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Incident Management KPIs – what really matters

Daniel Weiß
February 24, 2023
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In the age of Big Data and analytics, companies are increasingly using the power of numbers and data to improve their processes. In the incident management world, this means turning to KPIs, metrics, and other incident monitoring methods to recognize trends and take corrective action.

To manage and improve your incident management processes, you have to keep an eye on KPIs and metrics. Without this data you lack visibility, and miss out on the opportunity to improve the efficiency of your processes.

But what are the most important metrics to keep in mind? How can you ensure that your processes in incident management collect and analyze data effectively? In this article we will take a look at a few of the most important factors to consider.

Incident Management – the importance of KPIs, Metrics, and Monitoring

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are vital in incident management because they enable you to monitor the progress of your actions. By tracking these metrics, you can ensure that your team is meeting its goals and responding effectively to incidents. Ultimately, incident management is about identifying and resolving incidents quickly to reduce disruption to users.

Furthermore, KPIs can help to recognize trends in incident activity, which you can use to improve your reaction strategy as a whole. As well as tracking KPIs, it is also important to review them regularly to make sure they are still relevant and accurate.

What metrics are there?

The list of possible metrics in incident management is long. SLA (Service-Level Agreement), SLO (Service Level Objective), MTTA (Mean Time to Acknowledge), MTTR (Mean Time to Resolution), MTBF (Mean Time between Failures), MTTD (Mean Time to Detect), Incidents over time, Number of Incidents, Incident Cost, On-Call Time, Uptime, Timestamps… Do you know them all? Don't worry, you don't have to. But there are a few key metrics that every business should track, because they are key to understanding what’s going on in your system, how much it's costing, and where you can improve.

Knowing this will make it easier for you to decide which further KPIs are important for your business and should be added to the list. This is because every company has their own business goals, which require their own specific metrics. Also, every team is different and has its own challenges, while also having to meet the expectations of the customers depending on the company's policies.

Nevertheless, there are certain goals that every company aims for. Here’s where the “golden KPIs” come into play - keep these in mind, and you’ll never go wrong. What's more, these metrics will lay the groundwork for your incident management.

Uptime

The first and most obvious metrics is uptime - or more specifically, downtime. This measures how often your systems are down or unavailable due to an incident. Of course, you want to keep this number as low as possible, as it's a good indicator of how effectively your incident management is working.

There are many ways to measure downtime, but one of the most common is Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR). This is the average time it takes to resolve an incident after it has been reported. A high MTTR can indicate a number of problems, from inefficient workflows to ineffective troubleshooting.

MTTR (Mean Time to Resolution)

As already mentioned, this is the metric for the average time needed to resolve an incident. It is used to measure the efficiency of your incident management processes, and to identify areas for improvement.

One of the most common methods to measure MTTR is the percent of incidents which are resolved within a given period of time. This value should be as close to 100% as possible - anything under 95% must be improved.

MTTR can be influenced by a number of factors, from the complexity of the incident to the skills and knowledge of the support team. But whatever the case, a high MTTR should be addressed immediately.

SLA (Service-Level Agreement)

Another important metric is compliance with your service level agreement (SLA). This shows how often you meet the targets set in your SLA, which is a good way to judge the overall performance of your incident management process.

To calculate SLA compliance, take the percent of incidents which were resolved within the agreed period of time. This value should be as close to 100% as possible - anything under 90% is a cause for concern.

TIP: It is also worth considering customer satisfaction (CSAT) when measuring SLA compliance. This metric measures how satisfied customers are with your service. A high CSAT score means that you are successfully meeting customer expectations. The most common way to measure customer satisfaction is through surveys. These can be sent out after a problem has been resolved and should include questions about things like speed of resolution, quality of support, and overall experience.

On-Call Time

This metric measures the amount of time that your support team is on-call. It can also be used to determine the efficiency of your incident management process and highlight areas where costs can be saved.

On-call time is the percentage of incidents that are resolved within the agreed timeframe. This value should be as close to 100% as possible - anything below 95% is a cause for concern.

CPT (Cost Per Ticket)

This metric measures the total cost of fixing a problem from start to finish. It takes into account factors like time used by the support team, external costs, and lost productivity.

Thanks to CPT, you can identify areas where you can achieve savings by analyzing the methods that cost the most time and money. A high CPT value here indicates an inefficient and expensive process.

MTTA (Mean Time to Acknowledge)

This metric measures the average time needed for the acknowledgement of an incident. This is also perfect to improve incident management performance.

MTTA is measured by the percentage of incidents that are acknowledged within the agreed timeframe. This value should be as close to 100% as possible - any value below 95% is a clear sign of a need for improvement.

Escalation Rate

This metric measures the percentage of incidents that need to be escalated to a higher level of support. A high escalation rate can indicate a number of issues, from inadequate workflows to ineffective troubleshooting.

The escalation rate is the percentage of incidents that are escalated within the agreed timeframe. This value should be as close to 0% as possible - a value above 5% is a cause for concern.

Average Incident Response Time

This metric shows the average time needed to resolve an incident. You can use this to ascertain how quickly your team is able to assign an incident to the right person.

The average incident response time measures the average time to react to incidents that are resolved within the agreed time frame. This value should also be as close to 100% as possible - anything below 95% must be investigated and improved. By reducing response time, you can dramatically improve the incident resolution.

First Touch Resolution Rate

This metric measures how often an incident is resolved with the first touch, i.e. without needing to escalate to another team or support level. A high first touch resolution rate is an indicator of effective and efficient incident management, because it shows that the incidents are being handled quickly and effectively.

Factors such as the quality of initial troubleshooting and support team capability will have an effect on this metric.

Incidents Over Time

This metric measures the number of incidents that occur over a certain timeframe (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually). It is a simple way to measure the effectiveness of your incident management and to identify trends and patterns.

To do this, you measure the percentage of incidents that are resolved within the agreed timeframe. If this value is below 95%, then it must be addressed.

How to keep track of your KPIs

Since we are living in an increasingly digital world, centralized software is your companion in incident management. Just like our brain, it provides an overview of the entire system. Modern incident management software supports this approach. With iLert, for example, the Metrics feature allows you to combine different data sources and project them directly onto your in-house status pages. This way, both you and your team can stay on track at all times.

Conclusion

Knowing which KPIs are most important to your company’s incident response is the first step to tracking them effectively. While there are many different KPIs that can be used, there are some critical metrics that are important to any organization. Monitoring these critical KPIs will help you better measure the success of your incident response efforts. In doing so, centralized incident management software allows for seamless visibility and control - because incident management is stressful enough as it is. iLert helps you and your organization to keep control and clarity.

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