There are numerous challenges to business success, from competitors and changing technology landscapes to evolving customer and employee behaviors.
Management dashboards can be powerful business process tools, offering both the promise of improved visibility about how effectively an organization operates, and the risk of layering additional reporting activities on top of existing heavy workloads. Successful dashboards focus on just a few key performance indicators, covering important functional areas without duplicating scope.
Key performance indicators that are actionable by team members are also most effective in delivering improved performance. For example, an organization may strive for a target sales amount. However, this is a very generic performance indicator and does not reveal much that is actionable. Breaking this metric down into aligned functional goals, such as number of new leads for marketing, number of new customers for sales, and renewal rates for support, can lead to better performance and coordination across team members.
Dashboards have varying technical requirements, from distribution and security to drill-downs to lower levels. Often overlooked are requirements that can arise from the data itself. For example, many CRM systems provide the ability to manage a sales forecast, representing the most current version of all updates in the system. Accounting departments are often tasked with tracking changes to the forecast on a month-by-month basis, and that requires storing historical versions of the data to be compared. Failure to properly assess these data requirements undermines the value of a dashboard project by adding manual activities to the process, increasing cost and reducing timeliness.
Similarly, failure to properly align business processes with dashboard requirements can cause inaccuracies. In the example above, it would be impossible to capture the sales forecast accurately without coordinating with the sales team to ensure that updates to the forecast are entered by a certain date.
Tomorrow’s leaders will prove adept at navigating these challenges today – taking market share now from those who fail to use resources as profitably as possible. Management dashboards are a tool to assist an organization in reaching its full potential.
JT Hardy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.441.4600.