Page 20 - Campus Technology, June 2017
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Measuring Impact
Buszka recently shared the stage at an Educause event with Edward Gray, a systems integration and support specialist at the University of Mary Washington (VA).
Gray said his department has discussed linking metrics and measures up through critical success factors to the goals and objectives of the organization. “Having a clear linkage through that chain helps make sure you are measuring the right things and they are informing decisions based on where you want the organization to go,” he said. What you are measuring is easy, he added. It is why you are measuring it that is not communicated as well.
Gray gave one example from the University of Mary Washington: A few years ago its developer group was spending a lot of time on one particular department’s reporting requests. The IT department made the decision to start tracking time spent on which projects and for whom so it could prove that this group was monopolizing developers’ time. “Begrudgingly the developers started tracking their time, but they understood the rationale for why they were being asked to do it,” Gray said. If the supervisor said “track what projects you are working on” and left it at that, it would have been met with more trepidation, because time tracking is usually linked to changes in head count, he said. “By providing the why behind that measure, the supervisor was able to get better buy-in from the developers to collect the
metrics they needed to go back to the customers and say, ‘you are monopolizing our time. We need to scale back on your requests,’” Gray explained.
According to Clark University’s Turgeon, the important thing is to focus on the value drivers you can use to evaluate the impact of IT-enabled solutions. Sometimes there is a quantitative measurement, such as the number of classrooms renovated. Did you do the number you said you were going to do in the time you said you were going to do it within budget?
Other investment costs are more difficult to quantify. Clark had been considering replacing its ERP system with a cloud- based solution such as Workday. “There would be an opportunity cost involved in taking people away from other things we want to do and putting them on a migration project,” Turgeon noted. On the other hand, there is a cost of staff members doing things in a very inefficient way because the current systems haven’t been modernized enough. “Sometimes we try to quantify things that aren’t quantifiable,” she added. “We’ve got more analysis to do on that, but we did make a decision to stick with our current ERP for the next three years, giving us some time to do more in-depth financial analysis on what we would really gain and where we capture it.”
David Raths is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. BACK TO TOC
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