KPIs and why a fuel-gauge is data-driven genius.
While driving you take a quick glance down to your dashboard and notice the needle of the fuel gauge hovering into the red; almost without thinking you decide you need to fill up your car later.
Congratulations, you’ve just made a data-driven decision using an effective KPI.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are intended as a way of monitoring the performance of the many different systems within an organisation. They should be the basis for the same level of fluent decision making within your business as the fuel-gauge is in your car.
Take a moment to reflect on that. Do your business’s KPIs work as seamlessly within your business as the fuel-gauge in your car?
Here are some points to consider:
The fuel gauge offers a single measure of the truth. We only need one dial to tell us when it is time to fill up our car, for example there’s no need to check an additional reading telling us how much fuel in litres is left. Comparably, there shouldn’t be multiple KPIs which ultimately point to the same measure within a business.
The fuel gauge has a communicated and meaningful threshold. Dipping into the red universally means fuel is running out and that threshold has been developed to give you the warning with enough time for you to get to the fuel station. Similarly, a business’s KPIs need to have meaningful thresholds and the performance against that threshold should be communicated effectively.
The fuel gauge measures something intrinsically relevant to the system in which an action needs to occur. The action required when the fuel-gauge shows you are in the red is obvious- fill up your car. The reason a decision can be made so fluently, is because the KPI is eminently relevant to the system where an action may be required. Well devised KPIs are the bridge between a business’s data and what they decide to do.
How do you feel your business’s KPIs measure up against the humble fuel-gauge? Are your KPIs driving home only the single most relevant measures, bounded with meaningful thresholds, and informing actionable change?
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We can take the guesswork out of defining KPIs and reporting, by formulating data insights architectures which precisely map what KPIs, analytics and reporting are both relevant to your business’s goals, and also effective in driving their achievement. Overall, you’ll have accurate and easy-to-understand maps of what data insights your business has, and how to use them. This will enable you to establish an enterprise information standard to govern which reports and dashboards are quality-controlled as part of your business’s ‘insights backbone’, and which need to be treated with caution as non-standard reports.
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