The Five IT Metrics That Matter The Most In Today's Climate

You must report on the right metrics to defuse the explosive combination of budget pressures and business expectations. 

In April 2008, Forrester published the report “The Five Essential Metrics for Managing IT”  This has become one of our most popular docs in terms of readership and reader feedback.  Principal Analyst Craig Symons lays out 5 IT metrics that are extremely relevant to IT’s business stakeholders:  investment alignment to business strategy, business value of IT investments, IT budget balance, service level excellence, and operational excellence.

Why are we bringing your attention to this report now? Because business execs are trimming capital and operational budgets wherever they think it will have the least impact on business, and IT is a prime target.  Because of a lack of transparency in many IT shops, the tension between IT budget cuts, and business expectations for technology are fraught with risk for CIOs and other IT execs.  The risk is that cuts in IT’s budget are seen by the CIO’s peers as “IT’s problem to solve” – but these same business peers will see cuts in project delivery or IT service levels as yet more proof that the CIO’s organization isn’t capable of supporting their needs.  Look at what these business execs were saying in July of 2008 – and this is before the budget pressure was on. 


The only way CIOs can turn this tension to their advantage lies in what metrics for IT they use in discussions with their business peers.

The 5 essential IT metrics bring these tensions out in the open, by:

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Monday’s Musings: A Year of Extremes Brings Us Back Full Circle to the Beginning of the Dot.Com Bust

Software vendor economics:

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Vendor dealings: Spot the dollars on your way to finding those pennies.

Here’s another follow-up post to the recent jam session on using a down economy as the impetus for making lasting improvements in IT.


One of our calls involved three analysts from the sourcing and vendor management community – John McCarthy, Duncan Jones, and Paul Roehrig – and took on the topic of vendor relationships in software and services, where 82% of our attendees said that the economy is indeed forcing them to put more pressure on IT suppliers. The call’s tone was this: Flogging vendors only hurts the quality of the product or service you receive and bruises relationships. Remember, vendors are in the same economic boat as you.

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Big News for Check Point Firewall Customers

John Kindervag

Today, Check Point Software Technologies, one of the old guard in the world of information security, announced they are purchasing Nokia's security appliance business. This is welcome, if late, news to Check Point's customers who use Nokia hardware.  For many years, Nokia was the de facto hardware platform for deploying Check Point firewall software.  Check Point/Nokia shops have been struggling for months to decide how to respond to Nokia's announcement that they would rid themselves of this troublesome (think non cell phone) business.  For customers with sometimes hundreds of Nokia appliances, the fear of potentially unsupported hardware, or of a big firewall replacement project, were equally disturbing.

This new agreement spawns a couple of interesting questions: 

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Another Microsoft critical out-of-band security patch

Chenxi Wang

As the day draws to a close on December 16, 2008, Microsoft issued an advance out-of-band security advisory, #961051, and an emergency patch to follow the next day.

The vulnerability behind this advisory is a critical remote-code-execution vulnerability within Internet Explorer (IE). All currently supported versions of IE are affected. The vulnerability is related to an invalid pointer used in the data binding element within IE’s code base. This vulnerability allows remote execution of arbitrary code. If a vulnerable browser visits a malicious Web site, this Web site can instruct the browser to execute arbitrary code with the same privilege as the user itself.

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New Year Fast Approaching, and So Is the Next-Generation Enterprise Data Warehouse

Jameskobielus By James Kobielus

This has been one of the most pivotal years in the evolution of the enterprise data warehousing (EDW) market. Every EDW vendor of note has firmly repositioned its go-to-market strategy around the appliance approach, with some also taking tentative steps into what is sure to be a key theme in 2009 and beyond: EDW in the “cloud.”

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Defining Lean

We recently held a “jam session” of five teleconferences aimed at moving IT beyond its traditional hunker down mentality in tough times, to instead use this climate as an opportunity to make real improvements in how we run IT.


The first call took on the topic of creating a leaner IT. There’s plenty of research at Forrester on lean thinking, but the term lean is so “in” right now, that I’m seeing multiple definitions emerge. Odds are, someone outside of IT will come knocking on your door asking when you’re going to “get lean.”  Here’s how to answer.

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The Numerous Meanings Of "Data Protection"

Stephanie Balaouras

In my coverage of business continuity and disaster recovery, I talk to both IT infrastructure and operations professionals as well as IT security professionals and I've found that the term "data protection" means something different to each. This comes as no surprise and I think for a long time it didn't really matter because IT operations and security professionals operated in independent silos. But as silos break down and "data protection" is a shared responsibility across the organization, it's important to be specific and to understand who is responsible for what.

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The Death of Process as a Product


During the last six weeks we have been researching the state of software development processes and a number of very interesting trends have become apparent. These trends and the results of our research will be documented in the research report Best Practices In Software Development Processes slated for Q1 2009. But I just couldn’t wait to share some of the insights and get your reactions to them before then.




Hybrid Processes take the floor

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Predicting The Battle Over Collaboration Infrastructure In 2009

It’s always the short questions that make my job interesting. Like this one.

Gil, do you think companies will cut back on Enterprise Web 2.0 in light of the economy?

First reaction--it depends. I’m an analyst, that’s always our first answer. But what does it depend on? What are all the factors at play and how will this impact your decisions?  So, here’s my read of the Enterprise Web 2.0 trends based on many conversations with my clients and vendors. I will focus specifically on wiki and social networking tools used to improve internal collaboration and knowledge sharing. These are gaining momentum and acceptance within the enterprise. (See my TechRadar report for the details on what Forrester sees in scope for Enterprise Web 2.0.)

There will be a slowdown of IT-driven collaboration projects in 2009. But there will be increased interest in business-driven collaboration projects. Why? There is a technology populist movement, and has been for a while. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) typically operate with little IT support and rely upon vendors for collaboration services – nothing new here.  But we find that business units in enterprises, especially those in companies with politically weak IT departments, are increasingly behaving like SMBs, and they are going out and provisioning technology on their own. This is a form of institutional Tech Populism.

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