Let’s agree on the facts first: The primary use case of a KPI dashboard is about visualizing information and KPIs. Totally agree on that. However, I genuinely believe that a KPI dashboard can drive, establish, and realize additional use cases. Use cases that go beyond visualizing KPIs on a dashboard.
This conviction is based on two pillars. First, on experience, I’ve gathered with setting up complex KPI dashboards with companies across the globe. Second, on features, our dashboard product offers in that context and the feedback we’ve received from clients.
KPI Dashboards Can Drive Additional Value Without Substantial Additional Invest
The interesting part of the three KPI dashboard use cases I’m going to introduce with this blog post is the following. None of the use cases is linked to huge effort and costs. On the contrary, I consider those use cases as high-value add-ons KPI dashboards provide.
Quick Background About The KPI Dashboard Infrastructure
To present KPIs and information on a dashboard you requirer a technical infrastructure. And just to make that clear right from the beginning: I’m not talking about Excel dashboards but about a sophisticated KPI dashboard.
Therefore, you need an infrastructure that collects, processes, calculates, and stores data. For example, with our product, the aWall, we operate a data hub, data warehouse, and specific data services that are tailored to these tasks.
Especially, the data warehouse is tailored to processing data from different sources/systems and to archive it in a structured way. Displaying the information on the KPI dashboard is finally only the icing on the cake. Most of the effort is linked to collecting and processing data but not to visualize it.
Here Are 3 KPI Dashboard Use Cases You’ve Never Thought About
Data analytics has become an essential part of many companies’ performance management. And I’m not even talking about big data, machine learning and stuff like this. On the contrary, I’m talking about a reliable and comprehensive data source to fuel analytics measures.
Many companies —especially small and mid-sized— we talked to in recent years told us that they do not operate a dedicated data warehouse. Conversely, data often is stored in databases of different systems. In we all know the term of data silos in this context. Obviously, such a setup massively hinders the process of data analytics.
KPI Dashboards Collects Data And Builds A Source For Analytics
As mentioned above, one crucial step to set up a KPI dashboard is in connecting data sources, collecting data, and storing it. Accordingly, since all the required data is already available, a combined and reliable source can be provided for data analytics. Without any additional hardware, interfaces, or anything else.
The only step to take is to provide access to this data. Typically, this is achieved by using standard tools, for example, Tableau or PowerBI.
The benefits are obvious:
- Besides standard analytics tools, no need for additional infrastructure.
- You can access a holistic data platform
- You access the same data with your KPI dashboard and analytics measures.
Although we actively promote real-time KPI dashboards, weekly and monthly reports still have a right to exist. Moreover, they provide substantial, additional value. What we’ve learned when working with companies is the following: A considerable portion still relies on manual or semi-automated creation of weekly and monthly performance reports.
Also, from discussions with companies, we know that the creation process is painful. So what happens in detail? First, someone collects data from different sources systems. Afterward, companies use Excel to calculate and prepare raw data. As a final step, the Powerpoint gurus come in and create and pretty report.
In simple words: Creating reports most often is a time-consuming, inefficient, and error-prone process.
Since one vital function of KPI dashboards is —unsurprisingly— in calculating KPIs, it seems reasonable to extend the usage to creating historical reports. Especially bearing in mind that all required data is already available.
With our product, the aWall, we provide a smart add-on that calculates historical KPIs (weekly, monthly, etc.). Subsequently, we offer KPIs in an easy-to-read report format on a defined regular base.
Single-Source-Of-Truth Or API To Drive Business
The final use case we want to introduce is a more complex one. But also one that holds such enormous potential. Again, the core idea behind is that the data warehouse contains data from a variety of enterprise systems.
Now, setting up new systems or extending existing ones often leads to the process of building required interfaces. Usually, building those interfaces is one of the main efforts and cost drivers. This is mainly driven by the fact that data is scattered across various systems in different formats and quality.
Of course, middleware solutions are one way to tackle this challenge. Nonetheless, an alternative we consider as super-efficient is in providing structured access to the entire data contained in the warehouse of the KPI dashboard.
We achieved this by setting up a standardized API that allows access to data in real-time. Thereby, systems that require specific data can efficiently utilize the existing API and request required data in a standardized, documented, and structured way.