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7 uncomfortable truths about business metrics

looking under the graphs and reports

You know it, they know it, some suspect it and others do not care about it. Yes, these are the 7 hard truths about many business metrics. Let’s take a peek into some key lessons to be understood about your business intelligence reports and shared information.

the numbers do not tell the whole picture

Beneath the numbers, there is often a story. There are reasons more complicated and unique to describe than being summarized in a simple number. The amount of blood, sweat, tears, anguish, delight, struggle, ease and range of emotions to reach those numbers are not in your reports. Do not just respond to the numbers, respond to the circumstances that make them.

You are less accurate than you think

Data is often made from averages, unregulated frequency of sourcing, selective bias and genuine mistakes. So, assume the numbers you see represent a guide rather than hard facts. Improve the quality of your metrics by asking and regulating the method of their acquisition and report presentation.

Opinions count more than metrics

Politics in business management is a hard fact. The larger the business, often the larger the role of opinions. This can lead to cognitive bias, misled or none presented data. These tough core facts need to be seen for what they are. Human nature. So, be sensitive to business culture and encourage transparency at all levels. This will remove as much as possible potential silo attitudes and more meaningful discussion about the numbers presented.

Show us the results and stop asking questions

There is a reality that report metrics are mostly encouraged to present lagging results driven number. The optimal reality is to encourage a positive mix of leading and lagging metrics to monitor performance and their eventual outcomes.

Cash is king

A balance of data accuracy and methods of collection needs to strike a balance between the cost of data collection for reporting and their actual value to the business over the lifetime of the reporting cycle.

You can only hide for so long

Avoid vanity metrics. Stop it. Enough said, just measure and report the facts, truths and areas that will enhance quality and performance. You have now been warned!

If the metrics go away then so will you

When a business takes it’s eye of the important metrics then service, quality, regulatory compliance and competitive advantage start to suffer. Be under no illusion, you will eventually go out of business, so best to measure, perform and adjust.