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What To Look For In Performance Measurement Software
If you need a great performance measurement software solution, but aren’t sure how to evaluate the options, you’ve made it to the right article.
When it comes to handling your organization’s performance measurement, you know there are quite a few options. You’ve probably deduced that these are the most common:
- You can use a spreadsheet tool like Excel or Google Sheets.
- You can build your own performance measurement solution.
- You can purchase software.
Each option has a valid argument. Some people believe that spreadsheet software like Excel is the least expensive option (though, there are four hidden costs you need to look out for). Others feel they need to create something themselves in order for the solution to truly match up with their strategy. And many feel software is the best option, but aren’t certain of what to look for while they seek out the best solution. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of nine things you should look for in performance measurement software—let’s take a look.
1. It was built to address the needs you have as a manager.
If you’re in a management position, you’re likely looking for software to solve some problems that you already have—like getting management reports out on a more timely basis, making sure those reports are always accurate, etc. You’re not interested in getting deep into configuring data cubes and other complex information technology (IT) work. Purchasing software should help ensure that you’re doing less of what you don’t want to do, or more of what you need to be focused on. So, you should be on the lookout for software that was built for your needs and requirements as a manager.
2. It has a support team that’s there for you.
You want to have a group of people who actually understand performance measurement and performance management (which we’ll discuss shortly) as well as you do. This team should be savvy enough to help not only on the technical side of things, but also with the performance measurement and reporting methodology. You want to feel like you're surrounded by like-minded individuals who understand your struggles from a management perspective.
3. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
It’s likely you don’t have an unlimited budget—you’re probably looking for a solution you can start small with and experiment with before you decide whether or not you want to scale it larger. At the same time, you want a solution that will actually grow with your company, so you’re not bouncing around from platform to platform. You also don’t want to have to buy all the servers and run around installing software, because that’s not your area of expertise! Not only do you not want to overspend, but you’re looking for software with an excellent return on investment.
4. It can integrate information from across your organization.
In management, you know it isn’t important to look too deep into one single measure—it’s far more important to look at the broad spectrum of measures across your organization. Because of this, it’s vital to use a tool that will help facilitate the process of pulling in data from everywhere you need it. Before you decide on a software, make sure the data integration is very simple. It’s good to have multiple import options, whether those options include simply typing data directly into the software or uploading data from PowerPoint, Word, or Excel. Strong software will be able to translate the data from those disparate systems and integrate it without any hassle or frustration on your part. You should also be able to easily link data charts together from these formerly disorganized files.
5. It is modern and updated.
Great performance measurement software will not only have a clean interface, but it will also be mobile-friendly. Gone are the days when all work is done in a traditional office, so you need to look for a solution that is compatible with your phone or tablet. This allows you to view your scorecards, KPIs, and performance analysis wherever you are. Another thing you should expect from a high-level performance measurement tool is the ability to report offline. If you’re catching a flight without Wi-Fi and want to be able to view reports, you’ll want to be able to without hassle.
6. It offers a great deal of flexibility.
The last thing you want to do is have to conform to new practices to make a specific software solution work for you. Not only is this frustrating, but it’s extremely inefficient. For example, it’s no secret that Excel isn’t the best option for a reporting database—it has been at the center of some highly publicized Excel nightmares that have cost businesses millions (or even billions) of dollars because of minute mistakes.
Now, with that being said, there are some people who have worked in Excel (or other spreadsheet software like Google Sheets) for so long they actually prefer seeing reports in this format. So, a good software solution should offer an Excel export system to cater to these individuals.
7. It creates the scorecards, dashboards, and reports you’re looking for.
The vast majority of management reporting gets done in PowerPoint and Excel. Why is this? Because PowerPoint and Excel allow you to lay out the information on the screen however you want. The problem with PowerPoint and Excel, of course, is maintaining the report. Once you’ve created it, you’ve created a monster. It’s really easy to break, and the worst thing is, it’s really easy to look like an idiot when things don’t link up like they should. ClearPoint solves this for you by making it super easy to build and update your report layouts.
8. It is notoriously and continuously reliable.
This may seem like a no-brainer, because who wants to purchase software that isn’t consistent with quality performance? No one. But that doesn’t mean that everyone knows what to look for. For example, was the vendor recently acquired? That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it could indicate that there is “trouble in paradise.” Or, was the organization recently restructured? Is there new leadership? Are you able to have a technical, in-depth conversation with their support team? (Make sure you check out 10 Signs Your Scorecarding Software Vendor Is In Trouble for more details on how to understand whether your vendor is going to be around for the long-term.)
9. It provides performance management capabilities.
There’s no doubt that performance measurement is important. It gives you loads of insight and metrics. But performance measurement software is not enough. Why? Because all of the metrics you’re constantly gathering and tracking are simply useless unless you actually do something about them.
If you have a dashboard—or even a traditional performance measurement software package—you can do a lot with tracking and charting, and these are very important attributes. But it is also important to manage inputs and outputs from those measures, by having project plans, linking to strategy, using action items, etc. These all help elevate performance measurement to performance management. This allows you to not only see what’s going on but manage it more effectively.
So, you shouldn’t double down and find yet another piece of software that helps with performance management. Instead, you should look for software that tracks both metrics and projects with ease.
When choosing performance measurement software, the number one thing to think about is flexibility. So before you decide on a performance measurement solution, you need to be able to answer “yes” to these questions with confidence:
“Does this piece of software make what I’m currently doing or producing easier, or does it force me to adjust my processes? Is this vendor going to help my company become more organized, and therefore, more profitable?”
It’s vital to choose software that will adapt and be flexible enough to meet your needs as a manager, and as an organization as a whole. You don’t want to choose a solution that forces you to adapt to match what the software can do, but instead find a solution that will mesh with you as you grow and expand.