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Published on 9/18/2014 additional information available

Tracking Business Performance Using KPI Software by Luke Samuel

#networking marketing


Often we find in organisations, both large and small, that business performance is tracked using spreadsheets and word documents. When an organisation needs to track business performance, and we really do mean business performance not personal performance (that is a topic for another day) nowadays it is essential they use dedicated KPI software.

Using dedicated KPI software has many advantages. Not least of which is keeping all KPIs in a central repository and therefore enabling proper interrogation of metrics through the use of automation tools such as dashboards, reports, briefing books, alerts, drill down and a highly visual interface.

This is essential. It provides the means to create useful and meaningful reports or dashboards that management can use to make informed decisions. Clearly, there are standard or basic KPIs that all companies need such as Revenue, Profit, Gross Profit and Operating Costs that are relatively easy to interpret. However, there are also many other KPIs that can influence these major measures that need to be controlled as well.

Using KPI Software not only provides an overall picture, but allows users to drill down into multiple levels of details. For instance, from Revenue we could take a sideways look at Sales Revenue and then dip into specific Product Sales and on to the Cost of Sales for individual Products. This can be related to time periods - to check on seasonal variation- and operational costs associated with manufacturing and delivery. All of this could be achieved in seconds through mouse clicks via an interactive dashboard or by looking at the metrics themselves.

Without this mechanism, when using spreadsheets, multiple reports would have to be generated and cross-referenced manually. This can end up being time consuming activity resulting in delays and additional costs. Not only this, but it means that the people involved in the additional work will not be able to complete their normal daily tasks resulting in even more cost.

There is a further advantage of centralising KPIs into a single KPI management system. Most systems will allow the administrator to set permissions based on the roles of the people using the systems. With a permission system in place, KPIs, Reports and Dashboards can be made available to a much wider audience. For example, if an organisation wanted to publish its strategy in the form of a strategy map, then it could do so by providing permissions to all staff to this area of the KPI software. If however, it wanted the Profit and Loss statement to be available to only the finance team and the executive, it could do this as well by setting the appropriate permission controls.

Security is one of the biggest issues facing both large and small organisations. By proving a KPI management system that can be controlled by permissions based on role is a massive advantage. In today's highly competitive environment, the need to communicate effectively, to the right people is paramount. Distribution of information also requires the right infrastructure to be in place. Gone are the days when organisations need to rely on private networks alone. The Internet has provided the means to distribute information cheaply and effectively.

It does, however, require the right security protocols to be set up as well. The best KPI software solutions take advantage of the web. They are web based systems that contain the right levels of security to allow transit across a public network, while ensuring data is secure.

In summary, KPI software is a much more viable alternative than the use of spreadsheets and documents. It provides the means to drill down (or across) to find related information. It therefore provides a mechanism to make informed decisions quickly. The information can be distributed easily and to a wide variety of people based upon a role within the organisation.

Working as a consultant in the area of strategic planning and the use of the balanced scorecard. Software automation is central to good strategic planning and should be a core business tool in today's highly competitive environment. Check out Intrafocus Limited at They specialise in strategic planning software, balanced scorecard software and KPI software. They also provide professional certification classes for the Balanced Scorecard methodology.

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