Finance tools & tech 2 min read

KPI dashboards: what are they and how do you build one?

Spendesk

If you’re a chef, you’ll take a look at your secret recipe book to see what ingredients you need for a delicious meal.

And in business, you’ll find your own ingredients for success in a neat KPI dashboard. Here you can track all the relevant metrics and evaluate your business strategy and performance.

So, what exactly is a KPI dashboard? And how do you build one?

In this article, we’ll share a few ways you can build a KPI dashboard for your team and maximize its potential when it comes to data analysis. Enjoy the read!

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What are KPIs?

KPIs are the most important metrics that quantify the progress you’re making towards your business goals. Not all the metrics you’ll be tracking are KPIs - only the most relevant ones.

Businesses typically identify high-level and low-level KPIs.

High-level KPIs are determined on the company level, and they are used to measure overall business performance. Low-level KPIs track how each team’s projects and tasks affect the company’s progress towards the set goals.

What is a KPI dashboard?

KPI dashboards enable a streamlined view of your selected KPIs with the goal of tracking and analyzing the collected data, so you can later use it to improve your business’ performance.

Creating a KPI dashboard allows you to track the data in (near) real-time, quickly, and accurately

Also, the fact that you can view all the vital information in one place allows you to understand the overall company health much better.

Ways to build a KPI dashboard

There are several ways to build a KPI dashboard, including spreadsheets and slide shows. But you should opt for data visualization tools to maximize the potential of KPI analysis.

Spreadsheets and presentations let you create charts and graphs, but you need to enter information manually every time there’s a change in data. They also lack the collaborative features that let you share a dashboard with other team members, and work more efficiently.

A few good examples include Looker, Tableau, Klipfolio, and Chartmogul. These data visualization tools also typically integrate with various software solutions and analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Salesforce, HubSpot, SEMrush, email marketing software like MailChimp, and more.

That way, each of your teams can track crucial KPIs in the tools they know best, while you have centralized reporting for the whole business.

Tips for an effective KPI dashboard

Here are a few tips to help you build an effective KPI dashboard.

  1. Only choose the most important KPIs to include in your dashboard. The whole point of these is to help you get an at-a-glance visualization of your data, not to confuse you even more with too much information.
  2. Explore KPI templates before you start building a dashboard. There are plenty of free customizable templates available online, and you may save time by downloading one of those rather than creating a new dashboard.
  3. Make sure your KPIs are well-defined and strategically important for your high-level company goals. That way, tracking them will make sense, and you’ll get data that will enable you to create an actionable plan and improve your performance.
  4. Test different dashboard building tools. After you’ve tried several solutions for data visualization, you’ll find what works best for your business and helps you create more accurate and streamlined reports.

There's no real secret to good KPI reporting. You need to choose the right metrics, then find the tools to help measure and display them easily. 

Quick and easy KPI tracking

It’s easy to be productive when you have a nice and clean desk.

In the same sense, monitoring KPIs and analyzing data becomes much simpler and more effective when working with a clear, organized dashboard where you can easily locate and understand the relevant information.

That allows you to react promptly and start working on an improvement plan as soon as you identify an issue in your business performance. Or even better, never miss a data trend that you can use to your advantage again.

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