This article was co-authored by Chris Boyd, a Senior Associate at Metis Strategy.\n\nToday\u2019s CIOs lead innovation efforts aimed at increasing revenue, accessing new markets, and growing product lines. However, according to Foundry\u2019s 2022 State of the CIO Survey, 76% of CIOs say it's challenging to find the right balance between business innovation and operational excellence. If CIOs can\u2019t master operational excellence - \u201ckeeping the lights on\u201d - they lose credibility with their peers and run the risk that the spotty Wi-Fi in the executive conference room will overshadow new innovations.\n\nTo strike the right balance, many technology leaders have adopted a Service Quality Index (SQI) to consistently measure and communicate the quality of \u201ckeep the lights on\u201d work so their peers can quickly confirm the basics are covered and endorse innovation initiatives without pause.\n\n A CIO Service Quality Index (SQI) defines the key operational capabilities a CIO is responsible for delivering, the relative weight of the capability through the eyes of the customers, and the corresponding metrics that determine quality. In practice, it works like an equity index such as the S&P 500, summarizing the holistic performance of the CIO\u2019s operational capabilities (e.g., the underlying stocks) with a single number, providing a basis for macro trend analysis (e.g., period-over-period performance), and allowing stakeholders to double-click into specific capabilities (e.g., sectors) for root cause analysis.\n\nThe customer-driven origins of SQI\n\nFedEx built a SQI to better understand the level of quality being delivered to customers. They began by assessing their customer experience, which revealed 71 critical data points that strongly influenced the quality of service delivered, such as lost or damaged packages, missed pickups, overcharges, delivery delays, complaints, or unanswered customer requests. Each of the 71 data points were weighted to reflect its relative importance to the customer based on the assessment.\n\nThe beauty of FedEx\u2019s SQI is in its simplicity. In the dashboard, the company summarized the performance of all 71 data points with a single grade on a 0-100 scale. Once the SQI was published, FedEx executives could monitor the dashboard to identify trends and understand how well the company was serving its customers. Leaders also used the SQI to prioritize their work and increase focus on initiatives that made the biggest impact on customer experience. With a common set of data points to rally around, teams across the organization spun up projects aimed at \u201cmoving the needle\u201d on one or many of the dimensions on the dashboard. FedEx\u2019s SQI also helped ensure priorities were clearly communicated across the organization, and today it plays a major role in further improving customer experience and enabling the company\u2019s growth.\n\nBuilding a CIO Service Quality Index\n\nChances are you are among the majority of CIOs struggling to balance innovation and operational excellence. Or perhaps you are looking for a mechanism to show how aging infrastructure affects service quality to justify a new investment. In either case, consider constructing a SQI using the following five-step process as a smart first step.\n\nBringing it together\n\nBuilding a Service Quality Index will not make operational issues vanish. However, it will give you a tool that simplifies performance measurement and allows you to be surgical about remediation plans. Whether you are in the early or late innings of mastering operational excellence, the SQI can give you some breathing room and begin shifting the conversation from keeping the lights on to turning on new lights.