Analytics? Metrics? What’s the Diff?


For the past 20 years or so, businesses have hitched their wagons to what are called “metrics,” which Klipfolio (a provider of business dashboard software) defines as a quantifiable measure that is used to track and assess the status of a specific business process.

In business there are three types of metrics:

1) Performance metrics quantify a unit’s performance.

2) Project metrics tell you whether a project is meeting its goals.

3) Business metrics define the business’s progress in measurable terms.

So business metrics, Klipfolio adds, should be employed to address key audiences surrounding a business, such as investors, customers and different types of employees, such as executives: “Every area of business has specific metrics that should be monitored … marketers track campaign and program statistics, sales teams monitor new opportunities and leads, and executives look at big picture financial metrics.”

However, “analytics” (the current in-vogue business term) takes metrics one step further by adding pre-determined dimensions or characteristics, giving your metrics “context” — that is, the ability to track and assess the status of a specific business process.

In short, metrics are quantitative measurements, while analytics are qualitative measurements.

But not every metric can be combined with every dimension or characteristic. Each has a “scope,” so in most cases, it only makes sense to combine dimensions/characteristics and metrics that share the same scope.

Visier (which markets workforce intelligence solutions) says that some analytics applicable to corporate employees are: new hire performance, career progression, predicting the risk of employee exit as it applies to talent retention — and many others.

According to a Visier whitepaper, “the most commonly monitored workforce metrics do very little to deliver true insight into HR topics. So leaders need to graduate from metrics to analytics, surfacing the important connections and patterns in their data to make better workforce decisions.”

—Download the whitepaper:


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