How many KPIs?
People often ask us how many KPIs a business should monitor. Recently I met a business advisor and he was very proud of the fact that he had taken one of his clients from 30 KPIs down to just 5 and my first thought was ‘what have they just taken their eyes off?’
The thing with KPIs is that each one generally involves some degree of overhead, so somebody has to continuously calculate the KPI and report it. Bizeo eliminates that step so you can have hundreds of KPIs with no additional effort. So why wouldn’t you monitor every aspect of your business?
You might be the CEO of a large organisation and yet you’re still responsible for things like the website going down or if there is an OH&S breach or if the debtors get out of hand. Those are all your responsibility as well.
If there is no overhead associated with monitoring these things why not let Bizeo do it for you?
If you’ve got kids you probably spend a fair amount of your time wondering about how well they’re doing and worrying about things going wrong. The things is, we do the same with our businesses. The irony is that we worry so much about wanting to do well in our businesses to support our children that we spend a lot of time away from our children.
One of the beautiful things about Bizeo is it goes a long way towards giving you some of that time back. It can monitor parts of your business operations for you so that you don’t have to keep running around checking on things.
When you go on holidays you don’t have to keep phoning the office to make sure things are okay or to find out how things have gone. When you go home at night you can relax and spend some time with them without stressing out and that’s a great thing.
Sometimes when I’m showing what Bizeo can do one of the examples I use is the debtors KPI. With it I can keep track of how many outstanding debtors we have. It is quite natural for the next question to be ‘how can I get a list of those debtors?’
Well the short answer is, that is not what Bizeo does. What Bizeo does is monitors all of the metrics across an entire business and lets you know if something goes wrong. You can always go to your accounting system and get your list of debtors and you can go to Google Analytics if you want to see stuff about your website or you can go to your CRM system, you can always get reports out of those systems.
As a business owner or CEO, usually what I do when handed a report is go to the last page and look at the numbers at the bottom. My next question is ‘are they higher or lower than last time, i.e. what is the trend – and should I be worried about those numbers?
That’s what Bizeo does, it answers those questions and lets you get on with business.
I often get asked what sort of business Bizeo is ideal for and the short answer is just about anything. What I find is the more complex a business environment is the better Bizeo can add value because what it does is simplify things.
So, picture for example a franchisee who might own a few franchises. They have multiple individual businesses they have to monitor and then there is franchisor who might have to monitor hundreds or even thousands of franchises.
Bizeo can monitor individual stores, groups of stores, it can pass all of the data up to the franchisor so they can see how individual stores are operating and take action if some are not performing as well as they hoped. They can then summarise data and then pass summary data back to the franchises so they can see how they’re performing against the group average.
Bizeo makes this sort of complex process really simple.
There is an old saying in business that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are about simply measuring business processes or items that influence the performance of your business.
They might be things like your sales processes or they could be things like your staff retention, they could be the productivity of your workers, it could be something like the weather or the exchange rates.
There are lots of things that influence our business and in general one of your jobs is to find ways to improve those measurements.
Say we want to improve staff retention for example, the way we do this is by developing new processes within our business that might help improve that. The way you know whether it works or not is by measuring those outcomes through key performance indicators.
That’s what Bizeo does.
What to Watch
I have a lot of people ask me, ‘What should I monitor with Bizeo?’
The simple answer is just about everything.
I use Bizeo to monitor everything from my accounts and my IT infrastructure, I use it to monitor how my customers are performing and how the products we deliver them go.
I use it to monitor how external influences such as economic indexes are performing, I use it to monitor things like the weather. I can see for example when it is snowing in Chicago which is where my girlfriend lives, little things like that. Bizeo lets me know just about everything about the world that might influence me or my personal life.
Don’t be restricted just to business items as well, you can also monitor things like your weight or blood pressure. A lot of time business owners forget about themselves, watch those things as well.
Look after yourself with Bizeo.
What is Bizeo?
I have a lot of people ask me what Bizeo is and what does it do?
The short answer is, it is designed to simplify business and give you back control of that business and your life.
How does it do that? Those of us who run and own a business are really passionate about them. We spend our days and nights, our weekends and holidays checking on things, hoping to improve things and worrying about things that might have gone wrong.
Bizeo does that running around for you.
It can monitor every part of your business, let you know the second something goes wrong, gives you all the key metrics you need to monitor performance and best of all it reassures you that everything is ok so you can get back to enjoying your life.
One of the most important lessons I learnt over 20 years ago as a young businessperson was to focus on quality. My personal talent at the time was the ability to build large scale applications on the PC platform, something that was almost unheard of in the late 80s and early 90s. One of the key reasons for this was that the PC industry lacked the understanding of quality management that the minicomputer and mainframe markets at the time well understood.
I learnt that there were three key steps to producing a quality business that produces quality products and delivers quality service:
- Have quality control processes and procedures
- Design quality into your products and processes
- Develop a quality culture amongst your staff
These three points remain an integral part of my philosophy both in business and my personal life and of course they are at the heart of Bizeo. Not only are they used in developing Bizeo, they are the reason for Bizeo’s existence in the first place.
Bizeo provides a framework with which you can:
- Monitor and control all aspects of your business operations
- Place performance and failure monitoring at the centre of all business activities
- Provide a simple framework around which you can create a culture of focusing on quality amongst your staff.
It has amazed me as I watch how our little green dot can been used to change not just the operational aspects of a business but the culture within that business. Suddenly staff become focused on the metrics, and better manage faults and challenges. I personally have received a great amount of satisfaction of watching my quality philosophies extend beyond my own business into those of our Bizeo customers, and I hope you see it in your business as well.
I have always been a fan of elegant designs. A beautifully crafted item can not only be more aesthetically pleasing, it often ends up being more functional as well. Perhaps the most powerful effect of elegant simplicity is that it makes an item accessible to a larger audience, often for the first time.
What do I mean by this?
Computers became accessible to many people in the mid-seventies but they used command driven textual interfaces. Your average user had no chance of deciphering the complex sets of commands necessary to make a computer usable. The advent of graphical user interfaces not only made these machines more functional, it made them accessible to a far greater audience.
The iPod is another great example. Granted it wasn’t the first or arguably the most functional portable digital music player available but prior to the iPod, users had to download music files on to their computer and copy those files manually to their music player. By combining the iPod with iTunes, Apple eliminated these steps and made the process simple, thereby tapping a far greater audience and making portable digital music accessible to most for the first time.
This principle is the same one that drives Bizeo’s design. We believe that there is value in not only providing business owners with the data and metrics they want but it must be done in a beautifully simple way.
Yes, some business owners will tell you proudly of the days when they had their first Apple II or were first amongst their friends to have an mp3 player but the majority of business owners aren’t as focused on technology. They just want simple, powerful tools that will help them make better decisions when running their business.
That is what Bizeo does.
Last time I talked about Crowd sourced data, which is data produced by members of the community. While crowdsourcing is fantastic for some types of data collection, the reality is that most data sets are going to be developed by corporations, NGOs and government departments.
Of course the purpose of much of this data development is to provide a competitive edge, but there are exceptions. Many data sets developed are required for a particular purpose but are not core to a business’s operations. These data sets may not be seen to offer any sort of additional advantage to the business but they might be of equal or even greater benefit to others.
Open data sets such as weather measurements and forecasts we are all familiar with. They have profound impacts on our community and are easily accessible because they have been made to be so. But what if you were sitting on a data set you had no particular need to keep private, and you felt others might also find it useful? How do you publish that data quickly, easily and cheaply?
Open data sets offer great opportunities but there is often a barrier with getting open data out to the community in real time and in a usable format.
This is something the Bizeo team have been tackling for some time now.
There are already examples of this work like our Qld Government package which provides oceanographic and air quality data available to Bizeo users right now. Over the next few months, the Bizeo Open Data Initiative will be expanded. We will be allowing any Bizeo user to make any data set they have in their own Bizeo account available to the community of Bizeo users.
With this initiative Bizeo wants to help organisations who are sitting on data sets get that data out into the community. So whether you are a NGO wanting to keep supporters up to date with some vital statistics, a corporation wanting to make public their environmental performance data, or a council wanting to get tidal information out, our open data initiative will make it easier than ever.
To find out more contact the team at Bizeo and keep an eye on this blog.