Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.
The greatest challenge facing companies today is not finding ways to measure performance. The key issue is one of understanding what should be measured and validating that there is agreement on what the purpose of the measurement is.
Organizations are complex. And with complexity arises the need to gather data for different purposes. In my series discussing Why Web Measurements?, I broke organizations down into four groups, each one having distinctly different needs for measurements and data. While this series focuses on Web performance, the four categories (Customer Generation, Customer Retention, Business Operations, and Technical Operations) can be broadly applied to all aspects of your business.
In each of the four categories, whether it is for Web performance or financial analysis, determining what and why to measure is a critical predecessor to the establishment of measurements and the examination of data.
2009 will be a year of reflection and retrenchment. Companies will be examining all aspects of their business, all of their relationships with vendors, all of the ways they measure themselves. The question that must be asked before succumbing to the rushing panic of cost-cutting and layoffs is: Do you fundamentally understand why and what you measure and what it is really telling you?