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Blog: End-User Metrics Illuminate the Root Cause of Operational Performance Shortfalls

Blog: End-User Metrics Illuminate the Root Cause of Operational Performance Shortfalls

Tripping through the potential points of failure

The sales reps weren't using the Sales Force Automation (SFA) functionality to manage their pipeline. Instead, they created prospect records near the end of the lengthy sales cycle. That meant that materials management wasn't getting long-term visibility into upcoming demand. An unexpected upsurge in demand could blindside materials planning and production, with customer orders placed on back order. Add six days to the OTC cycle time!

The order-entry processes of the new application were cumbersome. Although it had been heavily customized, it didn't give the customer service associates a streamlined way of calculating the shipping cost. Associates were actually exiting the application and using a spreadsheet application to calculate the shipping cost. This inefficiency dampened productivity, and each day ended with a backlog of un-entered orders. Add one day to the OTC cycle time!

There were similar problems in order fulfillment. To ensure no backlogs in the fulfillment process, the company assigned each employee a unique user ID, with two dedicated workstations for each inventory associate. However, it had become the norm that the employee with the first transaction of the day signed on, and everyone else used that active workstation to execute his or her order and fulfillment transactions. That led to a perpetual queue, and each day would end with a number of unfulfilled orders. Add one day to the OTC time!

Finance and accounting was one area that actually worked. Invoices were entered without any errors in a timely and efficient way. DSO variance reporting was effectively executed, and the cash remittance process was working the way it was meant to.

Suddenly See the Forrest and the Trees

Consider what happened when we added end-user experience and performance metrics to the mix. In sales, utilization metrics about sales reps' use of the activity management transactions of the SFA application quickly showed management how little the reps were using the system-and which reps, managers and geographies hadn't fully adopted the application With this knowledge, management was able to take remedial action.

The EPM solution identified the precise point when the order-entry associates exited the primary application to execute the user-defined workaround using a spreadsheet application. Once this ineffective function was identified, the application engineering team modified the EPR application and obviated the employee-invented workaround.

With order and fulfillment, EPM utilization statistics exposed the fact that the employees were sharing a single user ID, and managerial oversight soon put a stop to it.

And in finance and accounting, EPM workflow and end-user error metrics made it obvious that everyone had adopted the application and was using it efficiently and effectively to execute the core business processes. Knowing where you don't have problems is as valuable as knowing where you do, because it frees you to give priority attention to the real problems.

Raising the Bar of Performance Management

Peter Drucker, one of the most influential business thinkers of the past century, said, "You cannot manage what you cannot measure." The phrase has become a common business bromide, but at the time, it was the kind of insight that raised the bar for professional corporate performance management. It's time to raise that bar once again-by delving deeper and measuring the experience received and the performance achieved by the end-users of the enterprise applications that deliver the business results.

Corporate performance management is all about understanding the difference between what you've planned and what actually happens. If that understanding stops short of the end-user performance, this critical link in corporate performance is ignored, and no enterprise application will achieve its full potential. End-user experience and performance management solutions

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