How do you get actionable data out of your datasets using self-service business intelligence? You’ll need to know what questions to ask, and for that, it’s necessary to understand the organization’s key metrics.
Businesses collect all kinds of data that they need to analyze. Without the right tools, only a data scientist could determine what data to use, analyze it and then format it for delivery to decision makers. Businesses now use self-service business intelligence software to deliver actionable data to users for analysis to reveal insights.
But you still need to know what data to use and to determine that you need to pick the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These key metrics allow end users to assess the situation then make decisions based upon them.
Therefore, how do you identify which KPIs are the right ones for your company?
Know Your Audience
Like any good writer, a developer needs to present what their audience wants or needs. When choosing KPIs you need to consider your audience.
- What is their level of experience?
- Is there the proper level of granularity in the data that is being presented?
- Is the data pertinent to the business need that it is supporting?
If you are unsure about what your audience wants, then engage them. Developing your requirements by speaking to them is a good way to ensure you will be giving them what they need for their analysis and decision making. A software vendor that integrates self-service BI with their own application needs to understand these requirements to at least set up a few key reports for their customers to build upon.
Context Is Key
Having data to analyze is a good thing as long as that data fits into the big picture—and this is where context comes in. When choosing KPIs, you need to consider what the data means in relation to other data that is being presented. As Cleverism reported, what KPIs are key metrics differs from industry to industry, and for different departments in the same organization. A few of the KPIs they say are important in a few verticals include:
- B2B – Total cost savings, on-time delivery, quality of services/products, availability of inventory.
- SaaS – Churn, lifetime value, monthly recurring revenue and cost per acquisition, etc.
- E-Commerce – Average order value, days and visits to purchase, share or search, conversion rate, visitor loyalty, average order value and task completion rate, etc.
- Content marketing – Unique visits, bounce rate, click patterns, page views and mobile readership, etc.
Your choice of a KPI may drive you to pick two or three others just to give that one context. Don’t worry if you don’t pick all of the best KPIs the first time. Trial and error may be necessary to get the right combination.
Are They Actionable?
One of the most important things to consider when picking KPIs is whether or not you can act based on the data that is being presented. Users should be able to look at what is displayed and see the significance in the data—and begin to formulate the action that is taken based upon it. If they don’t find the answers they need, they should be able to develop new reports and dashboards using datasets that can deliver what they need. Self-service business intelligence platforms make this possible, rather than making end users rely on their own IT department – or the application developer’s IT staff.
This can be very difficult to judge if you are not completely connected with the business processes. A self-service business intelligence platform enables the end user to develop reports and create visualizations to display actionable data so insights can be made.
Remember: end users look to take action on the data. Make sure that immediately relevant and actionable critical data is displayed prominently—and where users don’t have to search for it.
For an even more detailed look at choosing KPIs, check out the Cleverism article.
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