Chapter 17

IT Measures, Metrics, and Indicators

This chapter covers the topics of information technology (IT) measures, metrics, and indicators. Given the complexity that can (and often does) arise across IT functions, there is widespread interest in keeping track of IT's performance. Referring back to the Preface, this complexity may well contribute to the fact that IT projects typically are not executed to plan and often represent a large set of costs. A number of terms, including “metrics,” are used widely and inconsistently across the IT industry. This can introduce an unnecessary additional layer of complexity to an already complex situation.

My interest is in offering up simple and logical definitions for these terms so that they can be employed in a simple and useful manner. More specifically, I focus on two sets of terms that can be used in a variety of contexts across the IT industry. These sets of terms are “data, information, knowledge, and wisdom” and “measures, metrics, and indictors.” Measures, metrics, and indicators are based on data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. Given this relationship, I am going to focus on the meaning of these terms and their interrelationships.

Following my coverage of these two sets of terms, I am going to discuss the topics of benchmarking and return on investment (ROI). Both benchmarking and ROI work can, and often do, build directly on the areas of data, information, knowledge, and wisdom and measures, metrics, and indictors.

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