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Does IT Need A Dashboard to Show Value to the Organization?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pearl Zhu from Future of CIO writes on how dashboards can be used effectively by IT to show value and furthermore, encourage the IT departments to create their own marketing plan for dealing with their different 'customers inside and outside of the organization.

As internal IT faces competition for the first time from end users with their own devices and App Store solutions and cloud providers that are trumpeting “better” economics and faster time to value, one has to ask the question, “how IT “markets” its activities and benefits to the organization it serves”, “how is IT showcasing the value it brings?”.

1. A Formal IT Governance Function is in Place

In mature IT governance, value delivery is defined by these four questions. All activities, projects can be measured against these:

  • Are we doing the right things?
  • Are we getting the benefits?
  • Are we getting them done well?
  • Are we doing them the right way?

IT value to the business can be categorized in a number of ways, such as:

  • Improving Speed/Agility (Speed to Market, ability to change etc)
  • Improving Revenue (enable the business to gain market share)
  • Customer Acquisition/Retention (optimize end customer experience...)
  • Lowering Risk (reduces business system downtime, create business continuity)
  • Lowering Cost (reduces the cost of current business process, improve margins, freeing up capital for new ventures, etc)

There are at least three target audiences who are interested in IT value presentation: IT staff, IT management, and business leadership.Each has a different focus. And there are four main purposes for IT metrics:

  • Provide transparency into IT
  • Aid setting direction for IT
  • Drive performance of IT
  • Communicate the business value of IT

Dashboards are supposed to be Objective

What IT needs is good IT governance, the processes of which would populate the dashboard with information. Dashboards are a way of presenting information and are dependent on an array of other processes and technologies for their data input.

CIO Dashboard - the Governance layer (the Evaluation, Scope and Monitoring) and the tactical management layer (Run, Build, Deploy and again Monitor) can provide certain governance insight. Dash Boards are helpful to monitor KPIs and present the IT operations to higher management.

A dashboard is a tool to visualize Key Performance Indicators and as such it certainly a must to show the metrics of the values and the effectiveness to the measured department (IT), or the measured activity produces. Dashboard is also a good tool to provide input to decision maker, and help create a degree of abstractness in presentations that enables executives have their say in a meeting or make effective decision.

Dashboards are supposed to be objective: Services provided by IT are critical to efficiency and quality of operations of a corporation. Hence it needs to be monitored and measured objectively, that it continues to perform optimally. A simple dashboard with a few basic instruments is helpful and illuminating.

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Source: Future of CIO

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