One thing which never ceases to surprise me is how little thought is paid by organizations to defining the metrics/Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by which they will define the success of a BPM initiative. Even when metrics are defined, and targets set, little attention is paid in making sure that those are achieved; and more importantly if they are not, then an analysis of the underlying causes for missing the mark.

There are those who argue that KPIs are not that critical because they are only a measure and not an enabler of the benefits itself, but that misses the point that without proper KPIs the extent of improvement seen (or not seen as the case may be) cannot be analysed

Despite these naysayers, it is widely accepted that definition and measurement of KPIs needs to be done, but there seems to be a number of challenges which prevent it being carried out satisfactorily. Some of the roadblocks include the unavailability of clean, base (pre-BPM) data which would allow for an apples-to-apples comparison, another issue is the difficulty of stripping away other factors which may impact the comparison, as well as the issue of which KPIs matter. There are a number of steps which an organization can take in order to get the best out of measurement and help them in their future BPM initiatives

  • Link BPM KPIs to corporate strategy goals – so if the corporate goal is to be in top 3 in customer care, then customer satisfaction index levels would be a relevant KPI
  • Set aggressive but achievable targets – Have you tried getting hold of benchmarking data to compare against industry rivals, many consulting firms offer benchmarking services, just ensure that they are using up-to-date and meaningful data
  • Tie-in other aspects to the KPIs – for instance employee goals could also be tied to the KPIs, so that everyone is pulling in the same direction
  • Ensure KPIs are meaningful to users on the ground and can be used to motivate them – what is often called gamification these days, for instance developing user leaderboards in hitting targets and numbers, all linked to the KPIs
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff – so some of the improvement in customer on-boarding numbers is not just because of the BPM initiative, but may also be down to regulatory changes which happened mid-way; great if you can strip away that effect and have a fair comparison, but even if you don’t, it at least it provides some useful data which can be leveraged for analysis
  • Champion the improvements seen – People are always impressed when presented with actual data, use the numbers to win more funding for future initiatives and encourage others to jump on the BPM bandwagon


Finally one of the biggest reasons is that some people in organization may not want to highlight the KPIs, because the engagement did deliver the much-touted benefits promised in their original business case. Organizations must make sure, that accountability is ensured in this respect, but they must be fair, and KPIs should be used as a carrot rather than as a stick to encourage process innovation amongst teams