13 Outdated Tech KPIs (And What Businesses Should Track Instead)

Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council

No industry in the world evolves as fast as the tech industry. Yet some tech teams track the same key performance indicators they have been following since the middle of the last decade. While some of these metrics are still useful, others are entirely outdated.

Some holdover tech KPIs offer nothing to help companies improve and, in some cases, tracking them uses up valuable time. To help IT departments that want to drill down to access truly useful information, 13 experts from Forbes Technology Council look at the most common outdated metrics that IT departments still track today and what they should focus on instead.

1. Volume Of Tickets Closed

Traditional IT teams usually measure the sheer volume of tickets they close. This classic KPI fails to tell the full story of how well IT is actually performing. Newer KPIs such as impact and customer satisfaction tell a richer story about how well IT is serving the company’s workforce, which in turn elevates the company’s overall productivity. – Yu Lee, Kasasa

2. Mean Time To Resolve

Tracking mean time to resolve is one of the common IT KPIs that in fact can do more harm than good. This metric encourages IT employees to address simple and easy issues to keep the numbers small and ignore more complicated incidents that may require some thorough investigation. Such practice puts organizations at risk of missing signs of a sophisticated cyberattack, which may result in a data breach. – Ilia Sotnikov, Netwrix

3. Bug Counts

Many teams are measured based on the number of bugs that make it into production. Instead of focusing on defects, focus on the team’s velocity— the amount of new business value they produce in a certain time frame. There is one caveat: Teams must fix bugs before writing new code. This creates a negative feedback loop that drives quality improvement and increases quality. – Dave Todaro, Ascendle

4. Reported Incidents

Many security teams measure the increase or decrease of reported incidents. That sounds reasonable, but it’s a flawed metric that does not necessarily reflect an improved security posture because it excludes the unknown. Time is better spent scanning for vulnerabilities and flaws across applications and infrastructure to ensure full visibility into risk—which is much more likely to improve security. – Ernesto DiGiambattista, ZeroNorth

5. On-Time Delivery

Tracking on-time delivery has been a pretty standard KPI for IT projects. While on-time completion is important, we want the product to function smoothly and have cleanly written code and documentation for anybody to make small changes. Think of the long-term effects. A modularized project is easier and faster to upgrade. You can upgrade one component at a time without disrupting the whole product. – Vikram Joshi, pulsd

6. Known Security KPIs

Too many organizations are still overly concerned with KPIs on known security threats, such as malware attacks, and addressing them with rules-based technology like security information and event management tools. While defending against known threats is important, companies must also concern themselves with protecting against unknown threats—zero-day attacks, insider threats and the like—that conventional security KPIs ignore. – Saryu Nayyar, Gurucul

7. Storage Space

Tracking storage space is now irrelevant since most cloud providers offer unlimited storage. IT teams should track user adoption and activity instead. There’s little difference in business value between 1 TB and 10 TB of untouched, archived files; however, there’s a massive difference between 200 active users collaborating daily on a small document repository and 20 similar users doing the same. – Stephane Donze, AODocs

8. Impressions

One KPI that I see all the time is impressions. This can be in the form of website hits through to social media views. It has some use—like growing brand awareness for a larger company—but more often than not it’s just a metric for marketing agencies or social media marketers to look impressive. Instead, focus on engagement: If 10 people see something and one clicks, that’s who you care about. – Artem Petrov, Reinvently

9. Story Points

Story points in Scrum and Agile are no longer useful for IT teams. Story points are subjective estimations of effort required and can often be inaccurate measures of time. Team members often spend unnecessary time on defining the amount of points. Instead, we like to use T-shirt sizing, where you give a rough user story estimate by classifying items into T-shirt sizes ranging from small to large. – Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management

10. Uptime

Take the amount of energy spent on maintaining and tracking 99.999% uptime and devote half of it to connecting engineers and DevOps to customers to gauge happiness, feature engagement and overall love of the project. Honeycomb.io has T-shirts that say, “Nines don’t matter if users aren’t happy”—they couldn’t be more right. – Shawn Estes, Global Agora, LLC.

11. Downtime

With the fast-paced, ever-changing nature of IT, downtime is no longer relevant. What really matters is lost client hours of connectivity, for any reason. If a user can’t connect to the network, can’t get an IP address or can’t access an application, productivity suffers. AI-based network analytics delivers untapped insights into what’s really going on and why.

12. Page Views

Page views, in theory, seems like a great metric. You can see how many people visit your site and feel good. Despite these obvious benefits, you don’t know if these users are interested in your business. They take offense if your site is not user-friendly. Measure how long people stay on your site and which pages interest them. Provide mailing lists and special offers to encourage communication. – Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales

13. Hours Worked

It’s no longer relevant how much time people spend at their desks. You find people unable to solve one problem in an entire day and others who can complete their own tasks and help quite a few other colleagues in the matter of a few hours. In the technology industry today, there is scant value in hours of work and more value in efficiency, diligence, speed and accuracy. It’s a new world with new metrics. – Piyush Jha, GlobalLogic Inc.

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