top of page
  • Writer's pictureDevon Harris

Best Practices for Creating an Effective KPI Dashboard

A KPI dashboard is a visual display of the most critical metrics of a business. This type of dashboard is an essential reporting tool because it helps keep the organization data-driven, focused, and on track. In this post, you will learn about the following topics:

  • The definition and importance of a KPI dashboard

  • Planning for your KPI dashboard

  • Building a KPI dashboard using popular reporting tools

  • Tips for creating an effective KPI dashboard

Why do you need a KPI dashboard?

A KPI dashboard is a visual representation of the most crucial metrics of a business. For example, a B2B SaaS company like SalesForce may track the following metrics to measure their growth and profitability:

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

  • Lifetime value

  • Churn and retention rates

  • Leads

  • Sales qualified leads

  • Opportunities

  • Average order value

  • Net promoter score (NPS)

  • Account growth

It is essential for the company to track these metrics in a dashboard, which is often referred to as the "CEO's dashboard," "executive dashboard," "company dashboard," or "leadership dashboard." This dashboard becomes the KPI dashboard, which helps the company act quickly if any of these key performance indicators start heading in the wrong direction.

Smoothen CX consulting solutions

How to design a KPI dashboard

Designing and planning a KPI dashboard requires time and expertise. It is best to assign the task to a senior business analyst or data consultant, or if you are an early stage company without the resources, the CEO can take on the responsibility. Here are some criteria to consider when building your KPI dashboard:

Keep it focused

Try to limit the number of widgets, starting with a few essential metrics for version 1 and expanding as needed.

Build the dashboard for top decision makers

Consider the needs of the CEO, CFO, CMO, and CPO when designing the dashboard. Once these key decision makers have visibility into the most important drivers of the business, you can then provide reporting to other decision makers.

Make it easy to use with minimal filtering and selectors

Keep the KPI dashboard high-level and avoid adding extra features like slicers, filters, and selectors. The focus should be on displaying high-level metrics and changes over time.

Include targets for context

A good KPI dashboard should include targets for each KPI for the given period (usually quarterly) to provide context and keep key decision makers aligned with the goals for the quarter.

How to build a dashboard

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the best KPI dashboard software, as the right option for your business will depend on various factors such as budget, data visualization expertise, the stage of the company, and the level of data-driven focus.

If you are working with an analytics consultant or have someone on your team who is data-driven, it may be worth investing in a more sophisticated KPI dashboard. One popular option for data visualization is Tableau, which offers a multi-step process for building a KPI dashboard:

Determine the list of KPIs for the first version of the dashboard

Start with a short list of high-level KPIs and group them by department to define clear ownership for each KPI.

Conduct a data audit and understand what data can be connected to Tableau

This step will help you understand which data is available and which data is locked behind an API or can only be accessed via manual export.

Build your data sets in Tableau

Map each KPI to its relevant data source and build data sets in Tableau. You may end up with multiple data sets, which is fine as Tableau allows you to show data from multiple sources in a single dashboard.

Build visualizations for each KPI and combine in a single dashboard

Create plain numbers or bar/line graphs for each KPI, and build the dashboard in Tableau.

QA and deliver the dashboard

Test the dashboard and make any necessary changes before delivering it to the intended audience.

Remember to keep the dashboard focused, easy to use, and include targets for context to create an effective KPI dashboard.

Final Thoughts

A KPI dashboard is an essential tool for keeping your business data-driven and on track. By tracking key metrics, you can quickly identify any areas that need improvement and take action to stay on top of your business's performance. Designing and planning a KPI dashboard can be time-consuming and requires expertise, but it's worth the investment to get it right. With a focused, high-level dashboard that includes targets for context and is easy to use, your top decision-makers can stay aligned with the company's goals. At Smoothen, we offer CX solutions that can help you build and manage your KPI dashboard, ensuring that it is effective and provides the insights you need to make informed decisions. Contact us today to learn how we can help you create a powerful KPI dashboard for your business.


bottom of page