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Limiting change failure + revenue loss during the holiday season


A few years ago, I got to work with a major financial institution.They told me they were interested  to see their data in our product (we were using an early version of what would become the HP Executive Scorecard) and assured me they were particularly good at incident management.   But when we loaded their incident data into the scorecard I was shocked. This customer had given us four months of data—October through January. There were 20,000 incidents a month in October. But in the months that followed this number grew to 65,000 incidents a month. Even worse, incidents resolving in a day or less dropped by 75% after October. And core systems failures quadrupled. What had happened?


When I asked the customer team what could be causing such a change in performance, they initially just smiled. When I persisted, they told me they had successfully delivered their end-of-year changes and projects. But they were a financial institution where customers like to touch their money at end of year and their change process was causing systems to fail. According to ITIL Version 3, 55% of incidents/outages are self-inflected. I never found out what this customer’s actual change success rate was, but I can guarantee it plummeted after October.


Obviously you want to avoid performance problems like this. And one way you can do so is to track your change success rate. But what number should you be targeting? We asked several HP customers to share their opinion on this and other typical service management metrics. Additionally, we asked them share (confidentially, of course) their actual performance. Today, I would like to share the aggregated benchmark as well as where customers are performing today.


What’s a good benchmark for change success rate?

By taking a weighted average of these customers’ responses, I determined that our participants as a whole felt the benchmark for change success rate should be 95% or better. In terms of how many are at this number, only 43% of respondents actually reported having a change success rate of 90% or better. To really find out what the benchmark number should be, however, we would like a bigger group to participate in our survey. So as we said last week, we want you!


We would like you to vote on this and other service management benchmarks. Please click the link below and confidentially share what you think the benchmark performance should be for change success rate and other important service desk measures:


Why does this benchmark matter?

To me change success rate is the most important area for IT organizations to improve. Decreasing outages improves IT’s reputation, but even more importantly, it allows you to take cost out. World class organizations take out costs out by being better. Specifically they:


  • Test better
  • Create a more homogeneous environment
  • Drive minute by minute consistency of the IT environment
  • Limit unplanned changes
  • Eliminate unapproved changes

Do all this and you increase your change success rate and reduce incidents and outages. How much is this worth? It is all in your hands. COBIT 5 says that the change management process is about enabling fast and reliable delivery of change. In one word, it is about establishing predictability. Please measure and manage your change success rate and improve. What do you think? I would love to hear back from you on this post.


Related links

Solution page:  IT Performance Management

Twitter: @MylesSuer

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About the Author


Mr. Suer is a senior manager for IT Performance Management. Prior to this role, Mr. Suer headed IT Performance Management Analytics Product Management including IT Financial Management and Executive Scorecard.

Jan 30-31, 2018
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