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Determine what to measure and how

Plan to get stakeholder alignment before building your dashboards.

  • Identify what you’ll measure—and how—before building dashboard visualizations. 
  • Get stakeholders aligned with your goals before proceeding.

Getting started with Performance Analytics is exciting, and you’re going to want to jump in by building a dashboard full of rich visualizations. But don’t jump in just yet! Simply seeing a visual of your data isn’t going to create the change your organization is looking for.

Before you begin to build a single dashboard, you’ll need to define your organization’s objectives and be sure all stakeholders are aligned with those goals.

Step 1: Discover your key metrics

ServiceNow provides many indicators and dashboards out of the box, but you’ll get the most value when you first consider the key metrics that best represent and measure how your process is performing. To discover these key metrics, ask a few basic questions, including:

  • What are our strategic objectives for service management, and what do the executive stakeholders hope to change? For example, “Reduce IT spend by 10%.”
  • What processes affect this result and should be monitored? Select a process such as incident management or change management that has a strong influence on that strategic objective.
  • What metrics should we use to track improvement? KPIs such as, “How long does it take to close an incident?” or “What percentage of incidents are resolved with my SLA commitments?” can be identified as key metrics.

Find the answers to these questions to ensure you have organizational alignment before continuing.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Expert Tip

EXPERT TIP

To save time, think about everyone—and their outcomes—who’ll use the dashboards.

Step 2: Identify your lagging and leading indicators

Some metrics are great at representing how well a process is performing but can also feel difficult to influence or change on a daily basis. Performance Analytics shows you whether your scores are improving or declining over time. It also identifies leading indicators—the factors that influence or predict the outcome metrics typically monitored by executives.

Two types of indicators are especially important as you think about how to measure your process:

  • Lagging indicators – You’ll typically use lagging indicators to determine success by looking at past performance, but they’re naturally retrospective and difficult to influence on a day‑to‑day basis.
  • Leading indicators – Leading indicators are more difficult to identify, but they measure the actions that ultimately influence the lagging indicators.

Here’s an example of leading indicators related to the mean time to resolve (MTTR) of service requests:

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Lagging indicator

Leading indicators

Mean time to resolve

"% of P3 incidents not resolved within 48 hours"

"% of incidents resolved by first assignment group"

Table 2: Example of lagging and leading indicators

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

The relationship of the leading indicators provides advance notice about how the lagging indicator will be scored, so you can take action and positively affect the results. You’ll have a hard time directly influencing the MTTR score, but you can absolutely adjust behavior to affect the percentage of P3 incidents not resolved within 48 hours or the percentage of incidents resolved by the first assignment group.

If you’re having trouble following along, let’s look at a person’s weight as a great example of a lagging indicator. It might be how someone measures themselves on a daily or weekly basis to determine their fitness success (or failure), but it’s naturally retrospective. Weight is considered a lagging indicator because there is no advance notice about how it will perform unless you track additional influencing factors such as diet and exercise.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Figure 1: How leading indicators affect a lagging indicator

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

The additional factors that influence a person’s weight score are considered leading indicators because they can be monitored and adjusted to influence the next weight score. Let’s look at two leading indicators for a weight score:

  • Duration of exercise – Minimal exercise suggests that the weight score will increase, and increased exercise suggests that the weight score will decrease.
  • Calories consumed – Consuming many calories in a day suggests that the weight score will increase, and consuming fewer suggests that the weight will decrease.

When you visualize these leading indicators alongside your weight score, you can track your progress in real time so you can take action to influence the lagging indicator. In other words, you can exert greater control over your next weight score by monitoring your exercise and calorie intake.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Expert Tip

EXPERT TIP

Make sure the indicators you select are actionable and will change behavior.                                                 

A change in the indicator score should provide usable feedback about the performance of a process, group, or person. Start small with some of the default indicators and advance to more complex scenarios or custom calculations only as needed. It’s easy to discover many interesting indicators, but focus your time on those that will help improve your process.

MID Server

Each MID Server is a lightweight Java process that can run on a Linux, Unix, or Windows server. During discovery, the MID Server executes probes and patterns and returns the results back to the instance for processing. It doesn’t retain any information.

 

Checkpoint

Before you continue, make sure you:

  • Discussed the goal of the analytics project with all stakeholders
  • Can identify at least one process to measure
  • Document the lagging and leading indicators for the process

Explore additional phases

Plan

You want to be sure everything is in place for a smooth, successful deployment.

Deploy

You want to be sure you’re following best practices during implementation.

Optimize

You’re up and running and want to get the most from your investment.

Extend

You’re ready to extend ServiceNow into other areas of your enterprise.

Thank You

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