decision maker looking at a modern KPI dashboard on a laptop

Professional KPI Dashboards What is a KPI dashboard and why you need one?

See the best KPI dashboard examples & templates

Key performance indicators have always been the most critical part of a company. Without KPIs, a company roams blindly into uncontrollable performance management issues and risks losing its business.

But utilizing KPIs is not the only thing an organization should focus on. Choosing the right KPI and connecting it to others to create a proper data-story is one of the crucial elements that will enable managers and team members to stay on track for reaching and outperforming company’s goals and objectives.

Imagine having all-important KPIs on a single screen, where everyone can interconnect various findings and react to any given issue in seconds with the help of a professional dashboard software. That’s where the power of KPI dashboards lies and provides the most valuable weapon against decreased productivity and increased operational or strategic costs.

But what is the definition of these dashboards, and what kind of benefits they deliver to an organization?

In this post, we will explain those very notions and provide best KPI dashboard examples that you can use for your own company or organization.

1) What Is A KPI Dashboard?

A KPI dashboard (or key performance indicators dashboard) is a management tool used by managers, VPs and everyone in the company who needs to have a birds-eye view of the business’ performance, whether on an operational or strategic level and make better decisions.

Procurement KPI Dashboard

Typically, businesses utilize high-level and low-level KPIs that are specifically designed to track, report and visualize wide organizational goals, and daily departmental targets. Therefore, KPIs for tracking a team’s performance will be different than KPIs tracking quarter goals established on a C-level management meeting. That’s why a business KPI dashboard comes in several forms and includes various variables depending on specific business scenarios.

2) What Are The Benefits Of KPI Dashboards?

These dashboards help businesses in providing context, focusing on the bigger picture, and ensuring smooth operational processes. But there is more:

They provide real-time, interactive data: A key performance indicators dashboard doesn’t contain obsolete data, but each KPI is updated in real-time, without the need to export a file and search for endless information. Live dashboards not only provide instant insights, but the interactivity of the elements will enable you to dig as much as you need, with each KPI investigated with numerous filters and options to get the best possible view of your business.

A modern business KPI dashboard simplifies processes: Traditional forms of monitoring, analyzing and generating insights by using spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations belong to the past. With intelligent technologies such as data alerts based on artificial intelligence or predictive analytics features such as forecasts or value comparisons, each dashboard can be explored in deep details and predict your business future. The technological advancements such as machine learning and neural networks completely eliminate the usage of static reporting, and empower users to look into past, current, and future data with a single screen view.

Communication between departments evolves and improves: These dashboards ensure that departments don’t have to work in isolated departmental silos, but the integration of functional lines throughout the business will ensure a well-aligned organization, where partnership and sharing are becoming the focus of data management and various digital dashboards become the backbone for making valuable decisions. They can give employees the freedom to make a better judgment, according to strategic KPIs that have been established by C-level management.

All metrics are accessible in one place: As mentioned, these kinds of dashboards provide a single-screen view and enable faster sharing processes. Whether with automated e-mails, viewer area, link sharing or exporting in a .pdf file, a dashboard will provide you with instant access to data which you can share with your colleagues or other departments. You don’t need to wait for weeks to generate a report, but you can obtain it directly within the dashboard, with all the important KPIs in a single place.

Now that you know exactly the definition of these dashboards, and why it’s important to incorporate one (or several), we will take a closer look at best practices for setting up a KPI dashboard.

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3) Setting up a KPI dashboard – best practices

There are some golden rules when it comes to building the best KPI dashboard, and here are the most valuable ones to help you on the way:

Outline your audience: You need to know who will work with the KPIs and what kind of information will they need. Do you need to present your dashboard to C-level management or other employees? Are you creating a dashboard for daily operational tasks or you need to showcase the strategic performance of long-term goals? Before you start building and compiling the metrics on your dashboard, you will need to define the audience and consult them to see what the best viable way is to present your information. This leads us to point number two.

Choose your KPIs carefully: When you defined your audience and made sure you know if you need to present high-level or low-level KPIs, it is time to choose the metrics you want to present. The purpose of a KPI dashboard is, of course, to enable you to make better business decisions and by choosing the right KPIs, you increase your productivity and facilitate a cost-effective working environment. Whether they’re aligned to specific short-term objectives or more long-term goals, the key factor is not to measure everything and overburden your audience with information that doesn’t generate additional value. Start with a few KPIs, and grow organically.

Draft your design to create a natural data-stream: A KPI dashboard design should be straightforward, cohesive with an interconnected stream of data that make a logical business story. Before you start, you can create a draft and define the chart type you might want to use, depending on the relationship, composition, distribution or comparison of data. if you want to analyze trends, for example, then you might want to consider line charts, column or area charts. For the composition of data, the most effective results will be created with waterfall, stacked charts or maps. This will enable you to flow your information based on the right data visualization types that you can use for your KPI dashboard design.

Create your KPI dashboard template: When your draft is finished, it is time to build those powerful visualizations and create your dashboard. Here it makes sense to opt for simple colors, based on your brand (and no more than 2-3). The layout of your dashboard should respect the previous points mentioned for creating a logical dataflow while keeping in mind the audience all the time. It would make sense to ask for feedback so that you’re sure that your dashboard presents the right information. After all, the goal is that everyone gets additional insights from the dashboard, which will enable you and your audience to make high-quality business decisions.

These are some basic tips and best practices on how to create a KPI dashboard that will ensure results, and now you can take a closer look at the best examples used by businesses across the world.

4) Explore 10 real world KPI Dashboard Examples

We will focus on industry and functional examples and KPI dashboard templates that can be implemented in your company right away and provide you with a roadmap for obtaining sustainable business growth. Hence, let us start with executive management.

1. Management KPI dashboard

Management needs to have a clear picture of the entire organization and proper visibility of the processes and development (or issues) that arise out of certain business situations. That’s why utilizing a dashboard will ensure each manager stays focused on what’s most important: the relevant KPIs.

Management KPI Dashboard

The sample KPI dashboard above provides an all-encompassing view of the most critical strategic KPIs that each CEO needs to keep a close eye on. The revenue is depicted as the actual, target and compared to the previous year. This gives the manager an immediate overview of how the revenue has developed over time and the percentage of the achieved target.

This dashboard performance indicators example focuses also on customers, as they are usually the most critical aspect of any business. The number of customers acquired, the target, and compared to the previous year give an at-a-glance overview of these important numbers. You can see that the exclamation and checkmarks signal if the targets are met or not, therefore, you can look into more details on what happened. Following the total and the customers’ revenue, the dashboard goes into more detail on the average revenue per customer, also depicted as the actual, target, and compared to the previous year, following by the customer acquisition cost (CAC). This way an executive can look into the strategic performance of a company and adjust if any KPI doesn’t meet its target. For more information and detailed analysis of these KPIs, you can see the management dashboard example page.

2. Financial KPI dashboard

Finance is the beating heart of any business, and there is more pressure than ever on managers and employees to keep this beating heart healthy and stable. That’s why a financial dashboard comprising of crucial KPIs such as the working capital, cash conversion cycle or vendor payment error rate will provide insights on the company’s financial state – liquidity, invoicing processes, and budgeting, among others.

Financial KPI Dashboard

Let’s say you work in a finance department and you need to make sure the company is liquid, the invoices are paid, and the cash conversion cycle steadily declines over time. With financial KPIs illustrated in the example above, you immediately spot if any of these metrics cause concern or management is on the right path to success. You can even create a comprehensive finance report that will be automatically shared on specified time intervals with all the KPIs you need.

This is one of the KPI dashboard templates that use metrics that provide you with a data-story, visually depicted on a single screen where you can interact and dig deeper into the data that interests you. Additionally, metrics are updated automatically so you don’t need to export numerous spreadsheets to generate valuable insights.

3. Salesforce KPI dashboard

This dashboard puts a spotlight on the effective management of sales processes in a company. With Salesforce being the industry leader in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms, the KPIs depicted in the example below will ensure smooth optimization of sales mechanisms and facilitate better planning.

Salesforce KPI Dashboard

This is one of the most prominent Salesforce dashboard examples of our library as it focuses on central metrics for evaluating sales performance. You can precisely evaluate your sales cycle steps, the average lead response time of sales reps, activity by type, contract value, and top deals, among others and generate an extensive sales report. This will enable you to paint a big picture of how your sales department works toward closing deals and, ultimately, generating revenue.

This sales cycle representation serves as a detailed depiction of the entire sales’ performance, and each sales rep and manager should pay close attention to these metrics. A Salesforce KPI can’t stand alone, and with the possibility to interact with each part of this dashboard, everyone in the sales department can celebrate their strengths and work on weaknesses.

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4. Marketing KPI dashboard

The most important marketing KPIs pinpoint the core of any serious business: costs and generating revenue. You can see in the example below how these metrics give you a single screen overview which you can additionally explore on a more detailed level.

Marketing KPI Dashboard

The marketing department usually tracks various metrics, but these are specifically selected to give you an outline of revenue and costs related to the promotional activities. You can see the total revenue, per acquisition, the number of leads, how much budget is spent, how much profit is generated, and return on investment, among others. These number-driven KPIs are designed to provide an instant view of the most important parts of a successful marketing influence on a company but also serve as a roadmap to create a thorough marketing report.

A comprehensive marketing dashboard will give you these statistical answers which you can present to your CEO or investors and prove the profitability of conducted marketing activities. If you want to dig to the operational level, then it makes sense to further explore each channel, what exactly they bring to the bottom line, and optimize them accordingly.

5. Zendesk KPI dashboard

Customer support is crucial when it comes to providing the best possible customer experience and meet their requirements in the best viable way. The dashboard KPI examples displayed below show us an example of a customer support department that uses Zendesk as their primary tool to optimize their processes.

Zendesk KPI Dashboard

These KPIs are set to yield a long-term, strategic view of the support department and identify trends that will increase the customer satisfaction score. The ticket status, created and solved, time to resolve, and tickets by channel and by type all represent metrics important in a customer support department. It enables the manager to allocate resources more effectively across the team, and look into more detail by filtering a specific KPI on this Zendesk dashboard.

If you see any deficiencies in the customer support procedures such as lower satisfaction score, you can interconnect this KPI with others to identify the exact issues that caused this metric to drop. Of course, this also depends on the industry you work in, so it makes sense to adjust this dashboard according to your business.

6. Procurement KPI dashboard

The procurement department is found in most companies and represents the link between an organization and its suppliers and/or contractors. It is important to monitor the supplier statistics to be able to set the partnership status and award certain partners (if they work on establishing a good relationship). The procurement dashboard below shows that visually and straightforwardly.

Procurement KPI Dashboard

The compliance rate procurement KPI will tell you which of your supplier category performs with the best possible rate, and you can immediately see which company is your top contractor so you don’t have to search for it in a spreadsheet or create a static presentation to show your findings.

These metrics will tell you a lot about the health of your relationships with suppliers and give your top management a safety net in decision-making processes and ensure that you have the best possible information on your top suppliers and the average procurement cycle time which will help you in identifying if any part of the cycle would need more attention.

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7. Warehouse KPI dashboard

Warehouse management is one of the most complex parts of the logistics industry and managers need to be extra careful in ensuring impeccable efficiency. Choosing the right KPIs is of utmost importance, and the warehouse dashboard below can provide a thorough roadmap.

Warehouse KPI Dashboard

The distribution of operating costs and total shipments by country will tell you information on where your expenses are mostly generated from and how you can prepare yourself better when rush hours in a specific country occur, for example. Another logistics KPI, the perfect order rate, needs to be high as possible so that customers are satisfied and your supply chain efficient.

If you add the on-time shipments KPI, you have a detail warehouse management story that focuses on better warehouse efficiency and enables managers to reduce costs, and increase productivity. By looking at these metrics individually, it would be hard to create a sustainable warehouse operation, but uniting them in a comprehensive dashboard, a warehouse manager has better chances to react on any issues promptly and effectively.

8. Retail KPI dashboard

Retailers need to have an extensive overview of retail KPIs such as the customer retention, back order rate, total volume of sales, the number of new and returning customers, as well as the rate of return. For example, you manage an online retail store, and need to consider numerous KPIs that will enable sustainable business growth – high customer satisfaction, and a healthy supply chain. A retail dashboard containing mentioned important KPIs can be a perfect solution.

Retail KPI Dashboard

This visual dashboard performance indicators example contains a clear picture of how you manage your online retail store. The KPIs depicted can be interactively explored with interactive dashboard features such as click-to-filter, drill-downs, and chart zoom, among many others. This will enable you to drill into bits and pieces of your processes, identify which categories have the highest rate of return, and take a closer look at your customer retention to be able to increase loyalty and reward customers that continuously return.

As a retailer, you probably work in a highly competitive field and need the best possible retention rate since it will ensure a more cost-effective solution than acquiring new customers.

9. Hospital KPI dashboard

Health is one of the most important parts of our lives, but successfully managing a hospital is one of the toughest jobs out there. A healthcare dashboard depicting the most important KPIs will help each manager to identify issues in real-time, ensuring the best possible patients’ care, as seen in the example below.

Hospital KPI Dashboard

These key performance indicators safeguard the hospital’s efficiency and provide a detailed overview needed to reduce patients’ waiting time, costs, and allocate the available staff more efficiently. Tracking metrics on a regular basis will ensure the hospital manager has a better sense of which department needs more attention, are there any financial bottlenecks, and get a more detailed overview of patients’ overall statistics. If the costs are cut, the service can be affected as well, so any decisions should be made with extra care.

10. FMCG KPI dashboard

The fast-moving-consumer goods industry requires special attention in ensuring the best possible supply chain. Being fast means operational processes must be monitored in shorter time frames, but a long-term overview is also helpful to get a better focus on the bigger picture. This example below shows exactly how.

FMCG KPI Dashboard

You can see a quick overview of the most important FMCG KPIs which are displayed for a specific year, but each is then detailed with shorter time frames and current situations. It is important to track the on-time-in-full (OTIF) as this KPI shows whether your products are delivered on time, as agreed, with the exact quantity and correct place of delivery.

The purpose of a KPI dashboard in the FMCG industry is simple: implementing the mentioned metric alongside with other critical metrics such as inventory turnover or out of stock rate on a single dashboard to increase the productivity of the department. Less time will be spent on searching through spreadsheets and intelligent alarms will notify the managers as soon as an anomaly in the supply chain occurs.

What you have learned & next steps to take

We have defined what is a KPI dashboard, provided tips, and tricks on how to create a KPI dashboard, and presented the best examples from various functions, industries, and platforms which you can implement in your own company and create sustainable business solutions that will increase your company’s performance in short and long-term. By using an intuitive KPI software like datapine, each metric can be easily joined into a successful data-story and give you the possibility to explore numerous features for your own KPI creation.

If you want to experience all the business-boosting benefits that these dashboards have on offer, create your own KPI story, and familiarize yourself with each example we have discussed, professional software like datapine might be the solution you were looking for! You can even take advantage of our built-in templates that will save you time in the designing process, and explore the revolutionary capabilities of our dashboard solutions for a 14-day trial, completely free!