Once used only by data professionals or for office eye candy, dashboards have become a must-have for business leaders around the world. With the rise of data-driven management, executives are finding significant value in their dashboards, extending far beyond the easy-to-digest visualizations. With interactive capabilities, executives have the flexibility to ask questions of their data dashboards, using natural language queries or zooming in from a bird’s-eye view of the organization to granular-level detail.
This allows executives to truly understand what’s happening in their companies and the world of external stakeholders surrounding their businesses.
With an executive dashboard, leaders can access all the relevant business data in one place and in real time. When compiled, configured and managed optimally, these business intelligence dashboards automatically import data from every department and platform in and outside the company. They override manual reporting bottlenecks and save time and effort, so that executives can make better, data-driven decisions about the short and long-term future.
The pivotal word in the above sentence is “correctly.” The current enthusiasm for analytics dashboards can lead many executives to rush blindly after the latest tending shiny object. Like every business or analytics tool, the usefulness of an executive dashboard depends on the careful choice of metrics and KPIs that it displays.
It’s usually a bad idea to create a single analytics dashboard that serves the purposes of every executive in the c-suite. You’ll end up with a dashboard that’s so overloaded with metrics and visualizations that it will be practically useless. Instead, it’s best to think about the metrics that each executive needs in a dashboard in order to keep track of his or her area of responsibility.
CFO Dashboards: Watching the Money
Call what you like – a CFO dashboard, a profit analysis dashboard, or a finance dashboard – but the purpose is the same: to display the metrics that reveal the profitability and cash flow health of the business for understanding at a single glance.
Key metrics for a CFO dashboard include KPIs like sales revenue growth, working capital, net income, and profit and loss. Your CFO will want to be able to drill down into the budget and profitability of each department, view employee and equipment utilization and expense and procurement data, but also to track larger patterns like market trends, short term assets, and overall fiscal performance.
Finally, your finance dashboard needs to display progress towards financial targets at a glance, so that your CFO can make the informed short- and long-term financial decisions that you rely on.
CIO Dashboards: Tracking Information Security
With a rise in phishing and hacking attacks and the growing pressure of complying with an increasing list of data privacy regulations, CIO dashboards are vital for your IT and cybersecurity officers to track events, endpoint activity and spot and respond to incidents swiftly.
CIO dashboards should display security levels and recent incidents, but also share the metrics CIOs need to manage technology lifecycle costs. This includes monitoring usage rates for systems and applications, development costs and resource bandwidth.
CIO dashboards serve the dual purpose of reflecting the company’s security profile and enabling your CIO to manage the budget and available tools and team members more efficiently.
CMO Dashboards: Insights into the Buyer’s Journey
Depending on how you set up your company, you might need separate dashboards for marketing and sales data, plus an extra one for customer engagement, or combine all customer-facing data into a single dashboard.
Either way, your CMO/VP sales will benefit immensely from metrics such as new vs. recurring business, customer churn rate, revenue by region, conversion rates, lead nurture times and engagement across touchpoints.
Your CMO dashboards help executives to measure marketing ROI, track changes in markets and customer behavior, and spot weaknesses and opportunities in your marketing strategy.
COO Dashboards: Watching Progress
The nature of your operations dashboards will vary depending on your core business proposition, but they are always invaluable for COOs in busy organizations.
Your operations dashboard can check if your production process and ops teams are on schedule, monitor supply chain metrics, and keep track of logistics. It should also incorporate financial data about forecasted and actual sales and monthly revenue to help your COO set and meet targets.
COO dashboards should be the first place to flag problems in your product development and delivery processes, whether you’re creeping over budget, or if your team members have lost sight of their objectives. COO dashboards are often shared with team members to help everyone stay informed about targets and emerging trends.
HR Dashboards: Knowing Your People
No matter how large or small your organization is, it primarily runs on people. HR dashboards help make sure that your HR officers can keep their finger on the pulse of the company. It should track employee engagement metrics, employee turnover rates, the number of empty and filled positions, and more, so that your HR personnel can access all the relevant data at a single glance.
With an efficient HR dashboard, you’ll be able to stay on top of trends like diversity and internal mobility, refine hiring and firing processes, and check takeup of professional and personal development programs.
HR officers can better ensure that all your employee programs remain within budget, implement better benefits and wellness policies, and improve the appeal of your company among top talent.
CEO Dashboards: Finger on the Pulse
Finally, CEO dashboards are vital for helping busy CEOs retain oversight of the company as a whole, allowing them to simultaneously grasp a bird’s-eye view of the company’s progress and setbacks in an instant – and to drill down to look at specific teams, targets, and metrics on a granular level.
A CEO dashboard needs to show real time insights drawn from all your other executive dashboards so that you can make more efficient decisions based on the true circumstances of your business.
A well-constructed CEO dashboard can essentially replace a number of in-person meetings and briefings about the latest changes in each department, saving time and money for all your executives.
Dashboards for Executive Success
Well-designed executive dashboards that draw on the right metrics and data are integral to running an efficient organization today. Planning a user-friendly, informative dashboard helps your officers to know about every change and trend within their department, retain an overall understanding of their successes and challenges, and ensures that your leadership team makes decisions that are data-driven and best for your company’s future.