Business intelligence dashboards (BI dashboards) are an essential tool in the modern corporate management. In general, a dashboard is a graphical user interface that displays significant information. In the corporate context, the status quo, the development of central metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are usually displayed. The information is edited graphically, for example using traffic light, scale systems or interactive diagrams. Moreover, the information is customized depending on the specific needs of a respective user.
There are different types of dashboards: A management-dashboard displays information about revenue targets and forecasts, customer acquisition costs (CAC), customer lifetime value (CLV), EBIT and profit margin. In contrast to the management-dashboard, a sales-dashboard focuses on various factors, such as revenue growth, revenue targets, average revenue per user (ARUP), CAC and CLV. Another dashboard is the marketing-dashboard. A marketing dashboard provides insights about the response rate, click through rate, bounce rate and conversion rate.
Furthermore, BI dashboards can also be used in various corporate divisions, such as human resources, service and IT support, purchase, production and so on.
Dashboards are directly linked to the relevant data bases which offers the possibility of real-time information. The advantages are obvious: On the one hand, real time information allows rapid identification and correction of undesirable developments. On the other hand, informative, respectively facts-based decisions are possible.
The visual preparation of numbers contributes to a better and faster information processing. Due to this function, processes and developments can also be presented as coherent stories (storytelling) and/or individually adjusted to specific user needs (self-service reporting).
The number of tools is relatively high: Microsoft (Power BI), Qlik (Qlik View / Qlik Sense), Tableau, ThoughtSpot, Microstrategy and Sisense are among the leading providers.
In addition to selecting the optimal tool for your company, another challenge is to design the dashboard itself. Critical to this aspect is what information should be presented at all, where, for whom and how. The answer seems trivial: depending on the corporate division and level of responsibility, the KPIs needed to monitor, control and execute business relevant tasks and processes. However, it is very complex.
Apart from the fact that the KPIs need to be feasible on the data side, they should be derived from the corporate or digital strategy, structured and assigned useful to different addressees at various levels with different stages of detailing and topicality. In the end, all relevant levers for the company as well as the technical and functional areas must be identified and operationalized by using KPIs and metrics. Success and misfortune of the project is decided at this point.
At the conception of the KPIs and dashboards, it is recommended to use a corporate and area specific KPI hierarchy construction on three layers: On the first layer, strong abstracted and strategic KPIs inform the management level about the general performance and the need for action. The second layer focuses on the need for action in form of operative KPIs addresses to the business level. Lastly, the third layer provides information about various analytical topics, the causes (and levers) of the strategic, respectively, operative need for action and supports the employees in their daily work. The KPI hierarchy shows interdependencies between actions and KPIs through all three layers. As a result, the KPI hierarchy is the fundament for the continuous performance control in the entire company.
Since the KPI-based dashboards have been defined and developed at strategic, operational and analytical levels, a comprehensive performance management process needs to be established which pervades the various departments, functions and hierarchies. This does not only involve the definition of a process. It also involves a change in working and leadership methods as well as a change in mindsets which requires an accompanying training and a change management approach. In practice, a problem occurring very often, is that the last step is insufficiently considered so that KPI control and performance management are less efficient
Through our daily consulting experience in different branches and topics, we have developed a comprehensive knowledge in performance management and BI dashboards. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need support or if you have questions.