Envisioning Success by Formulating Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Reports

By CIOReview | Thursday, July 28, 2016
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Today’s business scenario portrays a fast-paced environment where every organization has its own set of long term as well as short term goals and objectives. Aiming to level with the pace, keeping a track on the firm’s performance, and mastering the art of achieving these objectives are very crucial. Key performance indicator (KPI) is one platform embedded with a set of actions and tools focused on evaluating a company’s overall progress. An effective KPI is actionable and has the ability to be easily communicated throughout the enterprise.

KPI reports deliver the precise performance metrics needed to visualize a company’s probability of future success. A well-structured KPI report also helps the enterprises to make informed decisions. The process of reviewing an accurate KPI depends on numerous factors such as the company’s structure, industry, nature of the projects, budget and the executives who utilize these metrics for making business centric decisions.

‘Key’ benefits of a KPI report:

  • Vital data can be accessed in fewer clicks.
  • Automated real-time updates on the latest information can be received.
  • Quick view of the organization’s budget and performance.
  • Graphical data visualization is presented for easy understanding.
  • Helps to track the sales performance.
  • Quickly notices suboptimal performance and takes action accordingly.
  • Provides actionable and accurate metrics that improves the decision making process.

And the list goes on……..

Choosing the Right Type of KPI Dashboard (or Report)

To gain unprecedented and accurate performance metrics, selecting the right KPI report tool is always the first stepping stone which leads to success.

Designed to perform specific tasks, there exists two main types of reports:

Strategic Dashboards

Strategic dashboards will effectively display the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) tracked by the company’s executives on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. A strategic dashboard has the ability to facilitate a detailed overview of the status of business along with the upcoming opportunities. The acquired data may be in terms of periodic revenue vs. prior period, costs vs. prior period and the headcount sales pipeline.

Analytical Operational Dashboards

These type of dashboards display the data that facilitates the operational section of a business. For instance, in a business featuring a website, it is a vital task to ensure that the website remains operational, so that the server up-time and utilization can be effectively monitored. In a business featuring the function of inside sales, a dedicated sale’s dashboard may be needed that displays the total number of calls made and the total number of appointments booked. Think of an operational dashboard as monitoring the nerve centre of your operation. These type of dashboards often requires a real-time or at least a partial real-time data.

Consider the following questions in mind before creating a perfect KPI design:

1. Do I have all forms of relevant data in store?

In spite of all the actionable and visually attractive metrics the program may produce, it is not possible to add them to the KPI tracking dashboard unless and until the program has access to the relevant data. A real-time KPI tracking dashboard can be effectively generated by utilizing the tools that collect a company’s data from other forms of software solutions. With systematic software integrations, you can automatically import all your statistics to the dashboard.

2. What is the expected business outcome?

Having practical reasons for a specific operation is an essential factor that helps to keep the business running. Have long-term goals such as an increase in profit, growth in revenue or the need to gain new customers will give you a better outlook towards achieving business goals. To keep track of your progress, setting feasible goals and complementing them with a pre-defined result is always an innovative approach.

3. How can I effectively improve the results displayed on my KPI dashboard?

It is always advisable to create an actionable KPI that can be controlled and managed by your own actions. To create a highly responsive and actionable KPI, you need to consider and plan the process of achieving pre-defined goals. Determine the key tasks that are measurable and that can assist you in achieving these goals. Never hesitate to include milestones, percentages or numbers in your growth plans. You will observe that all the KPI metrics are always actionable and measurable. It simply means that, with a well organized planning, you can effectively alter the results and boost the sales performance.

4. Identify the user of the dashboard?   

Considering the performance of various business operations, generating multiple KPI reports is always a wise course of action. For instance, incorporate a dashboard for the firm’s sales and marketing, budget and expenses; presenting a general synopsis of the company’s overall performance. While determining and selecting the appropriate KPI’s to monitor, think about the person who will be entitled to gain benefits from the relevant information.

5. How to Calculate the Outcome?

It is crucial to visualize the outcome before implementing any kind of updated metrics for your KPI dashboard. Are you planning to use bar chart, line chart, pie charts, table, or simply a number to help you visualize a metric? Evaluate each and every form of KPI individually and consider multiple ways of presenting them. To find all the relevant data quickly and to create a natural flow of information, it is always a good move to place the similar data or metrics close to each other while generating a KPI dashboard.

Most common Mistakes Made While Designing a KPI Dashboard:

1. Making the design complicated and difficult to understand.
2. Incorporating incorrect information.
3. Developing many features at once.
4. Displaying visuals which are inappropriate.
5. Either low or too much interactivity involved.

Now you understand that finding the right KPI metrics is never a complicated task. The simple trick that paves a path to success is developing the skill to identify your business goals and safeguard the data ready to be visualized on the dashboard. The best KPIs are always made to be highly actionable, measurable and informative in nature.