Precision Performance Management

According to Gartner, 70-80% of all business intelligence (BI) initiatives fail. Despite all senior managers call to harness the enormous data levels and drive more relevant insights into precision performance management, it isn’t happening.


Too many executive teams sign off on new investments in technology solutions and assume a positive outcome.

Unfortunately, while the right technology solution is critical to long term success, without a change in how the entire management team thinks about precision management the outcome is in jeopardy.

First, look at the technology: You can’t drive a more precise view of the business with the same old tech machinery that has used in the past. And the value of the technology goes well beyond the price you paid.

With enormous amounts of data and limited time available for managers to see the business with more precision, there are three standards to measure the capabilities of your tech investment.

1. Speed: Daily business activities by any manager in the market today are constrained foremost by time. With an attention span of 7-10 seconds, if your technology can’t deliver free-form interrogation to root cause business issues in seconds, you will never break the inertia for change.

Waiting for the IT department gate keepers to deliver new reports that still fail to give the needed answers or having to engage many applications to get the most basic answers is almost assured failure.

If managers can’t get answers NOW, they will revert to old behaviors and the new technology, despite its strengths will offer limited value.

2. Specificity: The rant from managers almost anywhere you go is “I need answers now, I don’t have time to spend in front of the computer!” and “I want to know exactly what caused my KPI’s to deteriorate?”

Too many executives define a good BI technology as one that can deliver insights to management. Insights come with nice KPIs that tell a manager that sales or profits declined in their area of responsibility. But business insight is the starting point.

If managers can’t then interrogate the data to see what caused the problem and make a change, then long-term performance is hindered.

3. Scalability: The ever-growing wall that blocks success to Precision Management with the right technology is lack of technological scale.

If you are investing in a tech solution that can only deliver a limited level of speed with reporting that is summarized or aggregated, then you are facing a unwinnable battle.

With enormous data levels sourced from multiple data silos, the ability to scale while maintaining speed to answers is critical.

Now, even if you have done your homework and found that unique technology hardware and software solution that will meet the three core criteria outlined above, the outcome of your Precision Performance objective is still in jeopardy if the executive team doesn’t change the way they manage and make critical business decisions throughout all levels of the enterprise.

Like our three core factors related to the technology investment, there are also 3 critical factors related to how the business is managed that leads to long-term success.

1. Knowledge: If the vision of the executive team is to enable managers to see all dimensions of the enterprise with more precision, then knowledge is the first key. KPIs can only be the starting point. All levels of management must be armed with the right technology that delivers precise access to all critical activities that drive value creation and results.

The challenge here is twofold. Even if the technology solution can enable a precise view of real value creation, managers must to trained to ask the WHY questions and drill down to the answers. Managers must discover the answers are available, which leads to the next key factor…

2. Power: When the reality of precise business knowledge is infused into all levels of management, long-term change in the culture of management begins. What sustains that long-term change is power delivered to each manager.

Power means that managers are armed not with precise knowledge, but when the real answers are there in almost real time, each manager must be given the power to make a business decision and they must be able to track the results of that decision. This is the beginning of real accountable value creation.

3. Stake: The last critical element that transforms the business culture and enables long-term success occurs when the executive team gives each manager a real stake in the game.

A stake in the game is a piece of the action for delivered results so that the business objectives of the enterprise and the personal goals of each manager are aligned.

When each manager is armed with the necessary knowledge, empowered to make decisions that can be tracked and given a stake in the outcome of those decisions, the culture transforms to one of continuous improvement.

Call it the 3×3 approach to Continuous Improvement.

Knowledge, Power, Stake enabled by technology that delivers Speed, Specificity and Scale. These are the key elements of long-term delivery of true (BI) Business Intelligence.

Karl Edmunds

About the Author

Karl Edmunds
Vice President, Salient Management Company

is a nationally recognized business leader and author with more than 20 years of experience working with suppliers, distributors, and retailers in the CPG industry. His focus is aligning technical solutions with sales, marketing, and organizational needs to drive long-term profitable growth.

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