KPI vs. KRI - Providing Better Business Intelligence Insight

May 21, 2015 Kelsey Marchand


Understanding how your business operates is the very root of success. And nothing will help you understand your business better than properly tracking, and knowing how to utilize, your company data.

Think of it like a heart monitor. Data analytics will track progress and alert to any issues your company is having –it keeps your company’s vitals in check. Without it, things may feel fine, but that gut feeling can’t replace the accuracy and business intelligence insight your data will give.

It’s a fact: company data is critical to company success.

And on some level, you already knew that. With budgets, profit goals, and sales numbers, no matter who you are, you likely know the importance and benefits of tracking your data.

Now all you need, is the ability to use it to its full advantage.

First, you need to know the basics.

Your metrics can be easily broken down into two main categories: PIs and RIs.

PIs are Performance Indicators, and like the name suggests, they track performance (e.g. number of calls made).

RIs are Result Indicators, and they track results (e.g. monthly sales profit).

And then you have your Key Indicators, KPIs and KRIs, which are your Key Performance Indicators and Key Result Indicators, respectively.

The difference between an Indicator and a Key Indicator lies in its importance. Whether a metric is considered an RI or a KRI will all depend on your company’s priorities. This is why no set list of KRIs or KPIs exists –they will change depending on the business.

Tip: If the metric directly impacts your company’s bottom-line, it’s “Key” to your success.

Key Indicators are incredibly important for day-to-day monitoring, formulating strategies, and refining operations.

And more important still, is ensuring you’re using the right one for the right job.


The Difference


KRIs, or Key Result Indicators, measure the results of your business actions (e.g. monthly profit, products sold) and are crucial for tracking progress and defining success.

KRIs are…

  • Frequently financial in nature
  • Often lagging or “backwards-looking”
  • Are of great interest to shareholders
  • Not easily actionable



KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, measure the actions and events that lead to a result (e.g. monthly calls, amount of visitors), and are used in creating strategies and aligning goals.

KPIs are…

  • Not financial in nature
  • Often leading or “forward-looking”
  • Understood by all members of staff
  • Actionable
  • Measured Frequently

KRIs track and define success. KPIs break it down and measure it.


The Importance 

If we revisit the medical analogy, KRIs are the diagnosis and KPIs are the treatment. Both are crucial to the overall health of the company, but in two different (but complementary) ways.

KRIs inform if end goals are being met and the progress of those goals or objectives. They are the overall company updates –they will tell you if things are going well or awry.

KPIs, while not as flashy as KRIs, focus on the actions that lead to the results. They are what successful strategies are built from –the steps taken to get us ideal KRI numbers.

Many organizations mistakenly rely solely on KRIs to provide business intelligence insight and direction into what actions are successful. While important, KRIs can only provide the bottom number, they cannot tell you how you got there. Only KPIs can track the steps taken to ensure the highest level of success.







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