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Every key business process employs a series of largely quantifiable performance metrics that measure both process effort (execution) and results (business objectives achieved) in a meaningful fashion. Surprisingly, the IT project team may discover that the process under examination either lacks performance metrics or employs surrogates that measure activity rather than results. As part of process mapping, standards and mechanisms of measurement should be identified — or created from whole cloth — and documented. Whenever possible, meaningful, results-oriented metrics should be deployed. As appropriate, actual measurement should take place through the automated system(s) that enable the business process in question. But even automated systems may not lend themselves to meaningful measures of success, necessitating creative solutions in which other IT operating units may play a supportive role. For example, if the envisioned IT solution involves the delivery of Web services, the project team may work with its Web technology platform colleagues to install a monitoring tool, like WebTrends, that will provide meaningful data about how customers use the newly implemented offering.
As a case in point, here are HG & Co. Consulting's solution selling performance metrics. Not all of these measures are hard (and some reflect wishful thinking).
Close rate metrics:
Dollars closed versus dollars in pipeline
By project and in total: dollars proposed versus dollars committed to in the contract (i.e., contract value)
Trends (e.g., types of products or services sold, types of customers)
Sales volume metrics:
Dollars scoped per client opportunity (average-size deal)
Proposed opportunities versus closed opportunities (closure rate)
Total dollar volume
Cost of sale metrics:
Time charged by all participants in solution selling process versus total dollar volume
Sales cycle time metrics within each of the following cycle elements: opportunity definition, scoping, proposal completion, contract completion:
Duration of process from initiation to close
Duration of key process elements
Project hurdle rate metrics:
Price of proposed deliverables per hour of labor
Success stories, qualitative information
As project personnel with process engineering expertise, the team's business analysts will help stakeholders define appropriate measures and assist the IT development team in building mechanisms and processes within the enterprise's IT environment that both capture those measures over time and provide longitudinal data for the analysis of business process results.
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