There was a time when measuring the success of your business was a pretty straightforward process. You looked at hard metrics like net income, gross profit, customer status and expenses, each coming from monthly, quarterly and yearly reports. Those were solid numbers.  They still are.

But then the pace of business increased dramatically, and now those metrics pulled from outdated reports aren't effective anymore. Simply put, they can't keep up with the speed of business in these modern, technologically fast times. Yesterday's metrics can't help you pivot on a daily basis, which has become all-important in the modern business world.  

This leads us toward an entirely new set of business metrics. Fuelled by technology using enhanced tracking on customer touch points, these metrics pulled from web analytics include things like time on site, clicks, views, number of Twitter followers, and number of Facebook reactions. These are indicators of success that are available on a daily, hourly, or even up-to-the-second basis.

And that's a good thing, right? Well...not necessarily. With a wide variety of advanced, easy-to-implement analytics, it's possible to get sidetracked and lose your way in the vast sea of information. Measurements shift to  what's easiest to track--not necessarily what needs to be measured. Just because you can track all of that web and social media behavior doesn't mean you should. Much of this data (e.g., clicks on a web link) is too granular to be really helpful when you're making decisions about the direction of your business.

Another pitfall is trying to measure too many things at once, which makes it difficult to know where to focus. Be wary of gathering "number of" metrics, such as number of Twitter followers, number of clicks, number of Facebook reactions, and the like. A new follower or click won't tell you much about that person's purchase behavior.

And with the Internet of Things, it's only going to get worse. Soon businesses will be able to collect and transmit unprecedented amounts of information. If you're not careful, you'll end up buried in data that may not make a difference. Now more than ever, business leaders need to be measuring the right things.

Fortunately, it turns out the right metrics are the hard metrics you relied on in the beginning. The problem was never the numbers, which were and remain solid. It was your access to them. What business leaders need is a way to look at performance holistically and in real-time, not just on the monthly, quarterly, or year-end time frame.

That's why Sage Live was designed to aggregate your bank feeds, payroll, invoicing and payments, timesheets, CRM and expense reimbursement data to allow you to build instant, custom reports, and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your business.  Having instant access to the metrics that really matter can help you manage your business more effectively at all times by allowing you to make smarter, quicker decisions.