There is lots of data in a business and you should be looking to automate data entry as much as possible, like bank feeds in Xero.
However, we think there is some data that is best entered into your reporting systems manually. We call them the metrics that matter; the Key Performance and Predictive Indicators (KPIs) that really drive your business results.
The reason we think they should enter them manually is because it gets the person entering the data to focus and think. It also encourages you to a) be selective about the data you collect and b) involve more people in the process. This increases ownership, team buy-in and employee engagement, which is vital.
If it’s not worth a minute or two to get the data and manually enter into a system then it can’t be that important, can it?
The chances are that the metrics that matter may not even be available in digital form to arrange an automatic feed. Or, you may find that you’ve not even collecting the data at the moment.
Here are a few tips to ensure your time is leveraged to maximum effect:
Only collect data that is going to be used to make decision. There is lots of really interesting data but unless you are going to take action on the data don’t bother; focus on the key metrics.
Be crystal clear on the data you want – this is likely to be activity and effectiveness.
Design a system for collecting the data – this could be a simple feedback for or telephone script.
Create a step-by-step system for collecting the data – we recommend keeping all the data in one place which could be GoalDriver.com.
Let me end with a warning; when looking at using KPIs Be careful not to fall into the trap of making excuses like we need to automate, it’s too difficult to collect the information or we’re too.
Having a data driven business isn’t a necessity but it will help drive better results in all areas of your business and that in turn will help you achieve your personal goals.
Image from Flickr by Image Catalog.