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Anatomy of a KPI – Mean Time to Restore Service (MTRS)

March 3rd, 2010

Mean Time to Restore Service is an important KPI that most help desks measure (or at least should). MTRS tells us about the average customer experience a user has when a service interruption is identified.

To calculate the MTRS you take the total amount of time of open incidents divided by the total number of incidents logged in a given time period (normally a month). I would recommend that the KPI only show the top 2 tiers of classification as performance on lower classification would probably reduce the usefulness of the KPI based on how most organization service their lower priority issues.

Now the usefulness of KPI is just that, ‘an indicator’. If it is going in the wrong direction (i.e. up) there is no reason to panic – the most important thing is to identify whether there really is an issue and if so then be in a position to address it as soon as possible.


The first thing to look at in regard to MTRS is to see whether Incident volume has spiked. When incident volume changes unexpectedly, the help desk doesn’t have a chance to change resourcing so the average time to restore service will often rise.


The second thing to check is that even though MTRS may be rising it is important to look at the whether the increase is impacting Service Level Objectives/Agreements. If the spike is impacting Service Levels then corrective action becomes more important.


The third thing to understand is that if incident volume is not the cause for the MTRS spike then where is the area to address. There are two things that will tell you this. The first is to look at what the end user stated was being impacted when the ticket was logged (i.e. the end  to end service) and then compare that to what the actual incident classification was when the ticket was closed (i.e. the provider service).


By performing this analysis the help desk can provide feedback to the appropriate IT groups that there could be some issues with some recent releases and would provide some momentum to look at some of the other IT processes that cause most of the incidents within a typical organization.

If you want play around with an MTRS KPI and this type of drill down analysis with some sample data, you can do so here.

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , ,

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