Common KPI Problems – Stranded Data

There are lots of practical data problems you are likely to come across when implementing KPIs and measures. I’ve identified five of the most common ones. The first of this series is  ‘Stranded data’ or data living in small pools throughout your organisation.

This issue is fairly simple to spot but probably the toughest of challenges to resolve.

Dealing with stranded islands of data

  1. Develop a clear definition of which unique KPIs you need to collect.
  2. Create a production process map for the measure.

This process should quickly flush out any ambiguity over where the data comes from and concerns over its accuracy. The beauty of this approach is it involves talking to almost everyone in the data supply chain, so you find out lots of really useful incidental information.

Showing where data lives in the organisation

Create a simple table like the example below, showing the data grouped by where it is stored.

Data location sample matrix

Then answer each of these three questions:

  1. Is this the right place to store this information?
  2. Is the method by which this information is collected clearly defined and effective?
  3. Is there a better method for moving that information from the storage point to the point of use, in a hassle-free and reliable way?

You may be daydreaming of a ‘do-it-all’ IT system that brings everything into one system, but it may be that the most practical solution to your problem still involves emailing spreadsheets, faxing bits of paper and ringing around with some numbers. The truth is that this can still be a reasonably effective system so long as it is managed carefully and documented – and of course you don’t have to wait for budget approvals and huge IT projects to deliver…

A simple data source tracker template is available on the Downloads for KPI Checklists Book page.