What Is A KPI Dashboard: All You Need To Know
Any good business keeps track of its progress. You can track your business’ performance through a particular set of parameters referred to as Key Performance Indicators. The main goals of the business motivate the development of KPI . To get in-depth information about the performance, you will need a KPI dashboard, starting with its definition.
KPI Dashboard Definition
This dashboard is a visual presentation of insights that can help top management make decisions and achieve business success. There are two dimensions to any KPI indicator, namely the strategic dimension and the operational dimension. The strategic aspect anticipates challenges your business may face and mitigates them to attain your strategic targets. The operational element focuses on the everyday operations of your enterprise. Its goal is to improve internal processes such as staff development, product or service, and further the revenue. For more impressive results, the business needs to focus on creating a good KPI dashboard. The dashboard needs to be lean and clear. This brings us to how you can create a KPI dashboard.
Creating a KPI Dashboard
Any good performance dashboard follows a particular framework for its development. The framework includes eight important steps, namely:
- Determining KPI
- Engaging stakeholders
- Doing a skeleton of the dashboard
- Choosing a KPI Dashboard Software
- Collecting basic data points
- Design data visualizations
- Slating a feedbacks session
- Implementing the KPI Dashboard
1. Determining a KPI
The success of your dashboard relies hugely on your KPIs. Determining a KPI requires to match the goals of your business to the internal business processes. Therefore, a KPI needs to be very specific such that it points you directly to what your business needs to attain. You may say profit is a good KPI, but it is not as precise as improving email conversion and click through rates. An excellent response to your email marketing campaigns is a good indicator of an impending profit. Arriving at KPIs is not enough when done with one person, which leads us to engaging stakeholders.
2. Engaging Stakeholders
It is always important to consider everyone that your business impacts. It will be easy to design the dashboard when you know whomever the dashboard targets. The truth is that the owner of a business, top management, employees, and clients all need the dashboard for different reasons. Moreover, when you cater for everyone when developing your dashboard, you will avoid the potential of a redo. Minor amendments will save time meant for the adoption of the dashboard.
3. Doing the Skeleton of the Dashboard
Any big innovation started with a small prototype. When you have a sketch of the dashboard, you want you can start by presenting it to several stakeholders. A sketch allows you to know the impact the dashboard may have on the stakeholders. Their suggestions may be just what you need to create the ideal dashboard. An excellent dashboard also requires the combination of several visualizations. Your choice of visualizations from the charts to the sparklines needs to be simple for any new employee that joins the company. Moreover, it needs to be compatible with your choice of your KPI Dashboard Software. This brings us to considerations made when choosing a KPI Dashboard Software.
4. Choosing KPI Dashboard Software
The KPI Dashboard software gives a visual representation of the KPIs. It also brings together data from multiple sources and offers you an overall display of relevant information. The upside of having a KPI dashboard is that it provides real-time data to the user any time you need it. It also organizes information by sourcing data from relational databases and data warehouses. Besides, you have access to all the insight on a single page. There is multiple KPI dashboard software. To choose the ideal software, keep in mind the following consideration:
- Usability: Consider software that is easy to use. Therefore, the goal is to ensure that the tool is easy to understand for the end-user.
- DIY Capability: Some software requires you to employ IT support. If you choose a KPI Dashboard Software, it should be something that you can work on yourself with a basic IT team.
- Usable Anywhere: The dashboard software needs to be available for use on portable devices such as smartphones and laptops.
- Easy to integrate: The dashboard software needs to have built-in connectors that allow you to integrate it with other performance management tools.
- Embeddable: The dashboard software needs to be something whose dashboard can embedded on other applications.
Now that you know how to choose the perfect software for your KPI dashboard, you need to put it to work. Using it starts with defining appropriate data points from where you source data for analysis.
5. Defining Data Points for KPI Dashboard
You need to have a system through which you will collect data. Arriving at data points can take some time, therefore, have a team to help you craft queries. Moreover, you need APIs for retrieval of data automatically.
Each KPI must have a data point that pulls data from a particular point. Remember that you need these sources for more effective insights.
6. Designing Data Visualizations
With data ready, what follows is the data analysis and presentation. This brings us to the creation of data visualizations. This is the result of all the work you put into designing the KPI dashboard. A good visualization needs to be presentable and simplistic in display at the same time. If you have a choice to choose between a bar chart and a scatter plot, the bar chart is a perfect choice. Anyone reading will find it quite easy to understand even when it is their first time. Other adherence of your design are namely:
- Avoiding too much color
- Avoiding pie charts
- Pay attention to the choice of orientation and organization of your visualizations
- Add comparison metrics where necessary
- Do not create a one size fits all KPI dashboard
7. Creating Time for Feedbacks Session
Earlier, we talked about engaging stakeholders in creating the dashboard. With much of the necessary work done, what follows is a review of the dashboard. Remember that the dashboard may take more than one phase to become perfect. These deliberations with the stakeholders should help improve the dashboard.
The suggestions and opinions of stakeholders may be too much. However, take your time to listen carefully to what they say. If they like the dashboard, then a few amends should not scare because it shows that you are on the right track.
8. Implementing the KPI Dashboard
Once the dashboard is ready, what follows is the implementation. The implementation is the easiest process, and you could start with a quarterly, which is to start with what the dashboard gives you in the first three months. Later you can decide the intervals for review.
Once the dashboard is ready, you may be convinced that you did things right. However, you may not have been aware of what exactly makes a good KPI dashboard. Here, we bring you signs of whether you did the dashboard correctly and common mistakes to avoid when designing a KPI dashboard.
Characteristics of a Good KPI Dashboard
Aligns With Objectives
The end game of any dashboard is to improve performance. First, a company offers a particular set of products or services. What follows is product or service activation in the market. Performance is then tracked by paying attention to a particular set of metrics. The metrics represent parameters measured by KPIs and displayed on the KPI dashboard. For this reason, when developing KPI, the business objectives need consideration.
Uses appropriate visuals
Choose visual representation based on what the business targets. If you aim to read an increase in sales, then you will need a simple yet descriptive visual such as a bar chart. If your objective is to track the allocation of resources across various business projects, then you need a pie chart.
Contextualizes numerical figures
A dashboard may give you data, but it is not important if not contextualized. The information needs to be tied to the bigger picture. The dashboards need to cluster any related data. This allows the user to make connections between the KPIs and make necessary improvements.
Gives current data
For effective performance management , data offered by dashboard for modification needs to be real-time. This means that if you want to generate a report today, you will get the most recent data. If you change a goal, the dashboard should display data, keeping in mind the amendment in real-time.
Tells a story
Any dashboard must look back on multiple occasions. A better dashboard goes beyond that to show a connection between the present, the past, and the future. Such comparisons allow for easy decision making. An example is that when an investor accesses the dashboard, they will want to know how you have been performing and where you are as an investor.
Offers a more logical layout
A good dashboard saves time. It should not take more than five seconds for whoever reading the data to understand the visuals. Therefore, the dashboard needs to portray a particular form of arrangement easy for anyone to figure out. Create a dashboard that allows you to put the most important data at the top in five seconds. What follows after that are trends and comparisons. Other numbers need to follow towards the bottom.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating A KPI Dashboard
Sometimes a dashboard may go through all the processes of its development only for it to show certain problems. The problems may be a result of particular mistakes you made in the creation and did overlook. Here are some of the mistakes and how you could avoid them.
1. KPI May Not Be Specific To Your Business
You need to get it right when identifying KPIs you plan to use. List as many KPIs as you can, engage in brainstorming sessions, or research what other companies do. Moreover, you can search the internet for ideas. All these ideas from multiple sources may not be specific to the business itself. You need to tailor them to what matters to the company. The purpose of this is to avoid the difficulties in measuring, and the chances that it may not the dashboard may not function. The solution is to be able to arrive at measurable metrics such as sales made daily, weekly, and monthly. Moreover, the performance of staff and the gross profit.
2. KPI Focuses on Activities Rather Than Outcomes
You need to target KPIs that are focused on your goals rather than on outcomes. Examples of activity-focused KPIs include things such as the number of products produced or working hours. Activities make you focus on tasks. Results make you focus on objectives both short term and long term, which point you to issues significant for the success of the enterprise.
Examples of results include things such as our customers are engaged, and more products produced. When developing a metric , the focus, therefore, will be on customer journeys and product rates. The advantage of focusing on the result is that you will know what requires improvement right away when it does not perform as planned.
3. KPIs lack buy-ins an ownership
When stakeholders buy-in, they give the KPIs more importance. This is possible because they get to use the KPIs to make decisions for the company. The result is that stakeholders will take part in triggering success for your enterprise. Always give staff control over both the objectives and the outcomes of your company. When stakeholders accept the result, they may also be receptive to the metrics involved in measuring it.
4. You may be looking for the perfect dashboard
This mistake is not that of the dashboard but of yourself wanting a perfect dashboard. Your goal needs to be to have a dashboard that more accurate and reliable. All you need is for what you create to offer you enough to make informed choices for your enterprise. Period!
Now you know what makes a good dashboard and how to avoid the common mistakes that you may obstruct its purpose, you may want to maximize the capability of your KPI dashboard. Several approaches can help with that.
Maximizing the Outcomes of Your KPI Dashboard
Your dashboard has the potential to attain a better result. The plan is to make the best use of it by taking steps that will turbocharge its performance:
1. Go For More Forward Oriented KPIs
An excellent dashboard gives you not only information about the past but also a forecast of the future. Your KPIs may get you to the results, but they may not predict where you may be in the future. What you need to do is to adjust the parameter to allow you to make a more intelligent estimate of the future. Try to look at your metrics and arrive at leading indicators. For example, if you have a coffee shop, you want to focus on the number of people that enter your shop instead of the sales.
What this means is that you can work on increasing the people entering your premises. The result is that sales will increase in the process. This means that you will need to identify lagging indicators that usually show you the past. Forecasts are important; for instance, it is a good idea to notice an impending risk and mitigate it before it affects your business.
2. Focus more on your customers
Some companies carry out an in-depth study of the market and may finish the study without interacting with the customer. If anything, your data needs to be from your customers. Do not be afraid to engage them because any goals you set motivates your KPI, and both rely on the customer.
You might ask yourself to what degree should the interaction with customer reach? The answer is that you need an oral response to the experience of the customer. Moreover, pay attention to their non-verbal language to get a clear picture of their needs and emotions about your product or service. Besides, interaction with the customer gives context to any data you collected.
3. Do not be tricked by the figures
Numbers should not make you comfortable that you are in control. As a business, avoid the comfort mindset. Your attention should always be on the metrics, so for better performance management. These metrics need to be aligned to the goal of the business so that any change made, in turn, affects the performance of the company. Metrics ensure that the numbers you come about are more relevant.
4. Have a scope of the things you can measure
The goal is to ensure that you do not end up measuring values beyond your control. Metrics, as mentioned above, are very significant when it comes to KPI dashboards. Take your time to choose a handful of metrics that you can track all the way and even improve when the need arises.
For instance, if you want to increase production and the problem is that you have inadequate equipment, the solution will be to replace them. If you're going to produce more quality products and your staff do not understand the new technology, you may want to invest in their training.
When you monitor the right indicator, the chances of a positive result are high. Your dashboard should give control to employees over the process. Further, when you tell employees to monitor specific parameters, it will be easy because they know what they are dealing with.
The goals need to be SMART. This means that the goal has to be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-bound. The point is that each goal has a KPI, which is quite precise; something a leader of the KPI can work on attaining. The goal needs to be quantifiable. When quantifiable, anyone working on it may find the quantity a motivating factor. The goal also needs to be something that can be tasked to someone, something that can be achieved and something that has deadlines tied to it.
5. Understand that data can affect particular trends
Data, particularly in long forms, tends to hide certain realities. For instance, if you have an FBA business, you may feel that your sales increased generally but fail to note that a particular marketplace did not perform well. Your KPI needs to be well-segmented to allow you to make amends to appeal to that marketplace. The easiest way to do this is to question the metrics you use, pay attention to the underlying data, and arrive at the areas that require improvement.
6. Avoid punitive metrics
Some metrics are not important at all in your journey to create a successful enterprise through good performance management. For example, you do not need to know the number of fans on your social media unless you have a metric about marketing you need to track. In its place, track metrics such as engagements, clicks on social posts, and so on. Avoid absolute measures such as profits and look things such as rates and rations. Rates and rations are more specific and solutions directed. Absolutes values are measures already available.
7. Tell a story with your data
A story makes a piece of data not only easy to understand but also memorable. A story traps important figures that can be used to trigger a better performance for your business. Breaking down big sets of data can be challenging. However, a story can make that process easier as it connects various parameters allowing for easy comparisons and conclusions. Remember that none of your KPIs needs to be in isolation; the story makes the data more relevant.
Any good business starts with a goal. The goal later motivates the KPI because the company requires to understand whether it is making any progress. The results of a KPI are further displayed on a dashboard. The process for designing a KPI is simple, and once the dashboard is ready, it should allow you to make more informed business decisions. Even when the results offered by display appear satisfactory, it is good to ensure that you make the best of it to achieve more and better results. Therefore, design your KPI dashboard now and start making a better assessment of your business.