Actionable Insights: KPIs and outcome-oriented business planning

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Written by Simon Porri

There are a fair few buzzwords floating around the business world right now, and actionable insight is most definitely one of them. With data-driven processes increasingly taking the business helm, company managers are finding that it’s no longer enough to set loose goals and hope that they lead to results. Instead, key performance indicators (KPIs) that make insight trackable and direct action are about the only way to keep ahead of the modern market. 

The trouble is that, while most companies now implement KPIs as standard, a surprisingly high number of managers struggle to achieve the actionability they would like. In fact, 38.2% of CX frontrunners claim that they would prefer to implement action on a wider scale than they do right now. And, until they manage that goal, KPI-based improvements will forever remain out of reach.

With that in mind, it’s past time that we uncovered the key business processes behind the ‘actionable insight’ trend, and how you could implement each to take you closer to your bottom line at last.

Clarified business goals

Some of the most prominent high-level names remain adamant that actionable insights should always begin with clear business goals, and they aren’t wrong. After all, if you don’t know what you’re tracking, then action will never be possible. This is an especially fundamental consideration in the age of big data. With every customer creating as much as 1.7 megabytes of data every second for you to trawl through, a failure to narrow things down is always going to result in unwieldy practices, and a struggle to truly determine whether you’ve made progress or not. 

By comparison, clearly defined business goals implemented alongside focused KPIs and targets allow for actionable insights that are always tailored towards priorities. Far from attempting to juggle data that may, ultimately, prove unnecessary, you’ll be able to filter and focus on useful information. What’s more, implementing clearly defined business goals from day one allows you to centralise your team on one key point of focus that everyone can then work towards. And, as you likely already know, clarity like this is fundamental for action across the business board. 

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BI software that identifies data trends

Even with clear goals in place, actionable insights will remain impossible to achieve until you invest in the right BI software for your business needs. There are now multiple analytics tools on the market that make actionable insights possible and even easy with the use of centralisation, data visualisation, and one source of truth that provides the across-board clarity touched on above. In fact, a reliable BI software can improve actioned KPIs by as much as 75%, making it something of a no-brainer for modern business focuses. 

The main benefit of analytics platforms you can trust is that they allow you to drill down into the granular detail for every single KPI you set. Without adding to your workload or requiring you to sift through endless figures, a reliable and ready-made dashboard means you can highlight and investigate your insights, and the actions their data points you towards. What’s more, the intuitive layout of these platforms may well lead to realisations that would have remained out of reach had you not let BI connect the dots. 

And, of course, software like this provides the undeniable action benefit of letting every approved member of your team track KPIs according to their work needs. No longer will progress and action be reserved for the workplace elite and the morning meeting. Instead, action across the board can become a more instinctive, and thus more efficient, process. 

Data with context at its heart

You’ve got your goals and software in place but you’re still failing to achieve the actionable insights you require. Why? Most commonly, setbacks even with these critical considerations in place come down to a lack of context. The good news is that this is an easy enough issue to overcome with the help of the intelligent and clear data visualisations that your software offers. The bad news is that you need to take action fast to see action. 

It really doesn’t take a genius to see why context like this is important for actionability. In fact, without this addition, your data collation up to this point will be next to useless. The information will be there for the taking, but you’ll be left with no real idea of what it means, or what you can do about it. 

Take, for instance, your customer numbers. A sudden increase isn’t going to help you move forward until you pair it with the context of the promotion or marketing push that went alongside it. Yet, once you connect the two, you set yourself up nicely for action that achieves more of the same. 

It couldn’t be simpler. In fact, if you’re inputting clear targets into the software we’ve already spoken about, clarification will become a largely automated process. You’ll still need to oversee data collation to draw those connections, of course, but BI platforms will ensure you’re gaining access to all the info you need to make that happen. Then, you can share this context with the rest of your team at the click of a button.

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Reaching the centre of the actionable insight maze

According to Deloitte and Touche, businesses that focus on insights are 60% more profitable. Still, only 17% of organisations have currently dedicated investments here. This is a significant discrepancy that you need to stay on the right side of if you’re to continue driving value where it matters.

That should be an especially pressing priority in an age where data handling processes open new doors all around you. If you aren’t focusing on insight then you can guarantee your competitors are, and they’re likely to win the edge from that alone. What’s more, they may not even face increased workloads as they do so.

If actionable insights are missing from your goal setting practices right now, it’s past time you turned your attention to each of these pointers. Even such seemingly simple implementations could see you at the centre of the insight maze, and your industry, in no time.

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