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Each month MetricNet highlights one Key Performance Indicator for Service and Support.  We define the KPI, provide recent benchmarking data for the metric, and discuss key correlations, and cause-and-effect relationships for the metric.  The purpose of the column is to familiarize you with the Key Performance Indicators that really matter to your organization, and to provide you with actionable insight on how to leverage these KPIs to improve your performance!

This Month’s Metric: Tickets per User per Month

Tickets per User per Month is both a Service Desk and a Desktop Support metric.  There are, however, important differences in the key drivers of these two metrics.  In this month’s article we will focus on Desktop Support Tickets per User per Month.

As the name suggests, Tickets per User per Month is simply the total number of monthly tickets logged by desktop support divided by the number of users supported by desktop support.

For purposes of this discussion it is important to remember that desktop support tickets are comprised of both incidents and service requests.  An Incident is typically unplanned work that requires the assistance of an on-site technician to resolve.  Common examples include a desktop or laptop computer break/fix, a printer or server failure, connectivity problems, or any other issue that cannot be resolved remotely by the Level 1 Service Desk.  By contrast, most Service Requests represent planned work.  Among the most common Service Requests are Moves/Adds/Changes, hardware refresh/replacement, and device upgrades.  Tickets represent the sum of all Incidents and Service Requests, as illustrated in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1:  Tickets, Incidents and Service Requests


Why it’s Important

Tickets are the primary unit of work in desktop support.  As such, ticket volume will drive the headcount of technicians needed by an organization.  A common misperception in desktop support is that the user population alone will define the number of technicians needed.  This approach wrongly assumes that the ratio of desktop support technicians to the number of users is fixed.  For example, 6.5 desktop support technicians are needed for every 1,000 users.  The error in this approach is that no two user populations have the same needs, and therefore no two user populations generate the same workload.  As such, staffing decisions in desktop support should be based upon workload, not user population.  With this in mind, it is easy to see why two organizations with exactly the same headcount may require very different staffing levels in desktop support.

Benchmark Data for Tickets per User per Month

The number of tickets generated by an organization is driven by numerous factors including the average age of devices supported, the mix of laptop and desktop computers, the number of remote users, the number of mobile devices, the refresh rate of devices, the standardization (or lack thereof) of the IT environment, and the degree of virtualization.

Figures 2, 3, and 4 below show just how dramatically the incident and service request volume can vary from company to company, and from industry to industry.  Average monthly ticket volumes range from a low of just 0.54 tickets per seat per month in equipment manufacturing, to a high of 1.38 tickets per seat per month in High Tech.

Figure 2: Monthly Ticket Volume by Industry

Figure 3: Monthly Incident Volume by Industry

Figure 4: Monthly Service Request Volume by Industry

Since ticket volume drives technician headcount, one would also expect to see a wide variation in headcount requirements from company to company, and from industry to industry.  Figures 5 and 6 below show that the average desktop technician headcount can range from a low of just 3.9 technicians per 1,000 seats for energy utilities, to a high of 11.2 technicians per 1,000 seats in a high-tech company.

Figure 5: Desktop Support Technician Headcount Ranges by Industry

Figure 6: Desktop Support Technician Headcount Ranges by Industry

Please join us for next month’s Metric of the Month: Net Promoter Score, an emerging metric in service and support that is misunderstood by many in the industry.

Jeffrey Rumburg

Jeff Rumburg is a co-founder and Managing Partner of MetricNet, where he is responsible for global strategy, product development, and financial operations for the company. As a leading expert in benchmarking and re-engineering, Mr. Rumburg authored a best selling book on benchmarking, and has been retained as a benchmarking expert by such well known companies as American Express, Hewlett-Packard, General Motors, IBM, and Sony. Mr. Rumburg was honored in 2014 by receiving the Ron Muns Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the IT Service and Support industry. Prior to co-founding MetricNet, Mr. Rumburg was president and founder of The Verity Group, an international management consulting firm specializing in IT benchmarking. While at Verity, Mr. Rumburg launched a number of syndicated benchmarking services that provided low cost benchmarks to more than 1,000 corporations worldwide. Mr. Rumburg has also held a number of executive positions at META Group, and Gartner. As a vice president at Gartner, Mr. Rumburg led a project team that reengineered Gartner’s global benchmarking product suite. And as vice president at META Group, Mr. Rumburg’s career was focused on business and product development for IT benchmarking. Mr. Rumburg’s education includes an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, an M.S. magna cum laude in Operations Research from Stanford University, and a B.S. magna cum laude in Mechanical Engineering. He is author of A Hands-On Guide to Competitive Benchmarking: The Path to Continuous Quality and Productivity Improvement, and has taught graduate-level engineering and business courses.

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