A measure is a classification unit of raw data. It is typically used to quantify some size or quantity, such as length and volume.

Metrics are a subset of measures that repackage raw data into useful-yet-easily digestible pieces. Examples include turnaround time, which measures how long it takes for a task to be completed.

## Definition

Measurement is the quantification of a property to allow comparisons with other properties. It is an important part of modern science, engineering, commerce and daily life. It is also a core concept in many fields such as statistics, economics, biology, physics and mathematics.

The philosophical definition of measurement is controversial, with different views arguing over what sorts of magnitudes are measurable and how a measurement system can be defined. Despite this, most contemporary authors accept that measurement involves interacting with a real system with the aim of representing it in abstract terms.

The fundamental properties of a measure are based on the notion of a ratio. According to Euclid’s Elements, two magnitudes are comparable if they have the same ratio. This definition was extended by later mathematicians to include the notion of a countably additive set function, now known as a content (see measure theory). The most commonly used measures are those derived from the International System of Units and tied to physical constants.

## Purpose

A measure is a value that quantifies some aspect of reality. For example, a sales measure might be the number of items sold. This information is useful, but without context it doesn’t tell us why the number is good or bad, or what we should do about it.

A common misconception is that a measurement should tell you what to do, but that is not the purpose of measures. The purpose of measures is to provide data that you can use in achieving your business objectives.

To do this, you must identify the desired outcomes and establish targets for how to get there. You also need to set up the measures and track them over time, comparing actual results against the target. In addition, you must have a plan for dealing with any negative variances. To support these activities, a robust data model must be established with appropriate links between the various tables. This includes establishing relationships between measures and the dimensions that they depend on.

## Methods

Measures and metrics are tools that can help businesses track progress toward goals and objectives. The methods used to collect and analyze these data points vary, depending on the type of information needed and the amount of resources available. Choosing the right measurement tools can make it easier for businesses to gather data and gain actionable insights.

For instance, indirect measurements involve comparing the dimensions of a target object to those of a reference object, such as gauge blocks or ring gauges. These types of measurements can be streamlined using automated software, which reduces the time and effort required for analyzing raw data.

A key aspect to consider when choosing a measurement system is its reliability and validity. Reliable systems produce accurate and consistent results under a set of conditions. Conversely, unreliable systems produce inaccurate and inconsistent results. The adequacy of a measurement system also depends on the question being asked and the steps taken to ensure its accuracy.

## Examples

There are many examples of measures. The most common are numerical figures that quantify a quantity, such as length, weight or volume.

Another example of a measure is the amount of gasoline a car consumes per mile driven, which can be calculated from the vehicle’s speed and fuel economy measurements. Other examples include the price increases of goods and services, such as a pair of shoes or a home’s mortgage interest rate.

In mathematics, the concept of measure is central to the theories of algebra and geometry and has far-reaching implications in probability theory and integration theory. Mathematical theories of measurement (also known as measure theory) explore how relations exhibited by numbers can be used to express properties of sets.

When selecting metrics to track in your business, it is important to choose a few that are both accurate and aligned with your goals. It is also helpful to consider whether a metric provides you with the information you need to make a decision or change your actions.