Resources & Articles: Tracking Business Performance Indicators

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Sales Management Application - Have you entertained thoughts of how you can further scale your business using your CRM if you began integrating an easy to use BI Tool? Then look no further, because itís possible with InetSoftís agile and robust software...

Scorecard Measures - See how to create scorecard measures that you can embed into your Web application. InetSoft specializes in OEM'ing its scorecard technology to other developers. View a demo and download a free eval copy. Consider the following script. Note: Report script that modifies 'graph' should be placed at the element level. See Adding Element-Level Script. This creates a basic bar chart displaying the dimensions 'State' and 'Quantity 1'. To add the measure 'Quantity 2' to the chart as line element, follow the steps below: 1. Create a new LineElement to represent the graph of 'Quantity 2' vs. 'State'. A legend is created automatically. To modify the legend, make changes to the VisualFrame's LegendSpec property. See Changing Legend Properties...

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Scorecards Are Not Only For Senior Management - The number seven stupid measurement mistake is a lot of companies have scorecards only for senior management, and they present these to the lower level employees, but you find their eyes glaze over, and they are just not that interested because they really can’t see how anything they do on a daily basis makes any difference in the overall measures because there are four or five levels above them. So scorecards need to be developed for all levels of employees, not just for senior management. That doesn’t mean not communicating the senior management scorecards to employees. It means they have their own metrics that tell them how they are doing at their jobs. In fact, many companies have found that performance and employee morale went up after giving people daily and weekly feedback on their performance using scorecards. Number eight, I used to say that your scorecard should tell you what’s going on in your organization, and what I’ve learned over the years is that your scorecard might be a lot better if you included a couple of external metrics. What’s going on in the world might have a big impact on your decision making in your organization...

Seamless Cohesion Knowledge and Corporate Performance Management - In some organizations, there’s a big different between a client and a customer. In some organizations, it doesn’t make a difference, so using semantic technology in this sort of approach, it’s possible for us to be able to identify, rank, and rate the knowledge assets that are available to Jack and his team by the specific semantic information that we have related to their organization. So going back, we set up what was the overall linkage between performance management and knowledge assets. We then talked about an operational view of that in terms of what the different groups inside the organization would consist of and what the processes that they would use to link these things. The next was a more of a linking we would normally call a concept of operations in terms of how the map goes down to individual systems and how they could provide those knowledge assets and the linkage between those assets. Then it’d go down to a very detailed system view in terms of what the operational government’s processes are...

Second Stupid Performance Measurement Mistake - The second stupid performance measurement mistake is using annual metrics. We don’t have any of these in the finance area. We track performance daily, weekly, sometimes even hourly. You can’t run an organization by measuring performance once a year, but that’s how we measure things like customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction as we do a once a year survey. An annual metric has no place on your scorecard. Annual metrics are good for studies but unless you can measure performance at least quarterly, it doesn’t need to be on your scorecard. It’s something you track to supplement your scorecard data. A trend going on in industry right now, and some government folks are starting to pick up on this as well, is a metric they call Net Promoter Score. It’s a fancy name for a one-question survey. On a scale of 1 to 10, would you recommend us as a great place to shop, or would you recommend this as a good car to buy? The problem with these one-question surveys is that if you end up getting an average of four on a ten point scale, you have no idea why. So the data is not usable. You can’t use it to solve problems. You can’t use it to figure out what you’re doing well. The rule of this is that it’s simple, and the idea is more people will answer one question than if you send them 20 or 30 questions...

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Segmenting Callers into Clusters - Let me just show you one more interesting angle on this. So this is another call center that we have been working with, and in this case the theory was that the lower you could bring down average talk time the happier the citizens would be. These are people calling about their benefits, and the belief was currently they are on the phone too long, and no one wants to be on the phone with the state government any longer than they have to be, so we really need to bring this talk time down as low as possible. Well then we look at the data and as you can see something interesting about it which was that satisfaction was pretty high with short calls, and then you can see satisfaction takes a dip as people stay on the phone past about 2.5 minutes. People start being less and less satisfied. But then something very strange happened, which is at about 3 minutes 12 seconds or so, satisfaction started going up again, and this is a real mystery. What was this telling them? So we disaggregated the data, or in other words tried to segment the callers into clusters of certain similar characteristics. What you can see here is that there were really two different kinds of people calling. There were what we call the angry calls, or people who had just some quick complaints, something they wanted to be resolved, maybe their address was wrong, either the name was misspelled, whatever it was. There were these quick calls. And so these people who just want to get on the phone and get off the phone...

Selecting the Right Marketing KPIs - You can't improve what you don't measure. The first step to driving growth is understanding which marketing KPIs (key performance indicators) you should track. But with all of the options out there, how do you choose the right metrics for your business? Here are 20 tips to help you select the most important KPIs for your business. 1. Make sure your KPIs are measurable It's important to select KPIs that you can actually measure. There's no point in tracking a metric if you can't accurately track and report on it. When in doubt, err on the side of simplicity and choose a KPI that you can easily track and report on without too much hassle. Measuring KPIs involves more than just data collection. You also need to have a way to analyze and interpret your data so that you can take actionable steps to improve your marketing efforts. Make sure you have the tools and resources in place to properly measure and analyze your KPIs before you start tracking them...

Self-Service Integration - BI tools should be easy to use, and their findings should be easy to interpret. InetSoft's BI software not only offers the capability to create stunning visualizations at a robust speed; it also allows new data sources to be integrated with ease, without involving IT. Data can then be manipulated to create reports and dashboards, enabling all departments to gain insights and leverage their data without outside help....

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Should KPIs Be Selected Bottom-Up or Top-Down? - This is one of the most challenging issues in business intelligence. It’s unlike any other software segment, where you can define your requirements, and you can define your metrics, take CRM or ERP, for instance, and you will probably be OK with what you set up for a couple of years with just minor changes. But business intelligence and performance management are completely different. Because by design, you go through the regular cycle of defining your metrics and defining how you will source and calculate them. You actually develop them and roll them out, and you test them. You put them in front of the business users, and after a few months have passed since the beginning of the BI project, guess what happens. The people who asked for those metrics are gone. Or the work has changed. Or you have just acquired another company. Or you have just gone global. Or you have a new competitor. The world where you create your KPIs is very complex and challenging, and often changing. Sometimes if you use the top-down method of planning KPIs, by the time you finish defining your goals and objectives, and the metrics you need to monitor on a daily basis to understand where you are against those goals and objectives, you may end up creating metrics that you don’t have the data to support. On the other hand, if you use the bottom-up approach, where you first inventory all the data that you do have from all the operational systems, perhaps collected in a data warehouse, and then you try to guess what to measure, you can end up with a confusing mess...

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Significant Improvement in KPI - But to see such a significant improvement in that KPI by itself has just been amazing for us to see. It’s a great deal of improvement in such a short time. We’ve been talking about working capital for a long time, and we’ve got dozens of reports that explain working capital and which partners are responsible for which part of it. And I’ve just been stunned to be sitting in a room with the partner’s looking at the numbers and pointing at it, and saying oh, how it can be like that. One would ask, do you have it? Or another would say, you have to go and see the client, or can you go and ask that partner to see what’s happening with that balance due. It is amazing to see if the change in the -- they’ve sort of adopted it and driven it. So there’s been a huge increase in adoption and in getting engaged, being accountable. And also what we’re seeing is before we used to identity an issue, and it will just get parked, and then you talked about it in six months time, and it would still an issue, and nobody really advanced it. Now I think because everyone knows it’s going to be reviewed quarterly anyway, they better act on it now. I think the partners themselves are generally more engaged. We are seeing that we have a meeting, and within two days the actions have been taken. So, for example of the working capital, there’s a data, and it looks quite large, and it’s getting old, within two days somebody’s gone and spoken to the partner that looks after that account, and action gets taken so the account has been progressed, and we’re starting to see the outcome of it all. Mark: How do you interact with your senior management and your board? Has there been feedback from them? Ron: I have gotten a lot of feedback from them. It’s been interesting as well. I‘ve got a board meeting in a couple of hours actually to give them an update. Yes, they’ve been ringing me up, and asking have we got this report yet. Can you make sure I get it from my iPad? And if I’ve missed the email or something, they feel left out. They’re just demanding to get it, and gobbling it up. So, it was really interesting, too, because I didn’t expect that adoption success...

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Six Fatal Mistakes of Performance Management - I like to start with that slide because I want to talk to you today about what I call the six brutal facts, the six fatal mistakes of performance management. I am going to have to go quickly. Well, here they are. I want to talk about each one of them with you. These are the six fatal mistakes. We’ve perpetuated silo thinking. We over complicate the process. We don’t involve the workforce. We measure the wrong things. We declare victory too soon. We don’t institutionalize the initiative. I did my masters research into the nature of conflict and functional groups in organizational life. I’m fascinating with the notion of conflict. The first thing I talking about is silo thinking. Do you all know what an organization silo is? What’s a silo? That’s right, departments and divisions within your organization. If you want to see your silos, get a picture of your org chart. It’s the way we organize ourselves, structurally, functionally in order to get the work done. Silos are necessary, but the problem and the danger is when we fall into the trap, then I call it silo thinking. What's that...

Sound Strategy Leads to High Performance - Sound strategy leads to high performance, and both of those are everyone’s job and everyone within an organization needs to know what they do is very important to the organization, and this is how it links to the goals. So when we are talking about organizations, one of the things to do is of course to analyze and first to really get a handle on what are these things and how do they operate. They are living, breathing, dynamic things, entities, that you come into, and you really don’t quite know what really their pain buttons are. So, in most cases though, you are going to find some form of control, compliance, legacy type operations, and if you are going to want to move them towards performance and accountability, you are going to have to really go through a cultural change. In the old-fashioned IBM -- well I shouldn’t pick on IBM. In the old-fashioned 1960s corporate world, guess where you were at, you were here. Companies were governed by the rules. There was limited flexibility. They were not operating preventively. They were not operating proactively. Most organizations they had a negative focus. I have got to go to work. I have got to make a living. I have got to pay my bills...

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SQL Server Dashboard Tool - InetSoft offers visualization driven dashboard tools compatible with SQL Server housed data and many other data sources. InetSoft's Web-based dashboard application is 100% Java and enables quick development and easy deployment. As more businesses look for answers in the cloud and explore database virtualization, the location of data sources may change. However, the need to display data in visually appealing and easy-to-interpret reports will not change. In fact, today's business users and consumers demand highly graphical and interactive views into their data. InetSoft has been making sophisticated SQL reporting tools for business users since 1996...

SQL Server Performance Dashboards - Are you looking for a tool to create SQL Server performance dashboards? InetSoft has been an innovator in dashboarding since 1996, and our dashboard application connects to SQL Server and many other sources for interactive reporting and data mashups. View a demo . Try our free eval download...

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Stretch Targets in a Balanced Scorecard - You need to set stretch targets at each level of your balanced scorecard, and by all means, if somebody meets the stretch target, you better celebrate the success. That is something great. And I always work with managers, and I keep telling them you should focus two-thirds of your time on emphasizing the good, and only one-third of the time in those things where you need further improvement, because that will really drive your people Your people will stand behind you like one if you are going to do that. And that’s a tough thing. I work with organizations where there are a lot of engineers, and I am an engineer myself. Engineers are a really peculiar bunch. They don’t like all that mushy stuff, right, I mean they just don’t. It's like emotional intelligence. What’s that, never heard of that. So it's one of those issues that you are going to really have to address. Another one is you have to define is roles, responsibilities and hold people accountable for their performance however, with holding them accountable, you also have to allow them to succeed. So measures should be used as an early warning sign...