BI Metrics effectiveness without next steps

I have been testing the Business Intelligence (BI) applications since 2007 now and in last 7 year, with every assignment comes across new metrics. Simple Imaginary examples of Metrics to set context are:

Percentage of Revenue by Region

Distribution of Sales by Region

No. of defects per release

Ever wondered what leadership or business teams would do by seeing these metrics. What actions are taken, if  a metric is up or down in an organization.

Some time, we can make a good guess if we know the system or business process well but then its not documented well that, that's exactly a CEO or CFO would do, when he scans and finds in a BI report that revenue is down by few percentages.

I feel, Metrics need to be followed up with at least 3 action items based on that number otherwise its just loses the very essence & context of initial vision and business value.

As a engineering team member which built BI applications, I feel there is a section or rule missing in the reports. 

"There is no section which talks about next steps if a metric is up or down"

Its always left to interpretation of the viewer to come up with his own action or set of changes in the business processes. I feel, these metrics can be more effective, if during requirements stage or in the course of development, business users can come up with at least 3 ACTION ITEMS for each metrics performance. These would provide the perspective a metric needs to be looked from, and more importantly, what's the next steps 🙂 , these next steps would be changing over course of change in business processes.

 Imaginary example:-

A CFO views BI report metric 'Revenue by Geography' and notices that revenue is down by 5%. Now example next steps could be:-

-If this metric is down by 5% or more, then immediate meeting is needed and business owner of BI application needs to schedule it. Outcome would be steps to increase revenue in region.

-If this metric is down by  less than 5%, then business owner would need to come up with a plan to increase revenue in region within next 3 weeks.

-If this metric is up by 5% or more, business owner should do drill down into more areas and share best practices with other folks in next 3 weeks.

-If this metric is up by less than 5%, than this is good news and normal business expectations are met.

Hope you enjoyed reading the post and walk away with some thoughts for the day!


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