Focus on Objectives When Capturing CCM Metrics

Are you struggling to justify your customer communications management (CCM) program investment, your capital expenditure needs for new technology, or considering a major content refresh to improve customer experience and accessibility?

Maybe the challenge is that you haven’t got the right metrics to support your proposal or story. Given the program cost or project expense is probably a multi-million dollar ask, you’d better have some good stats to back it up. Depending on the maturity of your CCM program or recent investments, you may be struggling to provide the basic data points that will help get your effort approved. The metrics you need vary depending on your objectives, but there are also basic CCM program metrics that many legacy teams have never established, leaving them with no good baselines to compare against. This makes it tough to show a track record of improvement or to build a positive business case.

If you’re looking to get started or to just improve on your existing CCM metrics and reporting, consider an approach that categorizes the metrics based on their potential impact, then focus based on your objectives. Here are some easy ways to begin.

Productivity

The objective here is to show that your team or program is improving in terms of speed and effort for creating and maintaining your content. Whether driven by technology investment, training, process change (or a combination of all of them), show your management and clients the progress you’re making with a few of these metrics.

  • Cycle time – How long does it take to complete a unit of work, in total, and by phase?
    • Break it out by new vs. maintenance work (most will be maintenance)
    • Average time to create new document/message
    • Average time to change existing document/message
  • Requests completed per person – What number of new and/or change requests per person per period?
    • Break it out by new vs. maintenance work (most will be maintenance)
    • Average change requests completed per person
    • Average new requests completed per person
  • Iterations per release – How many content edit cycles are needed?
    • Iterations per maintenance release
    • Iterations per new document/message release

Firms with alignment on standards, customer experience objectives, and the roles responsible for each generally have less churn and resulting delay. This can have a significant impact on cycle time and overall productivity.

Cost

As your productivity improves, your cost picture should improve as well. Leverage your time tracking and other processes to develop consistent unit cost metrics.

  • Unit Cost – What does it cost to process each request by type?
    • Cost per change request
    • Cost per new request

Understanding internal unit costs is one of the biggest gaps that Doculabs sees on client sites. By developing an understanding of unit cost, better triage decisions can be made for discretionary changes.

Quality

While production quality is of the utmost importance for both regulatory and customer experience objectives, development cycle quality metrics have a direct impact on both productivity and cost metrics.

  • Production defects – How many defects per unit of work released to production?
    • Maintenance/change defects per period
    • New document/message defects per period
  • Defects by development phase – How many defects are introduced in each phase of the development cycle?
    • Maintenance defects by phase
    • New document/message defects by phase

Whether using a traditional waterfall or Agile methodology, identifying and correcting errors early in the process is always the most economical.

It’s a bonus if you can break out the metrics by complexity as well. But if the tools aren’t in place or the effort too high, then at least break it out as stated above. Bottom line: keep it simple – just two or three levels of complexity (simple, moderate, complex). Not only does this help tell your story, but it aids in project estimating as well.

Customer Experience

No, I didn’t forget about customer experience, but the reality with this metrics category is that many other groups have as much or more control over the UX results than the CCM team. We often see these metrics owned by the marketing or the UX team.

Conclusion

Solid metrics and reporting are key to getting additional funding or to ensuring your CCM program can be sustained over time. If you don’t have good baselines, start with those and keep it simple. Once baselines are established, start sharing the improvements you’re making so you can communicate your needs and progress to internal clients and management as appropriate.

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Rich Medina
Tom Roberts
I’m a Principal Consultant for Doculabs with more than 25 years experience, focused on delivering strategies that improve clients’ enterprise content management capabilities, with an emphasis on customer communications management strategies.