Monday, June 11, 2007

Tenet #8 - Have Clear Metrics to Measure Success

Here's tenet #8 from my whitepaper "Tenets of Identity Management". Part #1 of the "Tenets of Identity Management" podcast is posted on the Quest web site. Part #2 is also now available.

Have Clear Metrics to Measure Success

This is so important. The last thing you want is to have an executive say, "So what?" about your project. Have a set of very clear metrics that you can apply and report on as part of the justification for your project, and as a way to show your success. All too often, this aspect of an identity management project is either left out or is based on "soft" savings.

Some of the metrics that tend to get the attention of executives and bean counters are:

1. Reduction in number of help desk calls. This is a good metric especially if your help desk is outsourced or staffed by contractors. It will result in hard-dollar savings because with fewer help desk calls, you will need less help desk staff and lower your per incident costs.

2. Improved security. If you can report on pre- and post-implementation times to de-provision a user from your human resource (HR) system(s), you can claim you are increasing security. This is not a hard-dollar savings, but it is extremely important to your executive team, board of directors and CISO for both regulatory compliance and general security reasons.

3. Improved productivity. Most executives will be indifferent if you tell them you are going to improve productivity by 10 minutes a day per user in your company. If you aren’t directly saving the company money, you’ll probably get the dreaded "So what?" comment. Do you have any contractors working for you? If you do, you can turn this into real hard-dollar savings by measuring the time it takes for contractors to access all the systems they need to do their jobs both pre- and post-project implementation. Those contractors are idle while they wait for their access. If you can provision them faster, you can show a substantial savings. The more contract staff you have, the bigger this savings will be.

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