• United States

Let’s measure IT efficiencies

Mar 10, 20043 mins
Data Center

* An attempt to determine the relative efficiency of IT organizations

Efficient (adj): productive of desired effects; especially: productive without waste.

Last year, I interviewed the CIO of a multibillion-dollar enterprise. When asked what her top goals for her organization were, she summed it up in one word: “efficiencies.” That is, she wanted to wring the most value out of her IT dollar. Sound familiar?

The holy grail of IT management today is figuring out how to increase efficiencies through increased productivity and decreased waste. There are thousands of papers circling out there in cyberspace that try to tell you just how to do that, and many of us are engaged in various projects with the goal of increasing IT efficiencies.

If you think about it, the “on demand,” “adaptive,” “dynamic” data center is all about efficiency. By quickly reacting to changing business climates, the new data center makes the overall enterprise more efficient.

Late last year, during another conversation with the CIO of a multibillion-dollar reseller of computer hardware, I was asked just how one could determine the relative efficiency of a given IT organization. At the time, I didn’t have a great answer for him, but being an analyst, I resolved to figure one out.

Thus was born a research project I am heading up at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) that is tasked with trying to a) determine how to measure relative IT efficiencies, and b) research a number of IT organizations to determine how they compare with one another.

Thus far, we have found a number of IT metrics we feel are reasonable indicators of IT efficiency (to point “a” above). These include items such as the ratio of the IT expense budgets (operational and capital) compared against the overall company, the number of IT administrators per managed server, the number of IT personnel that are W-2 employees vs. 1099 contractors, the breakdown of roles within IT, and items to do with offshore development – 12 key areas in all. We then synthesized these metrics into a survey.

EMA could use your help. If you would be interested in participating in our survey, and you work in a management role for a Fortune 1000 company, please send me e-mail at, and I will contact you about how you can participate in our study. Participants will receive a summary of our findings, which could prove to be invaluable data in planning your quest to be as efficient as possible.

If you have your own ideas on how to measure IT efficiencies, or if you have engaged in your own project to determine how efficient your organization is, I would also be very interested in hearing from you. Thanks for your assistance.