Business Tips | Data Strategy

Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should make it easier for you to keep an eye on the future of your business–but that’s not always the case. It’s tempting to track every shred of business data you can get your hands on, which can serve as a distraction from reporting that will help you predict future performance and provide important forecasting. By using big data to refine your KPIs, you can mine datasets for information that will help you make key business decisions that will improve your performance and directly impact your bottom line.

How to Refine KPIs With Big Data

If you haven’t been using big data to refine your KPIs and gain a better understanding of your business’s performance, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Understand big data. Big data is about analyzing large, unstructured sets of information. You can characterize big data using the three Vs:
    • Volume. Data sets are so large that they require additional storage or computations in order to be distributed.
    • Variety. Big data comes from several areas, some of which depend on the context of your business. For example, big data can be mined from social media, video, text, emails, sales data, etc.
    • Velocity. Data can be generated quickly, requiring real-time updates to keep track of information, such as social media comments or user activity in an app.

Given that criteria, what type of big data can your organization use to refine KPIs? Every software your teams use to organize and manage processes produces data, so use the data from your marketing automation tool or sales enablement software to inform your business decisions. Aside from analyzing your sales process, maybe your business could benefit from reviewing your marketing process to determine the cost of a customer acquisition, or keep a closer eye on the return on investment of your company’s equity.

Big Data KPI

  • Be selective. New technology makes it easier to harness tons of data and metrics, but sometimes having too much information can be detrimental to your growth. Massive amounts of big data is added to corporate databases every day, and the permutations can quickly become overwhelming. Start by choosing KPIs that will shed light on your progress toward achieving business goals. For example, if you want to monitor sales for a month, measure the root cause for your sales rather than the number of sales itself. This will give you some insight into how different parts of the sales process, such as demos and marketing campaigns, impact your end results.
  • Identify your business goals. It’s tempting to set up KPIs to tell you about your current performance–however, that doesn’t exactly help you figure out how to improve going forward. What would make your company better at what you do? For example, start-up enterprises might want to focus on metrics related to product-related tickets, customer satisfaction, and other usage statistics. Meanwhile, legacy organizations might want to harness big data and choose KPIs that will help improve sales and marketing techniques to continue growing and adapting. Identify your business goals, and then choose a few KPIs that will help you learn how to achieve them.
  • Adapt your processes. So you’ve identified your goals and used big data analytics to refine your KPIs. Now what? Once the data and insights start rolling in, you have to be prepared to make changes to operations or protocols in order to guide your future growth. For example, your reporting might reveal that your platform needs some development in order to remain agile in the market. Or maybe you’ll find out that your usage statistics are tanking and your account team needs to invest some extra time in helping end users understand your product. Appoint someone to be accountable for interpreting the KPI data and acting upon it so your organization can continue to adapt and improve.

Read next: Relationship Reboot: Using Big Data to Predict Trends

Invest in a Business Intelligence Tool

Spreadsheets are great, but not for reporting. It takes a lot of effort to update data and create actionable reports without a dashboard that can keep you updated in real time. Look for a business intelligence solution that can sync KPIs and other data automatically and allows you to see correlations that matter to your bottom line. It’s also important that you choose a tool that makes it easy to gather and organize reports so you can easily visualize data and act upon it. If flexibility is important to you, consider an option that has room for customization so you can choose how to present your data.

How could a BI tool help you refine your KPIs? iDashboards wants to hear from you! Drop us a line on social media to share your thoughts, or start a free, 30-day trial today to see if iDashboards is the right fit for you.

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Megan Pacella

Megan Pacella is a writer for She is a Nashville-based freelance writer specializing in healthcare, wellness, and lifestyle content. In addition to writing for national outlets such as USA Today, she works with a variety of healthcare companies to create patient engagement and education programs.


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