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To Improve IT Efficiency, Consider New KPIs

Kandji Team Kandji Team
7 min read

How efficient is your IT team? Historically, that’s been a straightforward question, with an equally straightforward answer: You look at the number of help-desk tickets they receive in a given time period, count the number that were solved, calculate the ratio of tickets solved to tickets received, and—voila! You have a metric. 

That ratio is, in fact, the KPI that many organizations have used to measure the efficiency of their tech teams. But is it really the best metric? Probably not.

It’s easy to take a high level of ticket resolution as an indicator of successful support. But it may actually just indicate that your IT team is spending a lot of time and resources on the wrong things. Even if your admins are supremely efficient at resolving tickets, if that’s all they do all day, then they aren’t tackling more important strategic issues. And if the real goal is for IT to play a role in your long-term success, its ability to solve lots of short-term problems may not be the best measure.

From Reactive to Proactive

The problem is when admins get stuck in a reactive help-desk ticket cycle: 

  • Problem arises;
  • Create ticket;
  • Queue ticket;
  • Resolve ticket;
  • Repeat.

 If (as you hope) your organization’s headcount is growing, your device count is too. And if you’re stuck in this reactive cycle, the demands on IT will escalate linearly with the number of devices. The only choice then is to hire more IT staff—or consultants or some hybrid of the two—to manage the increased workload. 

Unless that is, you can proactively reduce the number of IT staff required to handle tickets. One metric you could be paying attention to: How many IT people do you need per device? The lower that ratio, the more efficient (by definition) your IT team is. But how to do that?

How Many Admins Do You Need?

Self-service software stores are one possibility. Improved support chat and knowledge bases are others. But if you really want to move that needle, you need to think bigger. There is significant evidence that adopting Apple devices more widely reduces IT staff requirements. 

For instance, a few years ago the CIO of IBM reported that his company had seven engineers to support 200,000 macOS devices, compared with 20 engineers they needed to support 200,000 Windows devices. Furthermore, he reported that just 5 percent of the support tickets for Apple devices required an in-person visit for resolution, compared to 27 percent of tickets for Windows PCs. 

Fewer visits equals fewer admins required. That frees up resources.

A good MDM system (such as Kandji) can reduce the IT workload further still. Demandbase, which helps B2B companies with marketing, recently migrated to Kandji and calculated they’d reduced support tickets for Apple devices by 75 percent and saved roughly 50 hours a month on routine maintenance updates as a result. 

Implementing a good MDM solution makes it possible for IT to deliver apps remotely, hide apps they don’t want users to have, and provide application portals where users can select and install the organization-approved applications they need. It allows security staff to define how devices access networked resources, to ensure that devices meet security requirements before they gain access to company resources, and to meet compliance requirements. And it can do all that without requiring admins to physically touch the device. (That’s especially important in today’s hybrid world.) 

Adopting Apple and switching MDMs are the kinds of strategic projects that are tough for an overburdened IT staff to undertake. But they’re precisely the kinds of projects that can reduce the acute load on the IT team and let them have a deeper impact on the organization as a whole.

How Happy Are Your Users?

Other IT teams have adopted yet another measure of success: They focus more on customer satisfaction, based on voluntary post-service surveys. Not all the surveys get answered, but such teams still get a good sense of how they’re doing from those stats.

Take, for example, Director of Client Services Tom Anderson and the rest of the staff of Shenandoah University's Office of Information Technology. They’re a small team, supporting a small community of about 5,500 users and close to 10,000 devices. “We don’t completely ignore tickets,” he says. “But whether or not the customer is happy is more important to us. Our surveys, plus regular consultations with key stakeholders, indicate that they are.”

A large-scale survey by an outside firm last spring validated that approach.

Customer satisfaction with IT can be measured by asking many different questions. How long did it take for your issues to be resolved? Do you get the software you need? How hard is that? Do you get the access you need to tech resources? Are you able to get help for your problems? Does the help provided solve those problems? You can track yes-no answers or ask for numerical ratings, then track those metrics over time.

Satisfaction might seem like a squishy metric in a business context, but any company that sells and supports a product likely already tracks customer satisfaction. End users are an IT team’s customers; there’s no reason not to treat them that way.

The Bottom Line

In the end there’s no single way to effectively measure the efficiency of an IT team. In all likelihood, you’ll need to use some combination of:

  • Ratio of IT staff to devices (lower is better); 
  • Percentage of IT staff time spent responding to tickets (ditto); and
  • End-user satisfaction surveys.

The goal here is to empower the IT team to set higher goals—such as implementing a new MDM solution or adopting more Apple devices—than simply clearing tickets. In the end, the best way to make your IT team improve its efficiency is to resolve user problems before they arise in the first place.

About Kandji

Kandji is the Apple device management and security platform that empowers secure and productive global work. With Kandji, Apple devices transform themselves into enterprise-ready endpoints, with all the right apps, settings, and security systems in place. Through advanced automation and thoughtful experiences, we’re bringing much-needed harmony to the way IT, InfoSec, and Apple device users work today and tomorrow.