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Driving Outcomes with Data-Driven KPIs and The Deming Cycle

In our recent article about choosing the right North Star Metrics ,we talked about the ITAM management framework’s role in defining clear objectives for people, processes and technology. This framework emphasizes the continuous evaluation of these three areas to align with required organizational outcomes measured by North Star Metrics. These are a simple success measure such as a monetary saving, or compliance with a regulatory body. As part of evaluating the ITAM management system, we assess whether the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have been set to benchmark and track departmental activities to achieve desired business outcomes and remove any blockers.

The KPIs will also enable quick identification of where a blocker sits (eg software contracts not being uploaded into a catalog), so the department can be managed/enabled. The process of defining KPIs aligns with the Plan and Do stages in the Deming cycle of (Plan, Do, Check, Act) PDCA outlined in the ISO 19770 certification.

Get The Measurable, Repeatable, and Sustainable Data

The next step includes the Check and Act stages, enabling you to evaluate the defined KPIs set within your organization and ensure they continuously drive the business towards achieving the desired North Star Metrics and realizing defined outcomes.

The crucial factor here is establishing the KPIs on complete and accurate data for tracking activity and compliance effectively. Reports must be standardized and populated with data that hasn’t undergone any form of manipulation this will ensure consistent month-on-month, like-for-like comparisons, removing any ambiguity from the intelligence provided. Data must be extracted from all sources across your environment to ensure there are no gaps. This level of data mastery will build a solid foundation upon which the course to achieving your North Star Metrics will be based.

All too often, Anglepoint’s experts speak to clients who have the same consistent problem with data visibility and quality.  This directly impacts all functions of ITAM including the ability to run effective Software Asset Management due to poor, untrustworthy, or incomplete data. Consequently, all outputs from the ITAM department to business stakeholders lose credibility, impeding timely problem-solving and affecting financial reporting, departmental-level reporting, time to value, and regulatory compliance. Overcoming this is resource intensive, requiring experienced consultants to carry out low-level data de-duping and Excel work.

By deploying the correct data-gathering tools and ensuring efficient data collection, consolidation, and de-duplication, the necessary foundation is laid on which the reports, to measure KPIs, can be built.

Once the correct data is ascertained, this needs to be presented in a centralized and readily available, dashboard of reports that will show this measurable, repeatable, and sustainable data in a format that is understandable and provides the actionable intelligence required. This provides transparency across the business and enables a singular control panel on which the various KPIs can be viewed together, showing cost savings, challenges, required investments, etc. Having these aligned KPIs presented like this is very powerful and strips out the politics  – the business is all aligned and looking at the same information. It provides absolute clarity on steps and decisions the business needs to take. Viewing the data like this means that minor adjustments can be made to improve KPIs; This will ultimately drive the outcomes to hit the desired North Star metrics.

This image shows an example of a KPI tracking dashboard.

KPI Graphs

Regular KPI Reviews

Reviewing your KPIs is necessary to show whether your organization is meeting departmental goals and staying aligned to the overall North Star metric.  The review process will be based on two critical points. Firstly, it involves examining the actual figures that your KPIs are delivering. Are these improving and moving in the right direction?  Are departments achieving their quarterly goals? For instance, you might have reduced cloud spend by 35% in the last six months.  This is great, right? Potentially, yes, but not if the business output is failing.

The second critical point is assessing the impact of these KPIs. Are they driving the right behavior, or do they need to be adjusted?  For example, to reduce cloud spending, you may have taken out a tool relied upon in the back office, requiring manual actions to backfill the function and slowing down the delivery of services or products to customers – not so great! Having a view of the reports in a single pane view can highlight both the positive and negative impacts of these changes, allowing for regular adjustments to keep the business on the same trajectory. It’s important to keep in mind that a significant gap between reviews can cause the continuation of an incorrect process to persist,  potentially resulting in increased risks or costs that will require additional time to remediate and resources to backtrack completed work.

Our eBook “Optimizing ITAM KPIs: Data Visibility For Program Excellence ” explores this topic further with great recommendations to define your North Star Metrics, align your KPIs, and gain the required visibility of accurate data needed to measure and review these key metrics.

If you would like to speak to our experts about support to help define your organization’s North Star Metrics and the KPIs required to achieve them,  contact us to arrange a call.

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