Is IoT, Robotics or Machine Learning a Smart Investment? What Your KPIs Can Tell You.

Digital Technology Investment

Depending on where your organization is in its technology journey, a trending digital technology investment, such as machine learning (ML), Internet of things (IoT), robotics or even artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, may be in the cards. Either way, now is a perfect time to ask a critical question:

How good is your company at definitively demonstrating the connections between specific actions and desired results versus actual outcomes?

If you answered “not very” or you aren’t sure, you’re definitely not alone. Based on our experience, 75% of companies struggle with this. That means decision makers are frequently in the dark about the actual value of key decisions. And when you consider the costs of a new digital technology investment, along with the time and effort associated with implementation and training, this lack of clear insights is problematic to say the least.

Do you know where you should apply your next technology investment? The answer lies within your KPIs….That is if you have the right KPI management approach in place.

Getting the right perspective on the right digital technology investment

One of the big challenges with any new technology investment is figuring out if it will truly help grow revenue or profits or free up working capital and if the gains will justify the costs. But in the absence of a crystal ball, how can you answer this question?

The short answer is through a phased approach in one area or process that uses key performance indicators (KPIs) to understand the impact of a technology vis-à-vis a specific business goal. Moreover, if you aren’t currently able to accurately track and quickly react to KPIs, any investment in more advanced technologies is premature.

How effective KPI management drives success

Establishing an effective KPI management strategy before jumping into more advanced digital technologies is important because a good KPI Management solution enables executives and managers to:

  • See data from across existing systems in a single view (both current and historical)
  • Focus on and manage the most important metrics
  • Determine which areas of the business need improvements and select technology accordingly
  • Measure the impact of a technology on an area or process to determine its value

The third bullet is especially important in the case of selecting new technology because it speaks to your ability to choose solutions based on the most pressing business needs versus based on what’s being hyped in the marketplace. In other words, if you’re seeing lots of quality issues, predictive technologies could be a good investment. Or you could pinpoint areas of the business where using robotics or another form of digitization makes the most sense for controlling costs.

Key KPI management approach considerations

Of course, KPI management isn’t foolproof, so your approach matters and there are several layers of challenges, including:

  • Focusing on the right/most important KPIs
  • Accurately tracking performance numbers from across the business
  • Properly analyzing and responding to what you’re seeing

The easier it is for your business to track and manage KPIs, the better. Spreadsheets no longer cut it because they make it so cumbersome and time consuming to track what’s happening (not to mention the errors and issues associated with manual data entry).

Dploy Solutions KPI Management software provides an ideal platform for tracking and managing KPIs on a couple of levels. It’s the only dashboard on the market that enables you to perform root cause analysis for issues, choose reason codes, and determine countermeasures and assign action items to specific people. And that’s important to ensuring you’re focused on the right KPIs in the first place. It also enables you to easily analyze what’s happening across the business (for example, by business unit, facility or location) to determine where new technology might provide the greatest benefit, and then to measure whether or not new investments are moving the needle as expected.

Learn more about maximizing your technology ROI

For a close look at how KPI management can help you make smarter strategic digital technology investment, read our white paper: Your Digital Transformation: How KPI Management Software Can Ensure the Greatest Return on Investment.

White paper: A 5-step Approach to Digital Transformation - Dploy Solutions

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ken Koenemann, VP of Supply Chain and Technology at TBM Consulting Group, is a 25+ year veteran of manufacturing, operational excellence and supply chain optimization.  At TBM, Ken is actively leading the effort to our suite of services to include emerging technologies that improve productivity and convert complex data into information for improved decision making.

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