Custom KPI Dashboards - The elegant solution to getting the most out of your business data
“Outdated data is a mission killer,” says CIO Magazine. “Executives need a real-time view into the work happening across [their] business, with the right level of visibility into how the business is performing against goals.” Because they can break down silos and make crucial data easy to find and visualize, providing up-to-the-moment, organization-wide visibility, dashboards are “the one crucial tool for making better decisions faster.”
In today’s rapidly evolving, digitally driven market, sustainable success depends on effective performance monitoring and truly data-based decision-making. But in an era when practically limitless amounts of data are available and always flowing, you need a way to cut through the noise and spotlight your most important metrics—to view them in a way that is accessible and engaging; easy to understand, interpret, and act on; and which connects your whole team to your company’s big mission and strategic goals.
Data is only as valuable as it is useful to your company for tracking progress and making decisions that move you toward your business objectives. All the data in the world can’t benefit your company if you’re overwhelmed by its volume or if it’s too spread out over diverse applications and departments, or if the process of viewing, analyzing, and interpreting it is so monumental that you can’t commit the necessary time and resources to it. Infinite ways of breaking down and categorizing data are likewise ineffective if you can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak.
What makes data matter is knowing what data matters to your business.
KPIs (key performance indicators) are quantifiable measures that efficiently evaluate how your organization is performing relative to its goals. KPIs significantly reduce the complexity of performance tracking by defining your most essential metrics and then boiling down the metrics from diverse data streams to tell you, in real-time, if you’re on the right track or need to adjust course. KPIs prevent the loss of valuable time and resources spent heading in the wrong direction or sorting through extraneous information. They can be used to monitor your organization’s financial health, measure progress against your goals, identify issues and make timely corrections, and motivate your team.
Although there are industry standards, the most effective KPIs are the ones that are vital to your unique business. They should be linked to strategic goals, relevant to your team/users, clear and concise, easy to understand and interpret, contextualized (vis-a-vis history and objectives), measured frequently, and actionable.
Once you’ve established your KPIs, the best tracking method is to showcase them in one simple, accessible, visually engaging screen format: a data dashboard.
Dashboards gather your KPIs together in one place. They provide a real-time visual summary of your key metrics and offer access to critical insights in an instant. Every dashboard is unique, but they tend to fall into several general types, including executive, operational, analytical, and tactical. You can track marketing effectiveness, financial well-being and progress, IT performance, customer service, and more. Uniting various data sources, KPI dashboards graphically display the information that’s most crucial to informed decision-making, provide access and visibility to all users, act as an early warning system that enables business leaders to diagnose and correct problems quickly, and even highlight potential opportunities—ultimately saving time and money and increasing profitability.
There are countless “customizable” third-party software solutions on the market, and it’s easy to be enticed by the bells and whistles offered by commercial dashboard products—elaborate charts and graphs, beautiful color schemes, animations, etc.—and there’s nothing wrong with those. But again, what’s useful is what’s user-friendly. Too many features can result in visual clutter that gets in the way. Your dashboard should tell a story that helps you make smarter decisions faster—so prioritize clarity and simplicity.
Start with SMART criteria: each measure shown should be Specific to your business’s purpose, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant to the organization’s success, and Time-phased, meaning it assesses outcomes for a predefined pertinent period. Make sure your dashboard can be easily updated.
Overall, a custom dashboard is the most powerful tool for viewing your organization’s KPIs. According to Forbes, “While plenty of dashboards offer access to necessary functions and vital information, custom dashboards hold the upper hand in providing companies with essential operations personalized for their needs.”
The modernization experts at Lukasa specialize in streamlining business and technology systems through a holistic mindset and partnership approach. Viewing your goals and pain points through a contemporary lens, we can help distill your company’s most essential data into simple, clear, accessible, actionable KPIs and create a custom dashboard that brings together powerful tools and elegant design.
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Lukasa is a business and technology modernization firm focused on process analysis and improvement, system and data unification, cloud migration, tailor-made software and implementation—maximizing efficiency and growth.