We’ve come to the last article in our latest series about the Intrafocus Strategic Planning Process (SPP), which has recently been endorsed by the CPD Certification Service as a mark of its quality. Comprising seven workable steps, the methodology completes with a look at KPI automation and the vital role that it can play in facilitating strategic development.
Why is KPI automation so important?
Setting a strategy isn’t a one-time activity and those priorities, objectives, KPIs, targets and projects need to be regularly reviewed, accurately measured and consistently managed to mean anything at all. Otherwise, they will simply fade away and be relegated to a dusty file behind ‘BAU’ activities!
In the ‘bad old days’, strategy reporting was produced via old fashioned spreadsheets and time-consuming presentations. With everything produced manually, large numbers of employees were needed to laboriously compile information from across the organisation, leading to all of the expected issues with quality control, errors, standardisation and slipped deadlines. By the time reports were produced, half of the data was out of date and any queries or interrogation into certain information sets required the dreaded loop to begin again!
The good news is that modern software tools exist to make it easy. With tools such as QuickScore – which we have long recommended to our clients after reviewing many strategic software management solutions – it is easy for businesses to effectively implement, manage and measure their strategy.
Keen to find out more about the various KPI software packages available? Check out our Strategy Management Software Guide, which includes a template Request for Proposal (RFP.)
Getting set up
When you use a system such as QuickScore, it is extremely quick and easy to get started. Your IT leads can integrate the cloud-deployed software via its licensing arrangement and rapidly link it up with internal data repositories (such as your CRM) with digital APIs and all necessary data sharing and access permissions.
From this point, the user simply chooses the strategic elements which are needed for reporting. Add KPIs and strategic projects and see data trends emerge over time. Create a dashboard using simple and attractive widgets and automated graphical and tabulated reports. Include commentary, invite collaboration and comment and produce high-impact presentations in just a few clicks. The system is highly intuitive yet powerful and it draws on live data sources directly to guarantee accuracy and timeliness.
Even better, with the automated system, all strategic reports are automatically updated whenever the underlying KPI updates – and they are available to view securely on smartphones and tablets too.
Tips for creating great dashboards and reports
1. Know the audience – your data visualisations should be driven with your end-audience in mind. One size will never fit all needs, and strategy software makes it incredibly fast and easy to produce custom dashboards and reports. Keep your dashboards simple and don’t risk going overboard with widgets, colours and diagrams. They can evolve over time with feedback from your users.
2. Use a RAG status – but with caution. Previously, we introduced the value of KPI thresholds and reporting systems such as the common ‘Red, Amber, Green’, or RAG status. These are both useful but must also be used in caution. Readers are instantly drawn to ‘Red’ values and can miss the broader context or explanation. Provide text explanations to help managers and leaders to see what is behind the figures and to derive the full picture.
3. Train your people – Once you have invested in your strategy software, provide the necessary training to ensure that its capabilities are fully explored and leveraged within your business. The aim is to get all managers upwards using the software to see reports, to interrogate data, to look for historical trends and to find the context that they need to manage and progress the KPIs, objectives, projects and tasks that they have a named responsibility to deliver. The more you can train and assist your employees to embrace the process and its system, the easier it will be to bring your business strategy to life within your organisation – and to deliver it with success.
Find out more
The Intrafocus Strategic Planning Process is available with all necessary resources, including the Strategic Planning Workbook, the Strategic Plan Summary one-page presentation and the Strategic Plan Template. Download your starter pack or contact our experienced team of strategic consultants to find out more. We host strategy workshops for clients of all sizes and across all industries, providing valuable insight, guidance and facilitation to help your leaders get the best results from their strategic development. Calls us for a no-obligation chat about your needs and we will be delighted to assist.