Business Strategy, Innovation, Leadership

Improving metrics may not indicate success

Metrics, data analytics, and business intelligence are all the rage in the business world, especially in the technology sector. With the increase of big data, new types of charts, graphs, and tables are continually being developed in order to grasp the immense pieces of information.

Metrics and analytics are important. Extremely important.

But what are we measuring and why?

Improving metrics, innovative methods to show data analytics, and readily available business intelligence is not our goal.

Last weekend, during a television broadcast of a college football game (American football), the announcers discussed how the coach of one of the teams was excited about his team’s performance. The coach talked about measuring the team’s conditioning, strength, and speed, and he was impressed that his players had improved in every metric.

However, in reality, these metrics are not a demonstration of success, even though the metrics themselves are improving. I’m assuming that coach is more concerned with whether or not his team is winning more games (or perhaps whether or not more of his players are graduating with degrees). For either outcome, the metrics mentioned (conditioning time, strength, and speed) indicate more work by the team, but the metrics do not indicate success.

In my line of work, metrics, data analytics, and business intelligence are often used to show more work (either by the IT service provider or by the IT environment itself). But, as with the college football team, more work does not indicate success.

Success depends on increasing value.

So, before creating new reports, it’s important to determine how a service provider (or any company for that matter) brings value to their customer. Only then will provider be able to design metrics, analytics, and BI that actually show success.

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