Reporting Tools

For nearly every conceivable metric there also exists an app to record and report the data. All businesses have measurable KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators), which are used and relied upon to track the overall health of the company. Reporting and utilizing those KPI’s can become a challenge when offering a robust service effected by many differing variables. At IQ, given we support a swath of different technologies, it is important to track the health of these systems while logging when and why maintenance is being performed. These statistics allow for granular insight into how much time and cost is expended, on average, to keep our customer’s systems and services running effectively. Conversely, those same statistics shed light on whether the upkeep of those systems is profitable while also exposing a need to adjust certain processes if the maintenance is not performed efficiently.

New processes require upkeep. Creating a blueprint, network topology or business workflow in-turn requires a process to keep that information current and accurate. In the past, here at IQ keeping network topologies up to date could be a challenge. New devices, such as switches and servers are introduced and alter the state of the network. Previously, periodic reviews of every client’s network were required to update their topology. However, as with most measureables, there are now applications we utilize to automatically and autonomously update this information on our behalf. The same is true for our technician’s utilization tracking, system uptime tracking and service-level agreements. In the event you are not already utilizing applications specific to your industry to automatically report on the measureables important to your company, you should be.

Often times, business owners will look outside the applications they already own; not realizing the applications already in place have the needed functionality. As an example, when reviewing our vendor payments from the previous quarter I realized we were paying several 3rd party vendors for redundant services. As changes in department management occur, it is easy for different applications to be purchased at the behest of a new manager. What tends to happen is you end up with two different apps, designed for the same purpose when one would suffice. While redundancy can be good it is not what we want to see in our payables. Quarterly reviews of your vendor payments, focused by department, could result in big savings when identifying redundant services purchased by different managers, for the same purpose, over time.

Reviewing and researching tools to track your pertinent data and KPI’s is an important part of maintaining healthy metric reporting. To properly differentiate one tool from another and gauge it’s viability consult your department heads and IT partner.