracy)
      • What Usage is
      • What Customer Satisfaction is
    • Efficiency Metrics:
      • What Cost,
      • Time, and
      • Quality of a given service is
    • How to measure each of the above areas of interest
    • What is great, good, bad, and terrible in reference to those measures

The metrics used to tell how well an organization is performing are invariably used to compare that organization against their peers. While this has a purpose, it is important to first have standards which can be used as a barometer of success or health, regardless of where the organization ranks amongst its peers. The goal shouldn’t be to be the best among the worse. The goal should be to be great. This common framework for measurement will build a basis for meaningful comparisons.


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