As part of the recent activity we have been doing for Royal Bank of Scotland I was asked the question by one of the delegates (a Banking Advisor who's portfolio includes 60-80 businesses) "What are the main metrics you should be measuring as a businesses".
It came back to mind when I read 10 Google Analytics Resolutions for 2013 by Mike Loban. Like all resolutions the probability of success depends upon some key factors.
- Do you really have SMART Objectives - It's vital to know where you want to go and when. These need to be defined for each business
- Do you have the capability to understand progress against targets - either historic performance or expectations, at a sensible level of detail. By this I mean enough not too much!
- Do you a structured process to review and refine performance - Turning the SWOT analysis into SO WHAT?
The great thing about Digital data is that you have lots of data, BUT the worst thing is that you have lots of data - As Albert Einstein highlighted "Not everything you can count, counts".
Whilst on line products such as Google Analytics have provided greater visibility unless you actually define what you want to see, how and when, you risk falling into "Analysis Paralysis" - Reviewing unimportant or vanity metrics on an adhoc basis rather than focussing consistently on the important metrics.
They are called Key Performance Indicators for a reason! If you want to have a chance of achieving your Digital New Year's resolutions in 2013 for your business, answer these questions honestly:
- Do we have a Dashboard report? - If No get one . If Yes Print it out on one sheet of paper
- Can I read it? If No then you have too much info
- Can I see quickly what’s happened and the potential impact on performance moving forward ? Does it show historic and future estimated performance
- Is the produced on a regular (monthly) basis in a consistent format ? Compare the last three versions
- Does it show the most important information aligned to Business Goals?
- Does it enable and drive business decisions to be taken ?
If you can answer yes to all the questions the next key activity is to make sure there a formal mechanism that determines and records the SO WHAT? You only really have three options or decisions to take - Do nothing / Investigate / Adjust something.
Call it a monthly board meeting, performance review, weigh in etc, the name is irrelevant. Unless you schedule the time to review and refine your activity you will be stuck in the "Do nothing camp" by default, hoping to disprove Einstein's observation that "The Definition of Madness is doing the same thing again and expecting a different result!"Where do you start ?
- Review what you have and how you use it.
- If it does not do the job - change it
- Remember your Management Information should be judged on if it works not how it looks!