Getting Started with Digital Strategies & KPIs

Starting Guides for the PES Network
February 2019 | Willem Pieterson

A wealth of new concepts and approaches is being hurled at government agencies around the world. The increase in digital technologies is making many organisations wonder whether they need a digital strategy. The growing importance of data and performance measurement leads to the question whether the organisation needs its own measurement system based on a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). But how and where to get started? In these two starting guides, produced with ICF international for the PES Network, Willem Pieterson answers these questions and helps organisations getting started.

Also read:
Project: Being digitally strategic

Getting Started with KPIs

Managing and measuring performance is becoming increasingly important for governments. This is fuelled in part by an increasing focus on accountability, transparency, and more data-driven management approaches. On the other hand, increased digitalisation and connectivity of IT systems are increasing the possibilities to generate real-time insights about the organisation that can be used to better manage and steer the organisation in the right direction.

However, creating a more data-driven organization depends on its capacity to measure those aspects of the organisation that are most critical. The ability of the organization to use data in order to improve its performance depends on the degree to which the organization has those indicators in place that generate the most valuable insights. Those indicators are called Key Performance Indicators.

The purpose of this starting guide is to help organizations gain a basic understanding of what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are and why they are important. The starting guide is written in the context of Public Employment Services (PES), but many governments may find the insights useful. The guide will also help those organizations that want to start working with
KPIs. It provides practical guidance for those governments that want to adopt a more data-driven way of working and that
want to learn about and implement Key Performance Indicators. Throughout this starting guide we build upon the experiences from PES across the EU, and use as many practical examples from PES, the broader public sector and the private sector.

Getting Started with Digital Strategies

Information and communication technologies are increasingly important for governmental agencies. From being ‘simple’ tools to improve processes in back offices or service delivery in front offices, technologies have become integral parts of the organisation. However, most organisations were never designed to be digital organisations. As a result, technologies are fragmented across organisational units, resistance hampers adoption, and lack of knowledge hampers technological  innovation.

As the role of technologies is expected to increase in the future, so will the pressure on organisations to successfully incorporate technologies. To tackle these challenges, many governments and public sector agencies are considering a ‘digital transformation’ in which they re-align their structures, processes, and capabilities with the nature and characteristics of technologies.

A digital strategy is a core element of a digital transformation or any other project in the digital realm. The strategy outlines the plans in the near future aimed at the digital initiative and thus could feed into the transformation of the organisation.
In this starting guide we provide practical guidance for organizations that want to develop a digital strategy or those
that are interested in digital transformation. While this guide is also primarily aimed at Public Employment Services (PES), other organizations may find the insights useful. Within this guide we use many practical examples from PES, the broader public sector and the private sector. Through the starting guide we build upon the experiences from several PES and other organisations.


These starting guides were produced by Willem Pieterson, in collaboration with ICF International, for the European PES Network. The PES network was established following a Decision by the Council and the European Parliament to maximise efficiency of public employment services (PES).