Whew! That’s a lot of material. I walked into class this morning and had a thick binder full of detailed ITIL info waiting for me. The terminology is dense and there are a lot of new concepts to absorb. There are only six of us in the class, and I’m the only one from the K–12 world. I asked a lot of questions, most of which seemed fairly intelligent sounding at the time.
I continue to wonder how best to map these IT service management concepts from the corporate culture to the work I do in a school district. There’s so much that is common between all of us who do this work, but there are some key differences. Our instructor works for Northwest Airlines. If their IT systems fail they might lose huge money in lost reservations. (I don’t think he worries much about planes falling out of the sky.) If mine fail I might have hundreds of students and teachers whose activities are ruined for a period of time. Those are both high stakes, but the way to measure them seems quite different to me.
Measuring performance is very important in the ITIL processes. My stack of materials has key performance indicators (KPIs) for each process. Here are a few examples from the Incident Management process (IM in ITIL-speak refers to what most people recognize as a traditional help desk/tech support request):
- total number of incidents
- mean cost per incident
- incidents processed per service desk workstation
- number and percentage of incidents resolved remotely, without an on-site visit
Does your school district’s IT department measure their performance like that? Mine doesn’t…yet. My ITIL book stresses the importance of collecting baseline data and measuring performance against it. I don’t have any baseline data. It’s never been collected.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what metrics make sense in a school setting. Something like “number of students and teachers affected per incident” or “instructional time lost per incident” perhaps. I need to find a way to incorporate metrics like that. It will make them more relevant to our “business” and communicate more clearly to teachers and administrators than the geekier alternatives.
What other metrics would make sense for a school IT department? I’d love to hear some suggestions. I’ll keep posting on this, but for now I need to dig in and do some studying. I’ve got the exam on Friday.
itsm, tech support