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Measuring to Manage

Measuring to Manage

You've probably heard this line before: "You cannot manage what you do not measure". Simple, but not always easy.

Measuring things in order to manage them makes a lot of sense.

We have speedometers in our cars.

We have battery indicators on our phones (and cars as the world goes electric).

We have scoreboards at the ballpark.

And of course there are many other examples in our day to day lives where keeping score matters.

So, in business, how do we begin measuring things?

Some software packages include a "dashboard" which provides an at-a-glance view of the important aspects of what is important to the software vendor. Some of those items are presumably of importance to us -- particularly if the software vendor does a solid job of understanding their target market.

In our IT help desk business, navitend tracks a number of metrics to better serve our clients, including but not limited to:

Response Time -- how quickly are we responding to our client's requests for service?

Resolution Time -- how long does it take us to solve an issue?

SLA -- Percentage of Tickets serviced in accordance to our target Service Leval Agreement (SLA).

End Points/Tech -- Number of computers and users serviced per technical team member.

Utilization - how much of our team's time is being used?

Realization - how effective is our team's time being used?

Cash Received -- did any new funds come in today, because this can never be neglected!

There are others, but these are the primary metrics we pay attention to as they are substantively client-experience focused and serve to help us keep our business healthy.

Many of these data elements come from our primary customer engagement software and others from our accounting software.

Due to the disparate data sources, we leverage the platform to help manage, organize, display and share these Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We are able to automate the collection of this data, which reduces the effort in this process.

Here are some tips for getting started with KPIs.

Start with just a few.

Imagine you are on vacation and would like to know "how the business is doing" as quickly as possible and would value not getting stuck on a long phone call with the office. You also do not want to have to connect to the office and lookup the information yourself -- some vacation that would be! Imagine you could have someone on your team text to you a handful of numbers and they would tell you all that you need to know.  What woud be in that text message? Whatever first comes to mind should be your starting point for your KPI list. 

From time to time, you will have intuition that a particular piece of information would be helpful for improving your leadership and management experience. Getting the data may be costly in terms of time but investing too quickly in automation may not be the right move early on. Not to worry. Here is what we recommend:

Define the KPI, giving it a name and a description. Think about this value. Is it a Leading Indicator or a Lagging Indicator?

A leading indicator means that this data portends future outcomes. An example of a leading indicator might be the number of marketing touchpoints established in a time period. This activity preceeds subsequent steps in a sales funnel including sales calls and proposals. The more touchpoints established, the more proposals, generally speaking.

Financial KPIs are often lagging indicators as they tell a story about a prior time period.

Once you have your KPI defined, start tracking it -- even "by hand" if you need to do so. Record new values as frequently as you can, ideally daily or weekly, though sometimes a longer time period is appropriate.

Spend some time with the data and see if having that information at your fingertips really makes an impact on how you manage the business or how your team executes. If the newly created KPI does not have an impact on your thinking, your management decisions, or the production of your team, then do not hesitate to discontinue working with the KPI. Howver, if the data provides solid insights to the operation of the business, then you can invest in subsequent automation, as necessary.

Sharing data is a very important aspect of success with KPIs. We like to speak in terms of "stakeholders". Every organization has stakeholders and different KPIs will be appropriate for different stakeholders. For example, many operational KPIs are appropriate for your team members. Financial performance KPIs are relevant for investors. Client experience KPIs are relevant for your clientele.

In addition to the platform which we utilize, there are many good KPI platforms available. Some are available with many data integrations to ease your automation steps. 

Lastly, give KPIs some time. It can take a number of months before some KPIs really help provide insights into your organization. Don't hesitate to give us a call to talk about KPIs for your business, or more generally how technology investments can help your business advance.

Contact us at 973.448.0070


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    Stamatis, Co-owner Twisted Lily, Fragrance Boutique and Apothecary
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