It seems as though the data explosion within today’s business environment has induced a data insights panic. If you have browsed any business publication within the past few years, you have likely read about the importance of metrics, key performance indicators (KPI’s), and dashboards as companies ferociously endeavor to find solutions that turn raw data into actionable insights.
In the midst of this data digestion frenzy, we’re seeing many companies make poor decisions about the business intelligence solutions they choose. Dashboard vendors have flooded the market, from major brands like Microsoft to uber-funded start-ups like DOMO, and companies are being sold on data eye-candy. This data eye-candy is produced in the form of templated and canned dashboards that look nice, versus solutions that actually meet business needs and drive a company’s business forward.
Typically, after a few months of using eye-candy dashboards, companies realize the dashboards in which they have invested are not very useful and adoption of the dashboard or reporting solution plummets. This is not only bad for companies because they have invested time and dollars into sub-par solutions, but for BI as an industry because adoption rates are still very low.
If your company has loads of data and you’re searching for a solution that turns your data into actionable insights that truly drive your business forward, check out the 5 ways to help you take your metrics from good to great before and after you purchase a reporting solution.Click here to download “5 Mistakes Executives Make When Buying BI”
5 Steps to Great Metrics
- Define your own goals and metrics. Whatever you do, do not define your company’s KPI’s based upon a best practices article you found online. Your business goals and KPI’s should be very specific to your business. In order to define your business goals and KPI’s effectively, you must understand leading KPI’s and post-KPI’s. Leading KPI’s are predictive in nature and encompass the factors that drive your business forward. Leading KPI’s are the most important KPI’s to monitor because you can ward off issues before they occur.Most companies focus on post-KPI’s, which encompass events that have already happened. When companies focus on these metrics, they do not identify problems until after they’ve occurred.
For example, if you’re building a dashboard about your personal weight loss, your leading KPI’s would include factors such as calories consumed and the amount of exercise you’ve completed. Your post-KPI’s would include the weight amount on the scale or progress photos you take each week. In this example, you would be able to avoid weight gain by focusing on the leading KPI’s versus the post-KPI’s.
Though the above is a personal example, the principle is the same in business. Sales do not “just happen.” Specific activities occur before each sale or loss of a sale, such as phone calls, emails, and demos. If you know that at your company, your sales team must complete a certain number of calls or demos in order to convert 400 sales-qualified leads and that your sales team will finalize a sale with 10 percent of those leads, you will know if your sales team is behind for the quarter just by looking at the number of calls and demos occurring.
- Don’t over-complicate your use case. One of the biggest reasons dashboard and reporting solutions fail at companies is that the company over-complicates its reporting needs by defining 50 different variables to measure before purchasing a reporting solution. Companies should simply define their top one to three leading metrics as a proof-of-concept and go from there. This will ensure that your company is purchasing a solution that meets your biggest reporting needs without over-complicating the searching and purchasing process.
- Get stakeholder feedback and run a pilot test early on. Often the teams testing and purchasing reporting solutions are not the only end users. An important part of the reporting purchasing process is involving all end users early on. Stakeholder involvement should begin when the testing and purchasing team is defining KPI’s and should include initial stakeholder education about the solution. During this phase, the testing and purchasing team should also run one or two pilot tests to see if any issues arise among the end users before moving further into the purchasing process. Getting stakeholder input very early on and running a pilot test will ultimately save your company a lot of time and money in the end because you’re more likely to end up with the right reporting solution for your business.
- Over-communicate. Throughout the purchasing and implementation process, it’s important to over-communicate the reasons behind purchasing the reporting solution and its benefits to your organization. Think of your communication about the reporting solution as an internal marketing plan. During the purchasing process, update your organization on the estimated rollout period and any results from the pilot test. Once you have implemented the solution, schedule quarterly reviews with your stakeholders and gather their feedback so that you can keep improving the solution and keep it top-of-mind with your stakeholders.
- Publicly recognize success. When stakeholders within your company produce measurable, successful results by using the insights they’ve gained from the reporting solution, publicly share their victories. These success stories will build momentum, adoption, and will increase the amount of applicable use cases for the product within your company as different departments tweak already successful applications of the product.
The Bottom Line
You do not want to fall into the eye-candy trap of business intelligence where your company ends up spending a lot of money on a solution that looks good but provides little value. Instead, take time to define your leading and post KPI’s, craft a simple use case, gather stakeholder feedback early on, conduct pilot tests, and communicate the implementation status and victories you’re generating with the reporting solution.
Have additional questions about how to take your metrics from good to great, contact us and we’ll be happy to help. Looking for an easy to use and powerful way to create and communicate your awesome metrics, request a demo of Yurbi today and see how we can help.Click here to download “5 Mistakes Executives Make When Buying BI”