How many KPIs do you need?

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How many KPIs and reports do you really need to do your job?

I have been gathering the reporting requirements for a shared service implementation of a pre-packaged ERP system which covers all the basic back office functions such as General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, HR, Procurement and Spend and Projects. It’s a fascinating exercise to go through as we need to visualise what information a new user will need once we go live and it is ending up needing a huge number of KPI’s and measures to cover all the different processes.

It is a large project for which I am leading the reporting stream and the starting point has been to gather all of the existing reports that the organization uses to manage their business which number in the hundreds. I got to thinking about how this compares to the information that I need to do my job or to run by life and have realized that often one simple KPI or measure can make such a huge difference to a person’s life or job that it can be a game changer.

In many cases it supersedes many of the others and a relentless focus on those one or two measures can drive better results.  I also have come to understand that focusing on one thing at a time gets much better results than multi-tasking. For example is the story about Ben Hunt-Davis won Olympic Gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 as part of the Men’s Rowing Eight and focus on only those things that made the boat faster.

In my job as leader of the Oracle BI team in Capgemini the 2 simple KPI’s I need to focus on are client satisfaction and team retention and satisfaction. Of course there are many other KPI’s behind those 2 leading indicators but I find that by focusing on clear simple unambiguous numbers makes it easier to do my job and to focus on the right behaviours.

What are your favourite things that you focus on and what KPI’s help you do that? For me, I try to wring the most out of every second of everyday so streamlining my travel is really important. My favourite MI tool, my iPhone has given me 2 new amazing metrics that have revolutionized this task. Number one is the live departure board information on app which tells me whether my train to or from London from home is on time or delayed which can give me a few precious extra minutes at home or tell me the optimal time to leave for the station. I live ten minutes walk from the train station; so I can get a cheeky bus ride home if a bus is due within ten minutes of arriving at the station. Therefore my second favourite KPI is the live bus departure time app that tells me exactly when a bus is due.

What are your KPIs that help drive your life and help you in your goals?

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