Creating a culture of Management by numbers

You can only improve the KPIs you can measure

Create a culture of Management by numbers using the power of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). You should not aim to improve all at once - start with small steps and we promise you will get to the results faster. Often it is hard to choose what you should look at first - this years turnover compared with last year, should you be looking at customer satisfaction after new marketing and new customer sales or is it sales person call times and Promotional product sales?

The right answer is simple - measure what is important to your company and what brings you closer to your goals.

Be prepared that to get closer to those answers you will have to do some homework - business intelligence can do miracles on data, if it is correct. The good news is that you can use Business Intelligence also for Improving your data quality and access a whole new world of numbers that actually gives you insight and you can trust.

Step 1: Identify Current Pain Points and understand your Business Goals

Many companies start by trying to quantify their current performance. But again, you can get lost in an endless spiral of choices on what data and metrics to measure.

So it is important to return to the question: What makes the company better at what they do?

You can approach this question by looking at the stage of growth of your company, the industry your work in or by department.

Lets start by considering the stage of growth your company is in. As a startup you would focus most on metrics that prove that the business idea works, whereas as an enterprise company you would focus on metrics like customer loyalty and retention.

Or, you can examine this question by industry: a services company (consultancies) would focus more on customer satisfaction for example using the Net Promoter Score, whereas a company that develops products would focus on product usage and operating productivity.

The approach we will be using is looking at your company by department.

Ready to dive in? Start by examining each department to find the pain points and health factors for every department. Here are some examples of KPI metrics you may want to look at:


  • Product related tickets
  • Customer satisfaction (NPS Net Promoter Score )
  • Usage statistics (SaaS products)


  • Brand awareness
  • Conversion rate
  • Site traffic
  • Social shares


  • Number of bugs
  • Length of development cycle
  • App usage


  • Budget forecasts and results
  • Operating cash flow
  • Net profit margin
  • Gross profit margin


  • Items sold/not sold
  • Sales person targets and results
  • Geographic spread of customers


  • Sales person activity and gross profit over time
  • Sales person time spent by customer category
  • Customer value
  • Customer activities

Step 2: Break It Down to A Few KPIs

Now that you have found relevant KPIs to measure and track through out your company use your business goals as a guidance and break them down even more. Even though every company will be different, less is almost always more when it comes to KPIs.

Tracking too many KPIs and details you are risking to loose track of the most important goals.

Selecting the top 7-10 KPIs is a great number to aim for.

Spend time on defining and choosing your KPIs instead of adding them for the sake of having more pretty numbers and hoping they will be useful.

Step 3: Carefully Assess Your Data

After you have your main 7-10 elements – you can start digging into the data and start some data modelling.

A good question to ask at this point is: How does the business currently make decisions?

For this you will need to consider based on what data decisions are made. Interestingly enough you will notice that decisions not always are made based on numbers. Sometimes product improvement decisions will be made based on the complaints of the most painful customer instead of the numbers of support issues all together or maybe even gut feeling of some managers.

In order to create a culture of number based decision making and getting the most out of your KPIs you need to focus on the metrics that you can actually measure. Do this by asking questions like: what do I need to count, what do I need to aggregate, which filters need to apply, what are the relevant dimensions? For each of these questions you have to know where the data is coming from and in what format.

Consider that data will often come from multiple, disparate data sources. For example, the sales data will be coming from your ERP system, but your yearly budget is prepared in a separate excel sheet. This is where the power of the right BI solution can really shine. can seamlessly combine data from over 17 different sources.

Step 4: Represent KPIs in an Accurate and Effective Fashion

Congrats! You’ve connected your KPI data to your business. Now you’ll need to find a way to represent the metrics in the most effective way.

Create interactive and easy to use dashboards that your team can access, drill down, discover underlying data and perform easy analytical tasks. If suitable you can as well use wallboards and screens to display dashboard in a good visible place in your office, warehouse or at the assembly line. Using public dashboards like that will motivate your team using results, connect them across departments and make them feel involved in your companies goals.


Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. Start with the most basic and you’ll be surprised how often companies don’t know the answers – and you’ll be a data hero just for asking. And can be a your sidekick and best help when you decide to tackle the challange.

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