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4 key metrics IT leaders
should use to plan 2014 goals

If you haven't measured your progress over the past year, you may find it difficult to convince the business of the value of next year's initiatives. 

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You must ensure you are quantifying the right efforts in order to promote IT from a cost center to an innovation center.

You can count on IT pundits to weigh in, annually, on priorities for the coming year. More often than not, their perspective is interesting. Or, at least, entertaining. But little else. Because few of these authors have actually been IT practitioners, their perspectives are not rooted in experience. Out of necessity, they focus more on trends instead of actionable advice about what and how to prioritize for the year ahead.

You, out of necessity, must not only champion next year’s IT initiatives, but also deftly apply business value to them. Pundits cannot possibly give you advice specific to your circumstances. But metrics can provide irrefutable evidence of your strategic prowess. You must ensure you are quantifying the right efforts to promote IT from a cost center to an innovation center. Achieve this by measuring the following and using the results as the basis for annual planning:

  1. Industry benchmarks: Determine the impact of last year’s efforts by comparing your metrics with benchmarks for your industry. Then drill down by comparing your organization to companies of similar size in your industry. Include internal satisfaction metrics in the equation, and then concentrate on raising value in any areas that are lagging.
  2. Contribution to innovation: Determine, benchmark, and measure the number of resources you can apply to initiatives that directly impact company objectives. Use these measurements to ensure your anticipated 2014 run-rate costs for operations and maintenance are lower and your team’s contribution to innovation is higher.
  3. Technology imperatives: Turn to metrics that pinpoint the success of social media, mobile, cloud, and big data initiatives in your organization. Without insight into the status of current projects, you cannot predict their future importance. As a result, you will find it impossible to prioritize the one or two that you should concentrate on in 2014. The business will be hard-pressed to finance initiatives if you can’t provide a business case for them. And you certainly do not want your team spread too thinly across these initiatives, succeeding at none.
  4. Success predictors: Look beyond just aligning IT and the business. Instead measure the collective efforts of the organization and use the results to build joint 12-month rolling roadmaps. These roadmaps are at the core of 2014 resource and project funding. Do not risk project funding by waiting to run large projects through IT governance. Proof of past successes, as evidenced by metrics, will be strong indicators that your initiatives are worth the investment.

If you are not currently committed to metrics, your first priority should be to make them an imperative. Fight the urge to focus on mundane tasks. Focusing on job requirements, rather than business imperatives, will do little to advance your career or IT’s value to the business at large.

Read previous planning priorities in Perspectives, the Informatica blog, to provide additional context for your 2014 efforts.

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