Second key factor for a successful PAM project: Set the right KPIs

Last month we launched our very first white paper on how to have a successful PAM deployment. We have identified 5 key success factors to consider in the early stages of your project to ensure its success, the first step is Change Management. In today’s article, we’re focusing on the second step which is: setting the right KPIs. 

“How is it going?” is a question that a senior executive might ask about an ongoing PAM implementation. In fact, in one way or another, it is a question they will ask, probably more than once, and probably in many different ways. The answer to this question could be positive, it could be negative, or it could be somewhere in between. But the only truly suitable answer needs to be in terms of numbers.

These numbers are key performance indicators (KPIs), and they are quantifiable (that is, numerical) measurements that can be used to gauge the project’s performance. In all likelihood, you know plenty about KPIs, so we won’t go into too much detail about them. The point here is to reinforce their importance in the context of a PAM implementation project.
Whether you’re planning a project, about to begin one, or well into one, defining the right KPIs can make your life easier and the project run more smoothly. Some of these key indicators might be common, such as the number of accounts or users you have onboarded onto the PAM solution. Some KPIs might be specific to your particular organization or industry, especially when regulations are involved.
When defining these KPIs, make sure you have the input and validation of all key stakeholders. For multinational organizations, this might mean including representatives from at least the largest or most strategically important geographies.

For organizations in highly regulated industries, this will probably mean working closely with your legal and risk management departments. For conglomerates or other organizations with disparate IT and other systems, this will mean reaching out to all relevant parties (and, as discussed in our previous chapter, perhaps taking stock of the office-political situation). When you are asked the question, «How is it going? « it will be in the context of PAM onboarding project, of which a huge and critical part is to measure the coverage in terms of people and assets (database, servers, etc.).

The KPIs should reflect the progress of this data collection effort from the perspective of the priorities of the organization. If 80% of the accounts have been onboarded, but the remaining 20% includes all of the organization’s strategically important accounts, then the 80% figure, on its own, will not convey the true status of the project.
The ultimate goal of choosing KPIs is that they will tell the story of the status of the project, without requiring editorializing or opinionating on anyone’s part. For senior executives, a disappointing but clear KPI is preferable to a vague and worrying one. Clear KPIs reduce stress and anxiety across the organization, and they improve performance because they call attention to issues before they get out of hand. The visibility that good KPIs can provide is something that will benefit your PAM implementation project immeasurably.

To read about the rest of our steps to obtain a successful PAM deployment project download our white paper here: