Nowadays, everything is about performance. And there’s always room for improving productivity. Companies and their IT departments measure each action, activity and task in order to optimize their results. Some indicators may also help identify the company’s shortcomings in these areas to keep from falling into a situation of underperformance that may threaten the organization’s stability in the long run. Being able to identify an IT underperformance situation can be a very good way to make the department more efficient, with positive impacts on growth factors such as capital and labour.
Managers need to develop their performance indicators, as well as a basis for evaluation, in order to periodically measure performance and draw conclusions. By paying particular attention to these tools and acting proactively throughout the company’s life cycle, leaders are given the opportunity to remedy a critical situation in time to promote growth.
Here are a few tips for limiting the risks of underperformance
- Lead and correct company weaknesses by methodically applying steps to anticipate risks
- Gather as much information about the workplace (internal and external) as possible
- Communicate clearly with all stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, investors)
- Analyze business results and key factors for success
Beyond these observations, we will focus on the IT department and identify a few underperformance indicators and how to fix them.
1. Number and severity of complaints
The computer system is at the heart of any business since it connects departments together and integrates the client into their process. As it is exposed to all company stakeholders at all times throughout the day, the IT department is the most likely to receive complaints. Furthermore, the more responsive and efficient an IT department is to its users, the less likely it is that it will have to deal with complaints. On the other hand, a faulty or underperforming computer system won’t be able to satisfy users and will likely generate more complaints. Furthermore, requests will sometimes be incomplete or duplicated, thus undermining internal efficiency. This applies both internally and externally, in the context of a call center or a helpdesk.
2. Low capacity for completing projects
Any business is characterized by a series of projects, internal or external, to develop an organizational structure (i.e., newly implemented software, procedure change) capable of meeting customer demands. However, for each project, the company must invest a number of resources—human, material, computer, financial—which require efficient management. However, an underperforming IT department will have difficulty carrying out projects of various scales. Indeed, a project management system that is not sufficiently fine-tuned or managed effectively or that does not perform well enough to support new challenges demonstrates sub-optimal management of internal capacity. As such, when implementing a new software solution, ITSM, service desk or any other solution, proper planning of resources is a must.
3. High employee turnover
Personnel management is often equated with pay, leave, sick leave, etc. However, this term involves much more than just paperwork. Indeed, in order to keep a team active, motivated and effective, managers must develop their employees’ skills and support their career objectives. By implementing a regular process for monitoring the rate of staff turnover and absenteeism, the IT department can anticipate flaws in human resources and implement ideas to retain employees while keeping them motivated at work. As such, the implementation of knowledge transfer programs or measurable audit systems for operational activities will allow the IT manager to analyze their staff’s performance and make decisions according to the results.
4. Lack of innovation or adaptation to new practices
Nowadays, innovation and new technologies are the cornerstones of progress and adaptability, whether in the corporate world or in any other related field. To establish one’s credibility, exhibit professionalism and renew confidence among customers, investors and employees, a company must maintain a high level of innovation. Otherwise, a company without the capacity for renewal is synonymous with loss of speed, loss of competitiveness and lack of performance. Moreover, in an IT department where technology is the core unit, a lack of adaptation is one of the most blatant symptoms of underperformance in managing IT services and should never be taken lightly. A good way to adapt is to listen to the customer, who is the end user. Innovation or implementation of new products, in a context of adaptation, should always be focused around one goal: satisfying the user.
5. Absence of system updates
This indicator is related to the previous one in the sense that IT departments must remain constantly updated to help the company maintain a competitive advantage over the competition and provide a range of services that are more effective and efficient for all internal and external users. Otherwise, an entity which does not update its systems may be affected at any given time. Regardless of the field, communication between systems is crucial.
6. Strategic misalignment
Any IT department that does not have a clear or formalized vision of its goals is in fact opting for a passive or reactive-style management, making it less efficient. This lack of formalized strategy can lead to strategic misalignment, which does not meet business objectives. Therefore, defining the IT department’s objectives and making sure they are aligned with those of the business, as well as establishing a monitoring system to ensure that these objectives are on the right track, is a good way to avoid venturing into underperformance territory.
7. Growth mismanagement
Finally, another underperformance indicator is characterized by poor growth management, either because productivity gains are not distributed properly or because the level of service demands is too great relative to the number of available resources.