Business Intelligence – KPI’s for your business

Key Performance Indicators – we’re all familiar with them for HR and Performance benchmarking, but how can we use them for wider Business Intelligence?

Whether you’re a manufacturer or reseller, KPI’s can really add lots of value to your business: supply chain, margins, stock values and sales insights. Unleashed Inventory software (with whom Cloudsolve are integration partners) are leading the way in providing real time and comprehensive Business Intelligence.

Here’s three steps they recommend to integrating KPI’s into your business:

1. Use live KPIs alongside your reporting

The first step is to start using KPIs alongside your traditional fixed-period reporting. Remember, reporting and KPIs are not the same thing. They’re similar on the surface, but there are some significant differences between the two.

KPIs versus metrics:

  • Specific vs general. KPIs track progress against specific objectives. Reporting metrics answer more general questions about performance
  • Live vs historic. KPIs are real-time and comparative. Reporting assesses a particular fixed period
  • Fast vs slow. KPIs are digestible at a glance. Reporting is a deeper dive

It’s essential that you use both KPIs and reporting simultaneously. Relying solely on reporting for analytics means only tracking performance in retrospect, restricting analysis to those with the time and expertise to process complex reports. It also means missing the opportunity to monitor progress against specific business goals in real time.

2. Give data access to the right people

With a working KPI process in place, the second step towards data mastery becomes achievable: empowering the right people in the business with relevant insights at the right time.

The right people

Who are the right people? Anyone that makes impactful decisions. That might start with management, but it carries right through to sales, marketing, distribution, manufacturing, fulfilment, procurement and finance. And it doesn’t just mean internal staff — externals such as accountants can give you better advice when they have better statistics.

Relevant data

Relevant data means information that staff can turn into actionable insights. Working with KPIs is a solid first step towards relevancy, the next is to ensure that workers know which indicators to watch. A basic understanding of the information that sits underneath the KPI is also useful, so staff can quickly dig a little deeper.

The right time

There are two aspects to giving access to data at the right time. The first is to make getting insights as easy as possible. A 2019 report by Veritas found that UK staff waste as much as two hours a day searching for statistics. Alleviating that issue will provide an immediate boost to productivity. And it will turn workers into data-based decision makers, able to prioritise the tasks that will add value.

The second is to provide a single source of truth. With so many inputs to play with, conflicting information can be a problem. So it pays to ensure that everyone is working from the same dataset.

Actionable insights: an example

Salespeople are a great example of how actionable insights can work in practice. Giving sales easy access to margin KPIs at the product level means they can make proactive decisions on which lines to push, when to offer discounts and more.

However giving them access to actual supplier lead times risks confusing things with irrelevant insights — and giving them margin information that doesn’t match what management sees means staff could end up working at cross purposes. In short, you’ll get the best result by giving the right people access to relevant data at the right time.

3. Focus on productivity

Now it’s time to put the third step into action: making sure that everyone is using data to achieve the same goal.

Empowering staff with the information they need to make informed decisions will help across the board, but adding clear direction into the mix results in a transformational improvement. Create a single top-line goal for what to achieve in 2020 and beyond, and staff can use data to ensure that their day-to-day tasks work towards that goal.

So make it your next job in 2020 to benchmark current performance against your broad business goals — and make sure that all the KPIs staff use are benchmarked too.

If you’d like to know more about the new Unleashed BI tools, then please reach out to us, or call 02) 8188 9019

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