When facts meet context

Alexandra Hoehne

Business intelligence and governance has traditionally been about exploring patterns and following trends of intelligent performance indicators. However this leaves it up to the individual manager to set the observation into it´s right context.

To give an example of what I mean: I found a site that basically listed and explained any KPI you could ever want for measuring sales performance. However I quickly found out that it is not evident what they are an indicator of. Using our management facilitation tool - ValueMiner - I tried to model the context - in terms of the KPIs and what objectives they were an indicator of.

It looked like this:

In the model you can see how the Objectives and KPIs are organised in separate hierarchies  (below each other on different levels).  The lines that flow between the two hierarchies, is what brings context - meaning for instance that the KPI "% surpassing of previous sales target" is an indicator of the objective "better sales forecasting", which is again a sub-objective of the objective "Reduce cost of sales".

My points being:
a) it´s first when you try to clearly express the context (relationship between indicators and objectives) - that the indicators provide a precise meaning
b) even-though the indicators may stay unchanged, the objectives will change over time - meaning that the context will also change
c) management teams would dramatically increase precision in communication by first agreeing on this context
d) building and maintaining context is underrated and requires a systematic management approach in order to become successful
e) once you have built the context, it is quite easy to build better KPI´s, set more precise objectives and efficiently measure and analyse if they are met

Here the link for a video we developed together with Qlik in order to inspire you all.



by Øystein Ullnæss