Basics about Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator and is a tool for monitoring key figures that are crucial for the success of a company´s business. A KPI can also be seen as a compass that shows whether you are on the right track or deviate from reaching your business´s objectives.
Checking KPIs on a daily basis can be an approach for managers to steer their business based on key figures. If there´s Real-time data available, managers do not have to wait for their monthly report from the controlling department anymore, but have the opportunity to step in dynamically when interventions are needed.
Using KPIs can also be an opportunity of confronting the sales force or other employees with the output of their work to hold them accountable and motivate them to perform better. KPIs should be available to all sorts of people working in a company and be visible on the landing page when logging into the software.
As a consultant my goal is to not just implement something in Cloud for Customer that looks fancy and is nice to have; my goal is to develop and deploy a solution that is simple and helpful for the client. KPIs in Cloud for Customer offer a lot of features that at first view look very basic but are extremely helpful and sufficient for monitoring key figures in the Cloud:
In the following, I want to present you a few basic features that come with Cloud for Customer out of the box and worked perfectly in my projects.
Basic Information about the KPI
One of the first things you can edit when you create a KPI is a Description of the KPI and a Calculation Formula. If you are the only one working on your KPI you may want to skip these fields, however, adding in basic information about the KPI you´re creatingcould be helpful for other people working on your KPI in the future.
Current Value, Context Report and Context-Dashboard
The Current Value is one of the things you have to define when creating a KPI. The Current Value is a number that is pulled from one of the Reports you have in the system. By giving the software information about the Report Name (Name of the Report you created), the Key Figure (Name of the Key Figure you used in the Report) and the Selection (Name of the Selection you created), you can pick a little piece of information out of the data that you structured and organized in a Report.
“In general, consider the following order when doing reporting in C4C: You pick a Data Source, build a Report on top of the Data Source and put KPIs and Dashboards on top of the Report. I call it the Reporting Pyramid of Cloud for Customer.”
Now, let´s get back to the KPI. The Current Value is mathematically spoken a numerator (top of a fraction) and can be either used as a Key Figure itself in the KPI or be part of a ratio, if we define another number from a Report as a denominator (We will talk about this later!). Depending on what you want to present on the Homepage, you will use both options from time to time.
Another feature that comes out of the box is the Context Report. The Context Report works similar in terms of adding in information in the fields: You basically give the KPI coordinates about Selections you have in the Report your KPI is based on. What´s interesting about the Context Report is the purpose of it. The Context Report is a pretty cool feature because it gives you more information about a KPI when clicking on it. I want to make an example from one of my recent projects:
“My customer wanted to measure the completion rates of Surveys that are completed by his sales force during Visits. Every salesman had to visit certain customers and complete Surveys with important information about the customer´s business. In order to make sure, the sales force would complete Surveys, a dynamic target figure was given to every salesman and the completion rate was measured and displayed on the landing page by a KPI.
While the KPI on the landing page was used to give the salesman a first impression about the completion rate of his Surveys, the Context Report would give him information about customers who still had to be visited by him in order to complete Surveys. When the salesman looked at the Homepage in the morning, the KPI came up on the screen and showed him information about the completion rate. With another click on the KPI, he had information displayed from the Report on his fingertips.”
A similar approach could be to embed a Context Report in the KPI of a sales manager, which gives him the opportunity to get an overview of the data of his team more quickly. Let´s say, he needs information about the frequency of Visits of his team: He opens the Homepage, looks at the numbers shown in the KPI and gets a breakdown of his team´s data by clicking on the tile which brings him to a Dashboard with information that is related to the KPI.
Values and Thresholds
If you click on the tab Values and Thresholds, you can add more information about your KPI. There´s two things I want to mention: First, you have the opportunity to define a denominator key figure that can be used to compute a ratio. If you want to compare two target figures, that´s exactly the feature you want to use.
Adding in information works exactly like for the Current Value, with one exception. The field Value Source can be used in different ways:
- Not Used: You have a Current Value but you don´t want to compare this number to another figure.
- Fixed Value is Provided: If you want to compare your Current Value to a static key figure, this option will work for you easily.
- Get Value from Report: If you want a dynamic target figure that´s what you want to use. Pull a target figure from a Report and make your KPI more flexible:
“In my recent project, I needed the third option because a dynamic target figure was required. Several target figures were created in a Report and embedded in KPIs. The deployment of these KPIs was very complex and time-consuming. However, if you have target figures that adjust automatically for a lot of sales people, this is what you want to go for since it promises low maintenance in the future.”
Another cool feature that can be used in a KPI is Thresholds. This feature makes your KPI look more appealing and is very helpful since you can work with colors that are easily understandable for Employees. A traffic light labelling system can indicate changes in your KPI. It is also a way to categorize achievements: Let´s say, you define a target figure for customers that have to be visited. In the end of the year, all customers have to be visited. By defining an Alert Point and a Warning Point, your KPI can send subliminal messages to Employees that won´t be misunderstood: Depending on the amount of customers visited, the KPI´s colors will be presented differently.
Add in Values for the Alter Point and the Warning Point. Also, give the KPI a value it can work with as a basis for comparisons. There´s basically three options that can be selected in the Value Source drop-down:
- Not Used: No Thresholds will be used, thus no colors in the KPI.
- Fixed Value is Provided: This is what you want to select when you have chosen a Fixed Value.
- Value is Percentage of Taget Figure: This is what you´ll select when comparing a nominator and a denominator (ratio).
“In my recent project, I used the third option. The client wanted to measure the completion rate of Surveys for customers. Depending on the value of the ratio, the colors changed. The client´s requirement was to use green when 50% of the Surveys are completed and 25% to move from the red into the yellow area.”
Of course there´s a lot more features that you can use in Cloud for Customer. However, I believe, with the features I just presented you can create nice KPIs for a wide range of customers and improve their business tremendously.