Gartner Research

Best Practices for IT Services Reporting and Analytics: Report Design, Presentation and Usage

Published: 09 September 2013

ID: G00255231

Analyst(s): Rob Addy


Service reporting is a massive opportunity to shine that most providers fail to seize. Value-based analytics-backed reporting will be a critical competency as the barriers to switching providers erode. Providers must invest now to ensure they can demonstrate their value daily.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges


  • Using This Research


  • Step 1: Measure report value based on quality, not volume
  • Step 2: Realize that agreed reporting frequency is only a guide
  • Step 3: Accept that aggregation is not optional
  • Step 4: Show that it's not always about the absolute numbers
  • Step 5: Don't fuel the fire
  • Step 6: Focus on the important stuff
  • Step 7: Provide context and relevant background information
  • Step 8: Look ahead; don't just look back in anger
  • Step 9: Show customers how a metric behaves; don't just tell them what it is
  • Step 10: Emphasize the good
  • Step 11: Pump your charts with text and icons so you don't rely on a chart to tell a story on its own
  • Step 12: Monetize the information when and wherever possible
  • Step 13: Make reporting personal to show your relevance
  • Step 14: Recognize that metrics have a finite shelf life
  • Step 15: Maintain your focus on the here and now
  • Step 16: Make reporting a tool for them to use
  • Step 17: Ensure that graphics convey a message or else don't use them
  • Step 18: Make it easy to see the trends
  • Step 19: Help customers understand what is really going on
  • Step 20: Be flexible
  • Step 21: Show how customers are helping or hindering themselves
  • Step 22: Let them look behind the curtain
  • Step 23: Avoid ambiguity, make metrics meaningful
  • Step 24: Monitor report usage and audience penetration
  • Step 25: Provide an external benchmark view wherever possible
  • Step 26: Tie metrics back to the user experience
  • Step 27: Tie metrics back to business outcomes
  • Step 28: Get them involved in the design process
  • Step 29: Allow them to slice and dice it for themselves
  • Step 30: Offer baseline templates and a metrics library
  • Step 31: Recognize that "risk" is not a dirty word
  • Step 32: Remember that it's not all about numbers — demonstrate the human side of the story as well
  • Step 33: Take a position and make a bold prediction
  • Step 34: Have a defined purpose in mind
  • Step 35: Regularly check if reports are useful (and being used)
  • Step 36: Mix it up occasionally
  • Step 37: Use the reporting outputs in your internal meetings
  • Step 38: Dedicate appropriate resources to the task
  • Step 39: Actively promote service use


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