by Douglas Hubbard

Looking for Measures

Jul 31, 20072 mins
IT Leadership

A quick guide to identifying potential metrics

Ask Yourself For Example Resources
Does it leave a trail of some kind?
  • Employee turnover per year
  • Current level of customer retention
  • Database—you may not be aware of relevant data already tracked in your company

    Auditors—it’s their job to re-create the past from documents
    Could it be projected from past experience?
  • The productivity of programmers
  • Growth in product demand
  • Market research—this part of your firm might be able to give expert statistical assistance
    Is it possible that this may already have been researched by someone outside of your company?
  • The average life span of a sales-force automation system
  • The average cost of IT training for given type of user
  • Corporate librarian—they can usually point you in the right research direction
    Could it be observed in real-time?
  • The amount of time an equipment operator spends filling out forms
  • Just ask if you can watch or ask them to keep a journal (for a short period of time)
    Could it be estimated with random surveys?
  • The time employees say they spend doing some activity
  • The percentage of customers that say faster response to problems would be a significant factor
  • Human resources—they might be able to help with the sampling of employees

    Market research—they may already be doing some customer surveys that you could add questions to
    Could you set up a test comparing this to an alternative (i.e., a controlled experiment)?
  • The effect of a new system on the productivity of a sales clerk
  • The effect of a new system on customer retention
  • Perhaps other researchers in your company could help you set up controlled experiments

    Douglas Hubbard is director of applied information economics with DHS & Associates Inc. in Rosemont, Ill. He can be reached at