Now you know you need to set up KPIs, but they can’t just be any KPIs. Throughout the whole process, you need to make sure that you’re actually measuring the right thing. All too often, businesses get caught up on the wrong data that gives them an incorrect overview, causing them to make the wrong assumptions.
As explained by Tristan Harris, many tech companies too often focus exclusively on time and attention as measures of a product’s success. However, it’s also crucial to look at more meaningful metrics that indicate engagement and long term retention. Quantitative research can be supplemented with qualitatively-collected insights from surveys or interviews with users -- meaningful KPIs mean looking deeper into the success metrics you’re using and being honest about the value provided.
Combining quantitative and qualitative methods can allow you to uncover some really important insights. For example, the automotive industry is known to focus heavily on quantitative metrics, yet with the ever-increasing level of competition in the industry, automakers could benefit from looking at the story and UX behind certain metrics.
Let’s say a carmaker sells record numbers of a certain car model. With this quantitative data, they might understand that they need to increase the production of this model to satisfy demand. But what they don’t understand is why the model is so popular and what precisely caused customers to buy it in such high numbers.
As well as collecting quantitative data surrounding sales, the automaker could also conduct interviews or surveys with customers to find out exactly what made them choose the car over other models. This way, the carmakers get vital insights into certain successful aspects that they could then apply elsewhere in their designs.
A real-world example of this comes from the demise of Nokia. The mobile phone company, which used to be the leader in its sector, focused too much on short term KPIs and failed to understand where the market and user preferences would go next -- ignoring the growing prevalence of software over hardware in the industry. Application-based smartphones invaded the market and completely trampled over Nokia’s previous sector dominance. With smart, forward-thinking quantitative and qualitative research, Nokia could have better seen the oncoming market changes.
Data is vital, that much is clear. Using KPIs to track your business’ most important metrics and data is mandatory to knowing you’re on the right track. But simply creating KPIs and sitting back isn’t enough -- they need to be set from the outset, monitored continuously, and adapted according to business and market changes. And when those KPIs are complemented by qualitative insights, even better: You can be sure that your strategy is informed and paving the way for business design success.