Do not to overcomplicate the simple or oversimplify the complicated.

I was going to write about what the vision of a market-driven value chain is, but I have had another line of thought related to my last post. I gave some really basic examples of how to measure process performance and urged companies to start measuring. I wonder if I set a too low level on what I wrote or if I hit the right low level to help companies from being discouraged from making measurements.

My thought is: “In a complicated world and in complicated companies, how do we make the numbers simple”. In IKEA simplicity is a virtue and it has definitely rubbed off on me in the years I spent in the company. Simplicity cannot be a goal in itself; simplicity is something you need to put in your company culture as a natural way to see things. The advantage of simplicity is that it forces you to strip a question down to its core in order to provide a straight simple answer. There is a drawback though. If you try and see everything in a simple way you lose out on some beautifully complicated possibilities. The trick is not to overcomplicate simple possibilities or oversimplify complicated possibilities.

So I gave you some simple ways to look at numbers and measurements. With this you will get far in steering your internal processes.

Now, what about the beautiful complex issues when it comes to data and measuring?

Big Data is emerging and I brought this up in an earlier article, my message was, prepare before you implement. Looking at complex measurements, Big Data will present some fantastic opportunities. Only your imagination is setting the limits to what you can try and find relationships/trends/correlation. The trick is to know what it is you are looking for and what the data you collect actually is telling you….

Example: In retail you could start measuring your customers purchase patterns, not only the basic measurement that customer X bought article Y in store Z at date and time Q. You can measure the time when customer X reads the offer you sent out electronically for articles ABC, you can track the geographic movement of the customer to see if they entered one of your stores, how they moved around in the store, what did they buy, if they didn’t buy anything and finally you can see if the visited your competion before/after they came to your store. If you can analyze this and improve the offer and move more customers from just browsing to actually buying something you will have a better ROI on your campaigns. Is this science fiction? Hardly! The big data issue here is the geographic positioning, the rest you should either have or secure that you can start measuring.

Companies will need special departments that make these complicated analyses. Avoid putting this complexity on the process that secures the basic flow. Make clear briefs to the analyst department what you want and unleash them on the net and get either a report or an interactive tool that is continuously updated, depending on the assignment. Handle it like a complicated issue…

Another possibility that is popping up is finding data to make a valuable benchmark against other companies. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have an average hit rate on turning offers into deals in the same business segment, or that you have a low hit rate but by comparison, but you only have half the amount of sales people? If you have not found the possibility on your own, sign up on our website and make it possible:


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