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Key to Successful Project Delivery: Key Performance Indicators

Previously we discussed various keys to the success of a technology project. These have included selecting the right solution, starting the project on the right foot, and identifying success.
"KPI" Tag Cloud Globe (key performance indicator data targets)Now that we have established the importance of knowing what you need, and initiating the CRM or other technology project against those needs, we come to a topic familiar to Higher Education professionals: Key Performance Indicators.

Broadly speaking, Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are benchmarks. Within a CRM implementation, KPI’s are essential to making sure the client and vendor are aligned to the institution’s strategy and tactically staying on task and on schedule for the initiative being implemented.

In the world of business, KPI’s tend to relate to the sales cycle, customer conversion rates, cost of customer acquisition, and similar “tangible” issues.

In the world of Higher Ed, KPI’s apply more broadly to the long-term strategic plan of an entire college or university. They are measures of performance to determine the institution’s progress toward long-term goals. Of course Higher Ed KPI’s include easily quantifiable metrics like enrollment growth, graduation rates and faculty salaries. But they also tend to include “soft” factors like student and faculty satisfaction that are important factors in the institution’s reputation and ability to recruit new students and faculty.

KPI’s also need to be aligned to State and Federal funding requirements to ensure compliance to financial aid funding guidelines. Recently, these agencies have put more focus on job placement and the ability of students to pay off their loans after graduation.

When it comes to intangibles like satisfaction rates, KPI’s need to be part of discussion during implementation of CRM. KPI’s must track students throughout their lifecycle from prospect through graduation, job placement and alumni activities.

Once decision makers understand the capabilities of their CRM, they should be able to include new KPI’s they had not considered, and/or augment others that prove difficult to quantify. Crucially, they will be able to keep the CRM project focused by determining the features and capabilities they need based to report result and driver metrics utilizing KPI’s.

Again, determining KPI’s should not be separated from the process of developing your CRM solution. Institutions work hard to develop and “sell” their mission and vision, they exercise due diligence to pick the right vendor and software solution, and they have clear goals. Integrating KPI’s is the logical next step to making sure your institution’s hard work is paying off.


In a future blog, we’ll discuss the specific trends in Higher Ed KPI’s.

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