Mapping Dashboards to Objectives

Overview

Expert Dashboard ConsultantsDashboard solutions allow an organization to visualize and monitor their data in a meaningful manner, while enabling them to make better operational and strategic decisions.

In order to build a functional dashboard, we need to answer the following key questions:

What are the business objectives that the organization needs to achieve?
What is the gap between where we are now and what we are trying to achieve?
What are the key success factors that will help us achieve our objectives?
What are the current issues that are preventing us from achieving our objectives?
What are the key performance indicators that will enable us to monitor if our key success factors have been met?
What are the key performance indicators that will enable us to be proactive to mitigate any risks in achieving our objectives?
Who are the stakeholders that will help us define our key performance indicators?

The To-Be, the As-Is, and the Gap

A dashboard solution is the means to achieving the organization’s objectives. Therefore, before building the dashboard we need list the objectives that the organization needs to achieve.

A dashboard solution is the means to achieving the organization’s objectives. Therefore, before building the dashboard we need list the objectives that the organization needs to achieve.

Objectives need to be specific, understood by the whole organization bounded by time, and measurable.

Once the objectives have been set, we need to define how far we are from achieving them. To do so, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:

Have we met our objectives?
If not, then why? List the problems that are currently preventing us from getting there.
For each identified problem what can we do to solve it?
For each identified solution what do we need to do to implement it?
For each implementation, how do we know that it is working properly?

When we answer these questions we can know where we are and what we need to do get to our “To-Be” situation.

How to Get There

Now that we know what we want to achieve, how far are we from achieving it, and the solutions that needs to be implemented to get us there; we need to list the measures that have to be monitored in order to know that our solutions are working correctly.

The key performance indicators (KPIs) are the set of measures that focus on the critical areas that we have to monitor in order to make sure that we are on the right track.

An effective key performance indicator should incorporate the following:

The numeric value(s) that we are monitoring
The dimensions that we are monitoring these values against (e.g. are we monitoring these values over a 12 month period, by department, by region, etc.)
The filters that we’re using to slice the data (e.g. are we filtering these values by date range, by employee, etc.)
The targets/benchmarks that we are using to compare these values against (e.g. this year versus last year)
The states that we need to know if the values are good or bad (e.g. the values between 0 and 100 are bad, 100 and 200 are ok and above 200 are good)

Validation

Once we have the KPI list defined, we need to make sure that these KPIs will actually contribute to achieving our objectives. So for each KPI defined we need to ask the following questions:

Is the KPI understood by all the stakeholders?
Is the corrective action known when the KPI reflects negative values?
Can the KPI be traced back to the success factors and identified solutions for the organization?
Is the KPI linked to certain departments so that we know who is responsible when any issues are identified?

About the Author

Written by:

Ali is a senior business analyst offering over 10 years of business success on national and international levels, delivering large scale business process and technology solutions in the telecommunications, IT, and professional services industries. Ali graduated from Durham University in the United Kingdom with a Master of Science in Internet Systems and e-Business. He has a track record of proven success in business process analysis and reengineering (BPR), business case analysis, quality assurance (QA) and systems implementation.

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