Critical success factor

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A critical success factor ( KEF ) is a characteristic of an organization that, with sufficiently good values, enables the organization's goals to be achieved, e.g. profit maximization, communication, quality, cost leadership, etc.

The Critical Success Factors (KEF) method is based on a Rockart information needs assessment process.

The critical success factors are obtained by working with the top management of a company to determine what is decisive for the company's success. On the basis of the KEF z. B. Projects can be set up or prioritized that are conducive to corporate goals.

Critical success factors relate to a limited number of work areas. Good results in these areas are essential for an individual, a department or an organization to compete successfully.

The KEF are classically collected from the four areas of service, communication, personnel and positioning. Exemplary KEF in the area of ​​communication could be internal communication, inter-company communication and user training.

The assessment of the individual KEF takes place on the basis of questionnaires from experts and / or employees. Priority P (K), performance L (K) and overall success E (K) are to be assessed. The scale ranges from P (K) = 1 irrelevant to P (K) = 7 very decisive and L (K) = 1 very poor to L (K) = 7 excellent. The cumulative values ​​express whether the KEFs are adequately supported.

The success E (K) of a KEF is calculated using the formula , which shows that E (K) is greater, the higher the priority and performance are assessed.

The formula shows the success for participant T and all success factors.

gives the difference in performance between priority and performance. This shows the order of the KEF to be improved. Mathematically, D (K) lies between −6 and +6. In the case of negative values, a reduction in the use of resources is recommended, in the case of positive values ​​vice versa.

The procedure for KEF analysis consists of seven typical points:

1. Identify the KEF

KEF should consider all properties of the information infrastructure that are important for business success. These should be specified in company jargon.

2. Determination of the survey participants

The participants should, if possible, be all users, otherwise a representative sample who come into contact with the KEF. The participants can also be grouped by subject area.

3. Formulation of the questionnaire

4. Implementation of the data collection

5. Evaluation and presentation of the survey data

The evaluation is carried out according to the formulas presented. The success factors should be classified according to priority and performance depending on the participant groups and sorted according to the urgency of the performance difference.

6. Interpretation of the results

7. Presentation

The presentation in two-axis portfolios is particularly suitable for presentation.


When introducing an IT project, critical success factors can be:

  • Professional project management
  • Early identification of risks
  • Sufficient planning before implementation
  • Other, project-specific factors

In a retail establishment, for example:

  • Location of the shop (e.g. in a pedestrian zone or shopping arcade)
  • Range for medium to high demands
  • Competent sales staff

For a new location of a market-launched discounter :

  • Good transport connection
  • Sufficient parking space
  • Sufficiently large sales area for the range
  • Large catchment area

For a hardware store chain:

  • Sufficient assortment
  • Current offer of "bargains"
  • Intensive advertising, if possible at each location once a week in the local newspaper


  1. ^ H. Krcmar: Information management. 4th edition. Springer, 2005, ISBN 3-540-23015-7 .
  2. ^ L. Heinrich, F. Lehner: Information management. 8th edition. Oldenbourg, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-486-57772-7 .