InetSoft Webinar: Are there “soft” and “hard” KPIs?

This is a continuation of a transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft entitled "Designing a Good Dashboard." The speaker is Mark Flaherty, CMO at InetSoft.

Mark Flaherty (MF): Yes, it very much depends on what KPI are measuring. You can have certain soft metrics where you relying on people’s experience. You need to have outside factors that you weigh in, and then you discuss it. And then there are certain very hard KPIs like warehouse metrics, which are very precise, and there can be grave consequences, if you cross a certain threshold. So I think it’s depends very much on what the contact is. But I think this distinction almost doesn’t matter. I think what matters most is that it’s the proper KPI for the person who’s doing his job. Their job is they got experience for the other factors they can bring in the picture.

We talk about the drill down. A lot of the KPIs are rolled up. So you are looking at a number that is the aggregate of hundreds of other things. By definition, that is not a discrete number. So often if that metric goes above or below the threshold, you have to take a closer look. A good dashboard will allow you to go to a certain level to do what we call micro analytics. We are not getting down the level of statistical analytics, but they allow the user to do the appropriate task to answer the question, and if they need more information then they refer back to BI analyst list to do all that sophisticated analysis.

What are the best practices for reviewing the KPIs in an organization?

This is business strategy. There will be a set of 5 or 6 KPIs that might never change. They should be part of the corporate culture. These reflect the company’s goals. Here is what is important for my division. Here is what important for my role.

And be confident those things will not change over the course of a week. They may change the course of a quarter or maybe a year, but those truths, or those goals, if it’s a mature company, those will be very static.

construction industry KPI dashboard example

InetSoft Viewpoint

"Another part of the integrating the technology into the management methodology has to be periodically asking questions, are we still measuring the right things? Should we measure other things? Have our priorities changed? It’s not just implementing the technology but marrying that with your management processes.

Also, sometimes the metrics you chose relate to solving a certain problem, and once you have succeeded, you’ll move onto another problem and potentially identify new indicators to follow. In some cases this might mean changing your corporate culture to pay attention to the performance metrics, to be able to adapt, to be agile, to communicate strategies by using the KPIs, align what everyone is doing, and get accountability." - Mark Flaherty, Chief Marketing Officer