KPI libraries:
looking for a treasure

KPIs were invented to gauge and monitor the performance, to see whether companies meet the objectives they set. KPIs are everywhere these days. But maybe some of us get overexcited with them? There are people who start collecting KPIs as if they are the target itself and there are those who are ready to sell KPI libraries recognising the demand.

You can google so many KPI libraries for any taste and budget that it can be even confusing. Why would anyone want to use these libraries? What’s the difference between them and which one to choose? We’ve taken efforts to find it out and analysed quite a few KPI libraries available online. Identifying similar patterns, we divided all libraries into 3 types:

Free KPI libraries, Paid KPI libraries and KPI frameworks.

Free KPI Libraries

Free libraries are mostly crowd-sourced collections of all sorts of KPIs for pretty much everything. Since anyone can add their own KPI there, or better say their understanding of it, free KPI libraries are very extensive. They provide dozens of thousands of KPIs, which are packed with a name and sometimes a unit of measure. Occasionally, you may come over KPIs with descriptions and calculation formulas, but better double-check this information before taking it to faith.

In free KPI libraries they structure KPIs by industries, frameworks, business processes and what’s not, but while some industries and functions have hundreds of KPIs inside, others may have up to…one. But you may take a chance.

How can these libraries be useful, you may ask? We suggest free KPI libraries can be a great source for your inspiration where you can find what KPIs other people use, discuss them in a community and compare to your own KPIs, but question all you hear and see.

Paid KPI Libraries

Paid libraries count thousands of KPIs, which is less impressive than the offer of their free competitors. They are usually a product of consulters who specialise in business performance and offer their collections of KPIs alongside with other products and services.

Paid KPI libraries gathered by experienced consulters offer more reliable and accurate KPI descriptions and calculation formulas than you may find on free resources. Some of them offer additional attributes for KPIs, like a unit of measure, tendency and relations with other KPIs, which can be really useful.

Just like in free KPI libraries, paid libraries offer KPIs structured by industries, business functions and business processes. But since consultants, who develop them, usually specialise in some business areas more than in others, you can expect some industries or functions to be presented with hundreds or even thousands of KPIs, while others will contain a moderate number of most common KPIs only.

Will you find there enough KPIs for your specifics, which are worth to be paid for? You can take your chance. But at soonest you will find it out only after your money is withdrawn from your bank account. To be fair, some paid KPI libraries do offer free trial versions. This gives you a possibility to get acquainted with samples of their KPIs before making a deal.

How can you benefit from paid KPI libraries? They can be useful for those who feel their KPIs are not described well enough. For example, compare your KPIs with best practices and complete them with missing attributes.

KPI Frameworks

KPI frameworks cannot boast with thousands of KPIs. If you wish to play a number game, check free KPI libraries. But if you aim not just to collect a bouquet of KPIs, but pick up only those that give you a meaningful insight into your business, industrial KPI frameworks can give the value for money. Frameworks provide only hundreds of KPIs, but they are there not by a random choice. KPIs there are specific to an industry and described in terms of this industry. For example, our framework for retail has 600 KPIs structured by 9 business functions and 22 business areas within these functions. Besides KPIs, you can find there a list of dimensions and a glossary of business terms.

Frameworks contain best-practice KPIs gathered and verified by experts who have a deep knowledge in the industry. And this guarantees an accuracy of KPIs definitions and formulas as well.

Some KPI frameworks offer established relations between KPIs, which help to see how one KPI influences on other KPIs and what effect it has on the company. If there is a drop in sales (knock the wood) you can easily find out why.

KPI frameworks also sometimes provide free samples. An example you may see here: 

 

Would you need a KPI framework? It depends. If you see gaps in your analytics and feel that you are missing something, or your company is trapped in KPIs measurement races, KPI framework may help you quickly fill the gaps and identify which KPIs have the biggest impact on your company.

These are 3 groups of KPI libraries that we managed to identify.
Will you spend your time, digging into thousands of KPIs in hope to find a treasure, but for free, or would you choose a gold mine, but having to pull your wallet out?
The choice is yours.

 
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