By David Hatch, Guest Author
Businesses thrive or fail based on their ability to identify, define, track and act upon key performance metrics/indicators (KPIs). Executives and line-of-business management are increasingly feeling the pressure to establish the right KPIs to enable timelier and more accurate decisions. The faster and more accurately KPIs can be accessed, reviewed, analyzed and acted upon, the better chance an organization has for success.
KPIs are at the heart of a performance management initiative, and are meant to provide strategic measures of success (or failure) rather than just measuring non-critical activities and processes. KPIs can provide “business alignment” across all levels of an organization (business units, departments and individuals) with clearly defined and “cascaded targets” and benchmarks to create accountability and track progress. The success of any performance management program is thus dependant on an effective strategy for defining, tracking and acting upon KPIs.
Business executives have many options for implementing a KPI-based performance program, and Aberdeen research conducted as part of an upcoming study, to be published at the end of September 2007, reveals some interesting findings regarding best-in-class (BIC) companies (those that have attained the highest performance results across several financial, customer, process and organizational measures). Best-in-class (BIC) companies have implemented KPI strategies, capabilities, and technologies that have delivered positive results toward improving performance:
* 70% of BIC companies have improved their time-to-decision by greater than 10%; vs. 7% of industry average and 5% of laggard companies.
* 33% of BIC companies improved market share by greater than 10%; vs. 14% of industry average and 3% of laggard companies.
* 47% of BIC companies improved profitability and revenue by greater than 10%; vs. 22% of industry average and 13% of laggard companies.
Best-in-class companies are almost twice as likely as other survey respondents to have dashboard and auto-alert reporting capabilities in-place. As a whole, BIC companies have selected technologies and services that center around providing rapid access to KPI information (Dashboards, Scorecards and Auto-alert reporting) and assistance in understanding the KPI process via management consulting & training.
53% of best-in-class companies are using a balanced scorecard approach. Of those who are utlizing a balanced scroecard, the style and approach is distinctly different among BIC companies vs. industry average and laggard organizations. The differences lay mainly in the level of complexity and logical mapping between strategies and KPIs. Aberdeen research has found that BIC companies are more likely to incorporate a “strategy map” into the balanced socrecard process, and cascade KPI metrics to departmental goals.
What are the common themes that characterize firms enjoying best-in-class performance? The following is a short list of the top characteristics as reported by respondents to Aberdeen’s primary research survey (click here to take the survey!):