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The Value of KPIs, Utilize Your Data to Track Success in Your Municipality

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Meeting strategic goals is nearly impossible without well-thought-out projects, targets, and measures. KPIs (key performance indicators) help you understand what influence your data has and which actions to take by evaluating their measurement. What does it mean for your municipality? At the heart of it, KPI’s are what they sound like. It’s a benchmark or measure for an organization to see how they’re doing. It is a tangible way for the government to report on their performance and be used for department accountability standards.

There is seemingly no end to the KPIs for governments, from pension funding ratios to fund balance levels to the timeliness of emergency service calls and just about everything in between. It’s easy to get lost in the volume of data and options and decide that KPIs aren’t suitable for you or that your government isn’t the right size for KPIs.

How do I know the KPI is right?

KPIs are about focused data, reporting on key data points to help align and build cohesive strategies. The stakeholders utilizing the KPIs need to know that the data accurately reflects the government’s activities. For KPIs to be correct, you must have accurate, timely, and accessible data points. Inaccurate data is simply of no use, and old data means decisions made are outdated. If the data isn’t easily accessible, using that data becomes another task that gets set aside because the value received doesn’t match the time required.

What are my KPIs?

Once we know the data is correct, then which KPIs are suitable for my government? The selection of the best, critical KPIs for your municipality is an important step. KPIs identify what is important to your organization and provide how to measure your success. Defining specific goals for the KPIs will build measurements that are meaningful to your municipality and Board. Like fund balance levels or budgeted dollars spent per citizen, some KPIs apply to almost all types of governments. Some, though, vary depending on the type of government or even the department. An emergency services authority might be interested in the billing success rate per call, but the parks and recreation department might be more interested in rounds of golf played per capita and what that means for the future of the City golf course. The sheer volume of data often means that KPI users often get lost in the weeds instead of making informed decisions. To avoid getting overwhelmed with data, create specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART) KPIs. Also, be aware that not all data points should be turned into a KPI. Know the difference between a project and a measure. A project achieves an objective, whereas a measurement tracks the objectives and tells you if the project is a success.

I’ve identified my KPIs. What do I do with them?

Now that you’re confident the data is verified and timely and that you’ve identified SMART KPIs for your government, we come to the last step. What are you supposed to do with them? Defining what success looks like is essential for the project or business function the KPI reports on and communicate to all relevant stakeholders to keep them on the same page. What is the best delivery method? Do you print them out from Excel each month, show them to the Board and move on? Or do you create dashboards, using Microsoft PowerBI and data analytics tools, that update in real-time that empower government leadership and the Board to make quick, informed decisions? The delivery method should match the end-users comfort level and usage and the goal of the KPI.

Help getting started.

Having that trusted advisor who knows your government and knows your goals will take the guesswork out of developing KPIs and keep you focused on the data that matters. Choosing the right expert who has a deep understanding of governmental accounting will give you the tools to successfully utilize your KPIs. As recognized experts in the field, your advisor can bring unique perspectives and best practices to the table.

At Maner, we often utilize our unique data aggregation software, ManerLink, to combine data from multiple systems to ensure that all your data can be found quickly and easily. Using the knowledge of an outsourced expert, you can create accurate KPIs and allow you to look at data across departments and systems.

Utilizing the knowledge of an expert, trusted advisor will help you harness your data to make the best decisions possible. It also means you can communicate effectively and efficiently with the citizens that you serve. Bringing that trusted advisor in is critical, not only for the Board and leadership but for every resident of your government.

KPIs can be far more than a buzzword, but only if used effectively. KPI is not the sort of activity, though, that should be approached alone. Calling in your trusted advisor means that you will have an expert in place there to guide and support you as you seek to improve the lives of every person in your government. If you’re ready to take the step to utilize KPIs, the governmental experts at Maner Costerisan are here to help!

Tim Bograkos, Director of Business Development - Maner Costerisan

Tim Bograkos

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