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Define and monitor your KPIs

Using our business process management software it is easy to extract data from all your business applications and create a unified view of your key performance indicators. To make sure you are actually monitoring what is crucial for your business, picking the right KPI is an important choice. We are of the opinion that any KPI you define for your BPM system should be directly traceable to some component of your overall corporate strategy. There should be a direct link from KPIs to goals, from goals to objectives and from objectives to strategies.

Let's say your company has developed a strategy to improve its overall operational excellence. While this strategy is certainly achievable, it is hardly quantifiable and therefore far from being a KPI. However, one objective you could establish to execute the strategy you've developed could be to improve operational performance in document handling. From there, two sample goals to meet that objective could be to reduce dispatch time on incoming requests and to process more applications per employee. These goals are concrete and well on their way to being quantifiable in that you can attach numbers to them, but they're still not metrics that enable you to monitor performance.

Developing those metrics is simple, however, once you have developed the concrete goals. For example, let's examine the goal to reduce dispatch time on incoming requests. The KPI for this goal would obviously be the percentage reduction in dispatch time per request.

Once you've defined your KPI, you can then decompose that KPI into its various systems of origin, dimensions and calculations. The system that feeds information to the KPI calculation would be your incoming document log, emails and timesheets. The dimensions ­ or ways by which you can sort the information ­ could be time period, type of request or department receiving. The calculation would be dispatch time current quarter versus previous quarter.

The key here, however, is that there's a direct link between the actual, hard numbers and the high-level corporate strategy. The KPI of dispatch time reduction percentage rolls up to the goal of reducing dispatch time on incoming requests, which in turn rolls up to the objective of improving operational performance in document handling, which - finally - rolls up to the strategy of improving overall operational excellence. The implication is that if you meet the KPI numbers - whatever you have set the numbers to be - you meet the goals and objectives and execute the strategy you've set.