I have spent a number of years going to customer on-sites and training them on how to create dashboards. Throughout these training, I have been asked many times about how they can determine the right metrics (aka KPIs) and how they can build successful dashboards. A person can easily change a color or a chart type on a dashboard, but the artistic aesthetics are not what make a successful dashboard – although, it may be more pleasing to the eye. But what makes a great dashboard is the data that’s contained within.
Are you displaying the right dashboard KPIs?
A successful KPI dashboard needs to include the proper data and information so that organizations are able to make accurate and informed business decisions. Executive management requires strategic KPIs that will allow them to steer the direction of the organization. By viewing the tactical data, the C-level can make sure the goals of the organization are being met. Similarly, those working on the floor or in the field require day-to-day operational data so that they can see how they are charting against their individual goals.
Are you displaying the right charts?
A pie chart with a blue background in the upper right corner may look nice, but does it help the viewer of the information make the right choice between ordering more parts and standing put? Well, then how do you know what the right charts or dashboard KPIs are?
Questions, questions, questions.
I ask a lot of questions surrounding each of the dashboard KPIs and metrics. Questions like:
- Who will be viewing the dashboard?
- What are the users’ roles?
- What are the timeframes associated with the data (point in time, YTD, etc.)?
- How often does the data need to be refreshed?
- What do you want the solution to look like?
So when you’re planning your dashboard initiative and trying to select the right dashboard KPIs, make sure you’re asking yourself -and your executive team- the right questions. Once you define these questions, you’ll be able to successfully build your dashboards and make strategic decisions.