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Data Discovery is about the Key Performance Questions

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Data Discovery is about the Key Performance Questions

The Key Performance Questions and real time tools to drive your business strategy.

Business Metrics, KPI’s and KPQ’s !

Traditional Business Intelligence reporting has provided snapshots of business metrics and KPI’s that has provided guidance and direction to companies wishing the achieve a goal. It is in essence static in its nature. Set KPI’s with set metrics are created and displayed in a report format often a printed monthly report or even a live dashboard.

These metrics are often connected to a database and the information parsed to a report and KPI’s are often ‘off the shelf’ KPI’s.

What is a Business Metric?

business-metricA Business Metric is a measurement that is used to monitor the status of a specific business function. Business metrics are specific to key departments or audiences, such as Marketers which would need to monitor and track marketing campaigns and statistics. Sales teams need information about sales leads and opportunities.

Business Metrics can be thought of as reporting and monitoring of departmental data.

What is a KPI?

KPIThe term Key Performance Indicator describes its function, it provides a measurement of the many elements required to drive a business to its goal. In effect they are more operational than strategic. Often individuals and managers are transfixed by KPI’s and are driven by targets worrying whether they underperforming or celebrating if they achieve or better the KPI target.

Business Metrics vs. KPI’s

So what is the difference between the two?

Business Metrics are used to track and monitor all areas of a business, where KPI’s are used to target critical areas of performance.

For example you would use a business metric to monitor website traffic and compare that against a particular goal. You would use a KPI in the same context to determine how the website traffic contributed to your sales.

The KPI is only as good as the question you have asked it to do!

There are many ‘standard’ KPI’s that businesses tend to employ however these are generic KPI’s and are not customised for your business. The real value in KPI’s lie in the question thats specific to your business.

A KPQ – Key Performance Question

The KPQ was keyed by the undisputed thought leader of performance management Bernard Marr in his article “What The Heck is… A Key Performance Question?

Bernard Marr has tackled the problem of ensuring that your KPI’s are meaningful and relevant to your unique business goals.

Instead of using ‘standard’ KPI’s he tailors the KPI’s by asking KPQ’s!

KPI’s should be constructed around the individual strategy of your business. It is vital to ensure that you firstly know what the strategy is using an existing strategy roadmap. Once you know the strategy then you need to determine what data you need to monitor to acheive that strategy. Once you have these KPQ’s in place then KPI’s can be constructed correctly.

A ‘standard’ off the shelf KPI is a bit like starting to build a house without the foundations. Start asking KPQ’s and get your KPI’s right from the start.

Data Discovery and the hidden value

Business Intelligence

So we have identified the KPQ’s and created KPI’s to monitor and guide our business strategy and have identified the Business Metrics needed by all the departments. We now need to ensure the employees adopt the process. Emails, pdf’s, spreadsheets and data do not inspire employees to manage and buy in to the process. It is well known and proven that images and graphics provide an easy on the eye and fun way to achieve results.

Enter the Business Intelligence Dashboard.

An image displaying a Business Intelligence Dashboard

Dashboards provide an easy up to date snapshot of all your KPI’s and Business Metrics, employees can monitor and intuitively understand the goals and strategy of the business they are in. With a web based business intelligence dashboard employees can be on top of their KPI’s live and drive the business using the strategy defined in the original KPI’s without multiple management meetings. This gives the employee the ‘authority’ to drive forwards within remit of the business strategy.

Data Discovery

Great so your employees are now engaged in driving your predefined business strategy forwards with a beautiful dashboard providing them with the key business metrics and KPI’s.

Now its time to give them the tools within the dashboard to interrogate and improve on their metrics.

Data Discovery is about identifying what is hidden in the data being provided such as trends, problems and the ability to drill down into the metrics to see if they can improve the KPI’s. The ability to do this for the inquisitive will inspire creativity and ownership for the employee.

Try it out below.

Business Discovery Portal

We have started the process with a business strategy roadmap, from that we have established our KPQ’s and from those created our KPI’s. We have identified the Business Metrics for each department and have visualised all this on a dashboard that is interactive and engaging.

This is how we customise our clients dashboards, but to bring this all together into one easily managed platform we provide our clients with a Business Discovery Portal where all users within an organisation can access, interrogate and action the company strategy.

Whilst many start with one dashboard the portal makes it easy to add additional dashboards for each department. Each user is given access to their individual dashboards, for example a marketing user would have access to the Website Analytics, Marketing and Sales Dashboard whilst the CFO would have access to all financial metrics. The CEO of course would have access to everything including an executive overview which gives the CEO a birds eye overview of all the dashboards.

Demo of the Business Discovery Platform


To drive your business strategy in the right direction to achieve the business goals, it is essential to both monitor key business metrics and KPI’s and give employees the desire to engage in the strategy.

Providing a visually engaging platform for employees to engage with provides ownership, motivation and drive to better themselves whilst driving company goals.

The Data Pathfinders love talking Dashboards, Business Intelligence and mostly how we discover the hidden gold in your data. If you would like to know more with an informal discussion  please contact us we would love to hear your thoughts.

Or to learn more see our Business Intelligence Solutions.

By | 2015-01-24T04:45:13+00:00 December 11th, 2014|Business Performance, Data Discovery|1 Comment

About the Author:

Mark is an Internet Technologist that has been around since the very beginning of the World Wide Web. His interests lie in the innovative web technologies such as semantic search and connected data that brings real value to the users of the web.

One Comment

  1. […] If the ‘standard’ KPI’s do not fit your business or you need additional KPI’s then you will need to define your own unique KPI’s. To do this you will need to come up with some Key Performance Questions. […]

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