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GroupSeven spending benchmarks are used to help university campuses evaluate IT services. By benchmarking against institutions with similar missions, IT leaders can gain insights into how to best optimize these investments.

Benchmark #1 – Budget Profile [shows how IT dollars are allocated across institutional budget classifications]
Benchmark #2 – Budget Support Level [IT dollars are normalized for institutional size]
Benchmark #3 – Budget Impact [ratio of IT budget to total institution budget]
Benchmark #4 – People Supported per IT Staff
Benchmark #5 – Computers Supported per IT Staff
Benchmark #6 – Staffing Profile Per Service Area
Benchmark #7 – Computer Availability

This article shows actual benchmark results in these areas. Compiled by David Smallen and Karen Leach at Hamilton College. Published in Educause Quarterly in November 2002. The article can be found:

http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0234.pdf

This report was followed up by a 32 page paper entitled “INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY BENCHMARKS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS” (written by Smallen and Leach) which was published by the Council of Independent Colleges in June 2004. This report contains more data and a more complete explanation of the benchmarks. The paper can be found:

http://www.cic.edu/publications/books_reports/IT_paper.pdf

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A “Information Technology Operation Benchmarks Report” created by Nick Ganesan, CIO/Associate Vice-Chancellor for ITTS aQuality Benchmarkt Fayetteville State University.  The report contains detailed benchmark data for:

  1. IT Budget Profile
  2. IT Budget per IT User
  3. IT Budget as a Percentage of Institutional Budget
  4. IT Users to IT Staff ratio
  5. IT Staff to Number of PCs – Ratio
  6. Staffing Profile by service area
  7. PCs to IT User Ratio
  8. Central IT Support Percentage
  9. Staff ratio by service areas

The benchmark data is against IT services at universities located in the United States.

Location of Report: http://www.kfupm.edu.sa/sict/ictc/related%20documents/IT%20Benchmark/Fayetteville%20State%20University%20IT_Benchmarks_ver1.pdf

Local Copy: IT Benchmark for Universities – Fayetteville State University Report

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TechRepublic has provided a spreadsheet model to help you determine the right number of people in your IT shop.  In their approach, they focus on one category of staff at a time.  In each category, a few key questions are used to focus the analysis:

1. Programmers

  • Is there a separation between application development and support?
  • Do programmers work on multiple business applications?
  • Are external clients supported, and if so, is there customized code for individual clients?
  • Are major investments needed in software development of critical business applications?
  • How big is the programming backlog, and what type of changes are being requested?
  • Can the key business processes be accomplished better and more economically with a third-party solution?
  • If you have external clients, can programmers be dedicated to and billed to specific clients?

2. Business application analysts and trainers

  • Are new applications planned?
  • Does the company support the installation of software for external clients?
  • How knowledgeable are the departments and clients in the use of their business applications?

3. Help Desk specialists

  • Are infrastructure calls separated from business application calls, or is the Help Desk support functions for both combined?
  • How responsive do you need to be?
  • Does the Help Desk have sound escalation procedures?
  • What’s the level of client satisfaction for IT support?
  • Is the response rate to solve user issues sufficient?
  • Do you have a tracking system to monitor support calls, trends, and responsiveness?
  • How many calls is the Help Desk handling now?
  • What is the percentage of local users (as opposed to remote)?
  • Does the company require 24/7 staffing of the Help Desk?

4. Network administrators

  • Are major changes or enhancements planned/needed for the infrastructure?
  • Is an experienced architect of the network in place?
  • What has been the history of implementing infrastructure changes?
  • Is there an infrastructure strategic plan?
  • Is a change management process in place?

5. Desktop support specialists

  • What are the company growth plans?
  • Are major changes planned/needed in the desktop hardware/software?
  • What is the percentage of remote users (other office buildings, cities, etc.)?
  • Is the response rate to solve desktop issues sufficient?

6. Data Center operations staff

  • Does the Data Center require 24/7 operation?
  • What are the requirements for the Data Center?
  • Is a “lights out” operation possible?
  • Is the Data Center secure?

Using this model IT staff needs are based upon a number of factors, including the workload, anticipated needs, current capability of the staff, and maturity of the company. As much as possible, we try to quantify all the variables in each set of issues. Ultimately, it’s a judgment call based on the variable data, the level of support that you need to provide, and your experience in managing IT. If you can quantify the variables that affect levels of support, you’ll be much better equipped to determine your true needs.

A full description of this approach can be found at: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-1061079.html?tag=e106

A copy of the IT Staffing Model in an Excel spreadsheet can be found here:  http://downloads.techrepublic.com.com/5138-6321-730024.html

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On November 17, 2009 Forrester Research reported the preliminary results of a CIO benchmark survey.   These results indicate:

  1. Within a given IT group, the number of people in ‘applications’ is higher than the number of people in IT infrastructure.  40% of IT people are in applications and 30% are in infrastructure.
  2. The number of people working on enterprise projects varies a lot, but in nearly all cases is a significant part of the IT organization at an average of 10% in medium sized shops (50 to 300 people in IT) and 5% in large shops (> 300 people within IT).

Source: http://advice.cio.com/forrester_research/are_it_benchmarks_useful

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Cem Kaner, a professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, has done research on the ratio of software testers to software developers. His presentation entitled “Managing the Proportion of Testers to Other Developers” is partially based on a meeting of the Software Test Managers Roundtable (STMR 3) in Fall 2001.

FIT

FIT

The study found that:
– There were very small ratios (1-to-7 and less) and very
large ratios (5-to-1).
– Some of each worked and some of each failed.
– Many remembered successful projects with ratios lower than 1-to-1 more favorably than successful projects with larger ratios.

Read the paper to find out why is there such a range of successful ratios, and why test managers be happy with relatively low ratios?

See: http://www.kaner.com/pdfs/pnsqc_ratios.pdf and http://www.kaner.com/

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ITIL – Staffing Ratios

ITIL Benchmarks

ITIL Benchmarks

In a study or 125 companies in the United Kingdom,  researchers found that the “IT Heads in relation to the Number of Users” was a median of 6% for ITIL adopters and 5% for ITIL rejecters.

From the same study, training costs for ITIL adoption were on average £930 per IT head.

Source: “The ITIL Experience – Has it been worth it?”, Noel Bruton, Bruton Consultancy, Spring 2004. See: http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:HIwsdVqpREAJ:www.aaromba.com/assets/pdf/whitepapers/The-ITIL-Experience.pdf+ITIL+Experience+-+Has+it+been+worth+it%3F&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

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According to Tim Bryce (Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates),

If systems analysis is performed correctly, programmer productivity should improve as analysts should be providing good specifications for application assignments. In the absence of systems analysts, considerable time is lost by the programmer who has to second-guess what the end-user wants. Inevitably, this leads to rewriting software over and over again. Good data and processing specs, as provided by a systems analyst, will improve programmer productivity far better than any programming tool or technique. This means programmers are the beneficiaries of good systems analysis.

This brings up an interesting point, what should be the ratio of Systems Analysts to Programmers in a development organization? Frankly, I believe there should be twice as many analysts than programmers. By concentrating on the upfront work, programming is simplified.

Source: Bryce, Tim, “The Ratio of Analysts to Programmers”, Toolbox for IT, August 24, 2006.

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