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Why is IT performance management now an essential part of business?

Aaron Serrhat
In any fast-paced, results-driven industry, the ability to accurately measure and monitor the performance of employees, technology and IT infrastructure is of the utmost importance. Though businesses of all types will employ some method for evaluating the work of their human and technological resources, many of those working in IT are beginning to use new methods. These take into consideration changes in work culture, what we now know about motivation and personal development, the growing complexity of IT infrastructure, and a recognition that previous methods may be flawed.

What is IT performance management?

Put simply, IT performance management is a means of measuring how efficiently an asset is performing its functions and whether this is in accordance with the overall goals of a business. Though we often implicitly refer to employees when discussing performance management, it is also important to remember that the large and complex networks of technology used by most modern businesses also need to be tested, analysed for inefficiencies or poor performance and then improved upon. Measurements are usually collected in a number of different ways and the metrics used will vary depending on the aims of a business, its short-term goals and future aspirations.

Competition and the forefront of technological innovation

One of the key reasons performance management has become such an essential part of modern business is the level of competition in the sector and the incredible pace of change and evolution taking place in IT. New technologies have the ability to revolutionise business practices in a matter of years, meaning firms need to source staff that are both productive and knowledgeable in those areas. Consequently, those in management have had to reappraise the way in which they measure and monitor the performance of their staff.

Issue with existing performance management systems

Previously, many businesses employed systems that measured employees in relation to one another, ranking them from top to bottom in a performance scale. This type of management system is now falling out of favour, as shown by a CEB survey that saw 90% of HR leaders reporting that the process is inaccurate and 95% of managers saying they are dissatisfied with the way performance reviews are conducted.  Many of these systems are considered alienating, detrimental to employee morale and reductionist, rather than a means of instituting positive change. As more businesses begin to realise this and make the switch to modern performance management systems, those left behind will struggle to get the most from their workforce and retain their best employees.

Increasingly complex IT infrastructures

Modern businesses also have to contend with increasingly complex, diverse and important IT infrastructures and must have an efficient means of performance measurement in place if they are to avoid wasting large amounts of capital on inefficient tech, minimise the chances of bugs, crashes and glitches and keep up with competitors. Being able to identify elements of IT infrastructure that are redundant, underused or prone to problems is particularly important as business begin to virtualise systems and employ cloud computing technologies. Though such systems may be hosted elsewhere, businesses still need to be able to identify and remedy problems quickly and efficiently if they are to provide the necessary standard of service to users.

Performance management for the future

It is becoming increasingly clear that many of the performance management systems used in the past aren’t suited to the modern IT sector. As businesses adapt to new technologies and the demands of a constantly evolving industry, new means of measuring efficiency and performance will be introduced, giving those that adopt them the opportunity to get the most from their staff and technology, allowing the business to prosper in the process. In an industry as competitive as IT, where the line between success and failure is ever so fine, performance management systems try to ensure businesses get the biggest return possible on every pound or minute of time invested, making them an essential part of any modern business.

Read our related blog: The key aspects to keeping developers motivated
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