Publish date November 3, 2017
As executives are busy attempting to steer the business towards growth or creating brand differentiation, easy access to quality information summarizing the business is of paramount importance. The focus on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at every level would ensure effective control and enable them to take timely actions.
The key metrics relevant to the CEO will have to be instantly accessible and having these close at hand can help maintain focus on the goals set for their business.
Summarized Data vs. Actionable Insights
Many times, CEOs want a simple, birds eye view or a snapshot of the state of their business. This is understandable since they are typically reviewing the performance of the organization as a whole. However, static dashboards are summarized snapshots of information and although they can answer a few questions, they do not give CEOs the ability to explore the data to get any actionable insights. This means they will need to act knowing about only a portion of the data and their judgement, which can be error prone and costly for their business.
Dashboards need to be interactive tools allowing the CEOs to quickly engage with the data, ask questions, perform scenario modeling and determine the best course of future action. Excellent visualizations are powerful tools to display complicated information in an easily understandable format that can help CEOs get insights and spot trends quickly. A well implemented dashboard becomes a powerful weapon in the CEOs armory to move towards data-driven decision making.
Indispensable CEO Dashboard Features
A well-designed dashboard can be an effective business tool by giving the executives a quick overview of the business and assist them in the decision making process. Dashboard as an effective decision making tool will assist executives in striking a balance between short-term objectives and medium, long-term vision. The following features are highly essential in an effective dashboard:
Access to Multiple Data Sources
A CEO dashboard should be able to access data from multiple sources besides the company’s databases and integrate with third party solutions, department applications, and social media platforms to offer a well-rounded view of the organization’s progress from multiple perspectives.
As CEOs access more data, analyzing it becomes more complicated. Data blending functions allow CEOs to easily correlate information from multiple data sources like ERP systems, IoT sensors and information from web sources to give a holistic overview of business rather than summarized snapshots of different parts. This improves the evidence-based decision-making process through informed reporting.
Free Data Exploration
CEO dashboards need to contain features and elements that make data easily digestible and allow free exploration through self service capabilities. Only through engagement and interaction with the data will a CEO be able to experiment and extract actionable business insights.
Drill-down features eliminate the hassle of static reports and relying on IT by allowing users to ask questions and seek their own answers instantly, rather than waiting for a report by allowing the users to access the granular information. It allows CEOs to click and manipulate the dimensions to get a more granular view of the data
Prediction and Simulation
The executive Dashboard performs modelling that can be used to see future forecasts, risks, and opportunities that are otherwise unavailable while using a BI application. This can then be used to simulate various scenarios and perform what-if analysis to analyze the impact of the influencing parameters.
Current solutions and limitations
Data has become a critical resource for organizations to improve their bottom line and figure out what opportunities to focus on next. However, many still struggle with extracting valuable insight from data and acting on it. In fact, Forrester reported that although 74% of enterprises say they strive to be data driven, only 29% say their organizations are good at turning data insights into actionable business outcomes.
The current dashboards provide information on the current state of the business and descriptive analysis through aggregations and comparative analysis between the past and present. They fall short of providing a peep into the future, and the interplay of the key influencing factors on the business. Without prediction and simulation capabilities, executives find the current dashboards inadequate as effective decision support systems.
Our CEO dashboard design provides a logical structure going beyond information presentation to include predictions and recommendations so users can progress from ‘what happened?’ to ‘what can happen?’, and on to ‘what actions can be taken?’
Our CEO dashboard provides a concise and accurate view of all the business areas presented clearly to understand the performance of the business. We fix an important KPI like NPM, Sales Revenue, no. of customers, no. of new customers, etc., that is extremely relevant to the business and take it as a dependent variable to identify the impact on this KPI by the other KPIs. Predictive modelling enables the user to see business forecasts, risks, opportunities, anomalies; and insights are made evident to direct the executive towards actions. Simulation enables the user to perform scenario modelling by adjusting various input parameters and see the effect on the overall outcome; thus, making the CEO dashboard an indispensable asset for decision making.
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Vijaya Kumar Pisupati is Vice President Data Science and Analytics at YASH Technologies
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