Organizations normally jump into IT measurement because they believe that measurement is good. That is, they have no clear business aim for their measurement. They tend to treat it as a program in itself, whereas measurement really should be part of a larger program. As a result, IT delivers data with the expectation that the value will magically "happen." Those programs almost always fail within a year. The lesson is that, while it is relatively easy to capture and deliver measurement data, it is much harder to deliver value that will justify the expense and revenue commitment required to generate that data.
Approximately 80% of IT measurement programs fail within a year of their start. While they deliver data, they fail to deliver value. They are started because management adopts the attitude that "you cannot manage what you cannot measure." In response, IT might create a list of metrics that may come from books, presentations on measurement, vendor suggestions, and other sources. IT gathers data for those metrics and creates a report, which generates excitement because no one had visibility into their processes before. Management may even spot some things that should be fixed.
For a short time, such a report might stimulate discussion among management, but since the measures are not linked to specific needs, they very seldom spark change in the way the enterprise functions.
The overall lesson is that measurement programs, by whatever name, have a very poor track record. Therefore, an organization that desires a measurement program needs to design it for success. That means going beyond capturing data, to delivering value that justifies the expenses of measurement efforts (see Figure 1.1).
The first lesson, therefore, is that metrics by themselves generate little value and value will not happen by magic. The problem with these measurement operations is they are standalone programs that treat measurement as an end product. To have value, however, measurement needs to be a tool to help drive and measure progress in a program designed to sustain or transform business value.