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“You can’t measure that which lacks a consistent framework. You need process, definition, data sources and visualization.”  - Tania DiCostanzo, VP of IT, Strategic Initiatives and Data Analytics at Trace3 

Among the challenges PE firms and their portfolio companies face is the need to quickly align the management team on the value creation plan (VCP) and operationalize it from Day 1. Blue Margin partners with portfolio companies to develop objectives and key results (OKR) dashboards to quickly create awareness and accountability to the KPIs that advance the VCP.

In a recent project, we partnered with Trace3, a top-tier provider of IT and consulting services with 3,500 customers in 48 states. For the past 20 years, Trace3 has delivered strategy and technology solutions to many of the world's leading companies. They were acquired by American Securities in late 2021 and quickly sought to align with their sponsor on value creation initiatives.

OKR Definition and Tracking

To that end, American Securities and Trace3 worked together to define 53 OKRs across seven focus areas. After manually tracking and updating those metrics, Trace3 wanted to automate reporting to better align the executive team, board, and their sponsor on OKR progress. Trace3 engaged Blue Margin to build an OKR dashboard that streamlined manual entries and visualized their progress MTD/QTD/YTD.  

In a follow-on project, Trace3 addressed inconsistent definitions and tracking of key metrics as each region independently managed their disparate metrics via spreadsheet. Blue Margin collaborated with the Trace3 team to develop a Regional Reporting Package (RRP) to establish consistent reporting and key performance metrics across 12 regions. 

Unified Metrics on Power BI Dashboards 

An OKR dashboard allowed Trace3 to track essential value creation initiatives at the highest level with drill-through reporting to analyze progress on tactics and establish a culture of accountability to the growth plan. 

Through Power BI, dashboards automated tracking for five OKRs and provided the flexibility of manual entry for metrics not yet populated in the company’s transactional systems.  

For the RRP, Blue Margin and Trace3’s C-suite defined key sales metrics and reports for the regional managers. The project team delivered a master scorecard (dashboard) and five detail pages to better drive and track progress against objectives. 

T3 OKR Dashboard - sample

Data Visibility Brings Alignment and Efficiency

Trace3 impact visualThe OKR dashboard is used monthly by the Trace3 team (quarterly by their board) to manage risks and ensure progress against goals. Centralized reporting has provided alignment, consistency, and transparency across teams, reducing the inefficiencies arising from ad hoc meetings and numerous spreadsheets. 

The RRP has been instrumental in improving efficiency and centralized visibility into sales performance across regions, replacing point-in-time spreadsheets which required manual updates and were prone to errors.  According to a Trace3 General Manager, the RRP "provides a single source of truth and real-time monitoring. With a high deal volume, it’s essential to see what’s working and what needs to be addressed. The faster we can pivot, the faster we can maintain and accelerate a positive sales trajectory."  

Additionally, the OKR and RRP solutions prioritized and consolidated what had been a backlog of over 200 internal report requests. 

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Katie Johnson

Written by Katie Johnson

Katie Johnson is Blue Margin’s marketing manager. With a degree in human development, Katie is a student of the connection between data insights and the people who use them. She has a gift for making complex ideas accessible and brings her aptitude for process design to every conversation.