What is a KPI Dashboard and what are its best practices?

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) shows how well a company meets key business objectives. Hence, organizations use KPIs to assess their success in meeting targets.

High-level KPIs may focus on overall business performance, whereas low-level KPIs may focus on processes across departments. Peter Drucker, the management guru, has proclaimed, “what’s measured, improves.”

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide valuable insights to an organization by allowing it to track important insights into its success. KPIs also assist businesses in determining the effectiveness of their business metrics.

What is a KPI Dashboard?

A KPI dashboard is a simple visual display of the most important information decision-makers require to help them achieve their goals.
For example, a car dashboard can tell you everything you need to know about getting to your destination on time.

It also displays your car’s fuel level and traveling speed. A performance dashboard should accomplish the same thing for your company. Dashboards for Key Performance Indicators are best viewed from an operational and strategic standpoint.

An operational dashboard allows you to monitor your company’s day-to-day processes and outputs to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Also, a good KPI dashboard provides decision-makers with quick access to the critical indicators or instruments of the business. These dashboards also assist businesses in determining whether they are on track or not.

Importance of KPIs

  • Act as a guidepost to help you and your organization achieve your objectives.
  • Bring employees together to work toward a common goal.
  • Also provide a useful mechanism for measuring performance, which directly relates to employee engagement.
  • Connect your purpose and your culture.
  • Make everyone accountable for performance.

Key Performance Indicator Best Practices


Managers and decision-makers are bombarded daily with information in a fast-paced corporate environment. As a result, a key performance indicator dashboard that consolidates all mission-critical data in one location is a handy tool. Users should be able to tell where they are and what they need to do at a glance.

1. KPIs need to be measurable

The KPIs you choose need to be quantifiable to know whether or not you have accomplished the task. For example, the number of sales achieved, market share percentage, or the number of new customers – are quantifiable measures. There are also quantifiable binary measurements such as “achieved” or “not achieved.”

2. KPIs should have variations

A combination of lagging and leading indicators is required. Lagging indicators show how you performed in the past but do not necessarily predict how you will perform. Leading indicators enable you to forecast what the future will look like. Visits to your website sales are an example of a leading indicator.

3. KPIs must be fully integrated

You should ensure that your KPIs support your overall business strategy and objectives. Each KPI must have an owner and a clear timeframe to know what to expect. Also, you won’t be able to track your company’s progress effectively unless you get buy-in from across the organization.

4. KPIs should be precise

Keep your dashboard design to a single page or screen. The entire purpose of a KPI dashboard is to provide a quick and concise overview of the business and potential red flags. Because this is a snapshot, don’t include too much detail. Include only the most critical. Consequently, insightful KPIs meet your operational and strategic goals.

5. KPIs must be easily navigable

Make the KPI dashboard template simple to look at, navigate, and comprehend. Don’t cram as much information as you can onto one page, and arrange the data aesthetically and logically. Concentrate on information delivery and comprehension. Also, avoid too much design, and don’t add meaningless variety to make the executive dashboard look more exciting.

Process for creating a KPI dashboard


Step 1 – Define key performance indicators

Defining KPIs is the process of matching business objectives to internal processes. You must begin conversations with stakeholders, executives, managers, and employees from all areas of your business to describe your KPIs.

The first step in gaining support for a KPI dashboard is to solicit feedback. People will also tell you what’s important to them, making designing a dashboard easier for you.

Step 2 – Consult with stakeholders

A KPI dashboard is another communication medium, like email or a slide presentation, so it is essential to tune with your audience. Take the time to understand who you’re building the dashboard for.

Thus you’ll soon understand why you’re building a dashboard in the first place. Take your time with this one. Every minute spent consulting with stakeholders saves you time designing and improving the end product’s adoption.

Step 3 – Sketch dashboard’s design

Designing an effective dashboard is challenging. Also, choosing the most effective visualization for a KPI isn’t always obvious. Therefore, your data visualization should, in general, be simple enough.

A new employee could easily understand the message you’re trying to convey. It isn’t easy. However, by starting with something that can be thrown away, you save your ego and time when designing the dashboard.

Step 4 – Select KPI dashboard software

Dashboards within software solutions can serve an important role. Furthermore, you may outgrow these solutions before long. Dashboards are also intended to disseminate data throughout an organization.

Consider these things when selecting KPI dashboard software:

  • ‌Price
  • Deployment time
  • Connectivity to data services
  • Dashboard services that are self-service vs. managed
  • Multiple channels for dashboard publishing
  • Client administration

Step 5 – Gather key data points

Gathering your data will most likely necessitate using multiple services and collaborating with your operations team to create some SQL queries. Each KPI you monitor will have at least one data point from a single system.

Make a spreadsheet to map out the data picture behind your most important KPIs. Here, you’ll need to spend some time building your data sources. 

Step 6 – Create data visualizations

It is only the start when it comes to creating a KPI dashboard. All of your hard work on your dashboard is hidden beneath the surface. However, it contributes to the result: a lovely dashboard. Dashboards that follow the mantra of simplicity are the most effective.

If you have to choose between a scatter plot and a bar chart, go with the bar chart. A dashboard should be informative and monitor and track key performance indicators (KPIs). Carefully consider the alignment and structure of visualizations.

Step 7 – Schedule a feedback session

The success of your dashboard is dependent on your ability to promote its adoption. Dashboards that become a daily habit have a much better chance of success. Aim for daily views and design with that in mind.

You may be feeling overwhelmed by feedback and ideas at this point. After all, how long have you been working on this dashboard? Take everything in stride. If people are enthusiastic about what you’ve created, you’re on the right track even if they request changes.

Step 8 – Deploy the KPI dashboard

indicators that drive your company. It’s also a natural conversation starter, which encourages dashboard adoption. Of course, most KPI dashboard software providers provide various distribution options.

Consider the following alternatives:

  • Capabilities for email reporting and snapshots
  • Links to the dashboard, published for mass distribution
  • Integration with chat tools such as Slack
  • Providing direct access to the dashboard

Using KPI dashboard software


Many KPI solutions are available these days, prepared by leading vendors such as Dundas, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Qlik, and Tableau. The software can be a great performance management enabler, making reporting key performance indicator data easier through automated dashboards. 

However, the keyword here is the enabler. Software is not a blanket solution – you need to work out exactly what you want the software to tell you. You still need to do all the front-end work to get the best out of any software tool.

It requires designing and developing the right KPIs and working out the information you need to improve performance. The software can bring key performance indicators through assertive communication and collaboration dashboard features.

Visually rich, color-coded, intuitive KPI dashboards can be created in minutes so that users can understand information at a glance. Also, you can update that information with a click of a button.  In addition, most of the tools available are web-based, which means you can access the data via an internet browser.

Hence, you can access the information anywhere, in real time. Therefore, the software can make ongoing data crunching, reporting, and communication much more effortless. Whatever option you choose for your key performance indicator dashboard, the key is to focus on displaying the core KPIs.

Business leaders and decision-makers don’t have time to wade through heaps of KPIs to ferret out the critical ones. By keeping your KPI dashboard focused, you’ll be well to better decision-making.

Industry-Specific KPI Dashboards


Running a business can necessitate the continuous measurement and management of various metrics and data. Understanding that data can help you improve the functions of your business and achieve its goals and objectives.

Key performance indicator (KPI) dashboards are an excellent way to measure and analyze data. These dashboards let you organize the information you want to see and create a more efficient workflow.

eCommerce KPI Dashboard

In eCommerce, a dashboard is a collection of key performance indicators (KPIs) that allow business owners and managers to monitor the progress of their online stores. They can make informed decisions about what changes need to be made to improve their business by accessing this data.

Hospitality KPI Dashboard

You must track large amounts of data daily in the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry is confronted with an abundance of data. Identifying KPIs and utilizing dashboard software can result in new insights. Hospitality dashboards are helping to improve operations by providing better customer experiences.

Insurance KPI Dashboard

An insurance KPI dashboard measures the performance and efficiency of insurance agents. These KPIs include contract rate, bind rate, retention rate, sales source, etc. They help you identify areas of success and improvement, which means you can make educated decisions.

Manufacturing KPI Dashboard

A manufacturing dashboard helps monitor the most important production KPIs in one central access point. It enables manufacturers to track and optimize production by improving the manufacturing process. Using this dashboard, it is easy to see inefficiencies in production. You can also consider Marketing KPIs.


After setting up KPIs and deciding what you will measure, it is essential to set up a structure. It is also required for each to be tracked and monitored regularly, ideally through a KPI Dashboard.

It provides information that enables you to resolve issues before they become problems and negatively impact performance. For example, the call center KPI dashboard displays the number of calls and average wait time on hold. So, you need to identify your problem areas. 

On the other hand, your strategic dashboard looks ahead to identify potential obstacles and challenges. These dashboards help achieve your strategic goals, such as profit projections, market share growth, etc.

Thinklytics is your one-stop solution for creating the best and the most interactive Key Performance Indicator dashboards. Whatever your need is, we provide the complete solution right away, from creating to maintaining your dashboard. For any assistance, connect with our experts and get started.  

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