ITSM

Reporting vs. Analysis: Do You Know the Difference?

January 11, 2018

Reporting vs. Analysis: Do You Know the Difference?

“We do reports already.”

The famous last words when it comes to showcasing your ITSM successes. Yes, you have the data, but don’t follow the wrong bread crumbs! Reporting and analysis are two very different things. Reporting provides data in a static and structured way, measuring and monitoring business performance. It answers the “what” questions.

In order to be a business enabler and stay on top of the competitive marketplace,  the “why,” “how,” and “when” are important parts of the equation as well. That’s where analysis comes into play. It doesn’t just provide data, but provides answers behind the numbers. It takes your data and converts it into intelligence and insights.

Push Information to the Users

Reporting is the information gathering part of a data-driven decision making process. Every organization has particular key performance indicators (KPIs) that they are looking to meet or a data range to stay between. Reporting provides the first alert system if something becomes amiss and raises the ‘what is happening’ flag, but it will not explain why these changes are relevant or not.

With reporting, you take raw data, consolidate and format it, then push the summaries out to users in the form of static reports (that encompass fixed metrics and dimensions), dashboards (custom-made reports that provide a high-level view of business performance for particular audiences), or alerts (special reports sent if data falls outside a certain parameters).

Pull Those Insights

The ultimate goal of analysis is to bring deeper meaning to the reported data, ultimately using it in an actionable way in the organization. Reporting raises questions and analysis will answer them, with additional questions that may come to light. When analysis is being done, it’s like conducting research — there are questions to be answered, data is examined, interpretations and comparisons are done, and then confirmations are distributed to answer what has been happening, why it was taking place, when it took place, and the next steps toward resolution.

Here’s a quick summary of the data-driven decision making process and how reporting and analysis fit in:

data

How can you apply reporting vs. analysis into five key metrics within your service desk? Here you go:

Metric

Reporting

Analytics

Cost per ticket Higher than average cost per ticket recorded this month. Why is there a higher than average cost per ticket, especially with lower-than-average quality levels?
Customer Satisfaction Overall CSAT score has seen a downward trend this month. Why are we seeing this downward trend? Were there specific weeks that were worse than others? Were the customers experiencing specific issues that popped up this month that we have not been encountered before?
Agent Utilization Agent utilization rate is high the last two weeks. Why is our agent utilization rate high? Are we pushing our agents too hard, leading to their burnout?
First Touch Resolution Our first touch resolution percentage is low. Does this correlate with why our CSAT scores our low? Are agents missing particular training on tools to enable faster resolution?
Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR) MTTR has increased this past month. Why have we seen this increase? Do we not have enough agents to take care of the volume? Are we missing key information in knowledge management tools and remote diagnostics to resolve issues?

This post has been updated from its original publish on 11/29/16 to reflect more recent developments in metrics, reporting, and data analysis in service management.


With nearly 15 years of experience in the IT industry, Matt Cox is a lover of creating technical solutions and successful customers. As the Senior Director, Technical Operations, ITSM, he leads the talented team of ITSM solutions engineering, on-boarding, and support teams, working with customers of all sizes and across many different industries to create tailored service management solutions using ITSM and ITIL best practices. Fun fact—he once went hang gliding off a cliff in Ecuador.