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SMEs in the UK fail to identify and track key metrics

New data released by Geckoboard has shown that failing to identify and track key metrics has stunted the growth of small and medium sized businesses in the UK.

The company, which produces the live TV dashboard application, found that almost half (49 per cent) of SME owners were unable to identify any Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This metric aids businesses in understanding how they are performing against their own goals.

Geckoboard noted that the SMEs that were able to establish KPIs only referred back to them on a monthly basis. 31 per cent of the businesses who were surveyed said that they never reassessed the key numbers that they did track.

SMEs have not fully made use of the data that is available to them and over a third (39 per cent) failed to reach their growth targets during 2015. It has also grown increasingly difficult to motivate and focus team members as a result of an overall lack of metrics and information. British staff members were so affected that 50 per cent of those working at SME's admitted that their overall performance level was compromised due to not being made aware of key information and metrics at their companies.

A smaller group of SMEs is putting KPI measurements to good use and 24 per cent are monitoring this data in real-time. Carefully tracking their progress has paid off for these businesses with 74 per cent of the SMEs that monitor KPI's in real time being able to reach all of their growth targets. These businesses were easily able to outperform their competition by using data to track their goals.

Geckoboard's research revealed that companies run by younger business owners between the ages of 20 and 45 were twice as likely as those run by older business owners to monitor KPI's in real time. London also beat out the rest of the UK when it comes to real time KPI monitoring, with 45 per cent of SME owners opting for this method.

The CEO of Geckoboard, Paul Joyce was critical of businesses that are not data-driven and fail to monitor their KPI's: “With so much available data, entrepreneurs are forgetting to identify which metrics and data are most important to their business using KPIs. This unfortunately means they’re struggling to focus their business on what matters for success If you’re not keeping a close eye on critical business metrics and sharing progress against those KPIs with your team , how can you expect your business to grow? You could also be missing out on important signs for future growth or even worse, signs of trouble ahead.”

Businesses have a lot to gain by employing data to track their goals and growth. By clearly identifying KPIs and monitoring them in real time, SMEs are more likely to be successful and hit their growth targets.

Image Credit: / shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.