Friday, September 30, 2005

Measuring the effectiveness of portals

The last quarter of 2005 is about to start and like last year I am starting to panic about measures again. Before I know it the ill fated e-mail will come from my boss saying "lets sit down and review your annual performance" which in my world equals word-to-word as "the performance of your site."
No sweat! This year I am not as unprepared as last year. And this is because of many factors some of which I will discuss as I explain to you what I have in place.
First - there are two major components of my measurement scorecard. 1) Impact on Revenue, 2) Increased site activity
This post will cover the 1st measure.
Strangely enough in my case the impact on revenue is the easier one to calculate. Be warned! it is a primitive method used very infrequently these days, its called "talking.":-)) In the past we had always focused only on the customer...lets get the information from the customer. Here is my lesson learned. The customer's response was always circumstantial, sometimes accurate but usually it was a narrow answer like " I thought I could benefit from the study topic." or "the KSN will be a good resource for the company."
Here is what we did this year to get a better sense of the customer's reason to buy.
We put together a small survey with one or two questions and NOTE - instead of asking the customer we ask the account managers. There is only one main question. What factors do you think influenced this customer's decision to buy an APQC membership? The options we gave them are our major product areas such as KSN, OSBC, Events, Consortiums, and Consulting. The account managers are given a 100 points. They divvy up the 100 points between these product groups. The logic behind this is that the account managers are the ones that have been courting the customer for a while, they have proposed all our products and services and we hope that our members find each and every one of them valuable but there is always one that triggers the decision. The account managers weight that point the most heavily.
We follow exactly the same process for renewing members. If an account manager has been doing his/her job it means they have been in touch with the member regularly. They know what the member(s) has been involved in and they know whether or not that member is going to renew next year. Having them fill out the same survey for their renewals tells me how valuable the KSN is in impacting a renewal and it tells my boss how much his account managers know about their customers. Pretty cool! huh!
We started this in January this year and I am pleased to say that the KSN has consistently stayed over the 50 point mark. Isn't that incredible. Of all the members that have signed on and of all the members that have renewed, on an average the KSN has impacted 50% of those decisions.
My goal this year is to finish collecting this data for the rest of the year and then make a business case that says if the KSN impacts membership revenue by 50% - don't you think my budget should reflect the same:-)) Of course I don't want 50% of the revenue as my budget I just want to have a solid basis for saying give me more money so I can improve one of our most important products.
I hope that some of you can adapt this to your organizations and use it to monitor impact on revenue. If you all have any questions, feel free to write. Any suggestions to add would be greatly appreciated.
Activity measures on my next post. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Finally, a face to face meeting

Some of you may remember my ramblings about wanting to try out a face to face meeting for my KM virtual community. Well that has finally happened and I have put together my first Wine N Cheese get together for my Houston members. About 10 people are signed up and although it seems small I am actually happy that many more did not since I wanted to keep it small so I can really get to talk to most of these folks. Its being held on October 5th at our campus in Houston.
If your organization is a member of APQC and you would like to attend please let me know. If you don't know whether your company is a member or not, check to see if your company name is on this list.
There is no charge, its just an informal get together being held for local Houston folks.
I will definitely keep you posted on how it goes because I think face to face meetings are very important for communities to bond. I know that there are many very successful completely virtual communities out there but I strongly believe that if those virtual communities were given an opportunity to meet each other they would have an even stronger bond and maybe be more successful.
Please feel free to share your thoughts with me on this matter.
take care

Rita scared the life out of us and then just whizzed right by

Hi all,
Wanted to let you all know that all is well here at the APQC. Since Hurricane Rita kind of decided to leave us alone and only bestowed some heavy winds and rains on us we are generally ok.
I of course was one of the "evacuees" you saw on TV. It took me 16 hours to get to Dallas. The first 6 of which was spent trying to move 4 miles ahead. I can walk a 15-18 minute mile so that should give you some perspective as to how slow it was. But I was in it for the adventure so I hung in there, did not run out of gas, and got to Dallas at 1:00 am in the morning after which I think I slept for two full days. Or at least it felt like that.
Coming back yesterday was half the time. Still 2 1/2 times what it takes normally but when you spend 16 hours on the road going in, 8 hours coming back all of a sudden seemed not too bad. Its all a matter of perspective.
Hindsight, should I have stayed. Of course, but then hindsight is always 20/20:-)
It was one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't situations. If I had not left and something major had happened to Houston everyone would be like "you were warned, why didn't you go?" and now because I left I got comments like "we knew nothing was going to happen, we were the smart ones, we stayed."
Funny part is when I spoke to my friends in Houston (from Dallas) they were dying of boredom. Everything was closed, they couldn't go anywhere, some ran out of food because they ate all day since they had nothing better to do, and of course no stores were open to replenish supplies. Those who stocked up on DVDs were probably smart.
I of course was having a good time in Dallas visiting friends and I even went out to the lake and got some sun. So something good usually comes from hardships and I am thankful for that.

I want to thank you all for reading the blog and thinking of me during these trying times and I will add a separate post on other activities going on within my community and my Web site later today.
take care