Dashing Through the Data

Metrics are important in business today and a great deal of focus is placed on data analysis. Many organizations use dashboards – tools that track key performance indicators (KPIs) and other relevant data. Being able to measure effectiveness and efficiency in organizations is critical in today's business environment, and dashboards. Being able to measure effectiveness and efficiency in organizations is critical in today's business environment.

Metrics differ from analytics. Metrics are the hard numbers – the data that is collected. Analytics is the interpretation of that data and organizations use the analysis of data for several reasons: to evaluate performance against goals or to assess trends, for example. If your organization is using KPIs, they must be relevant to the story you want to tell, the challenge you want to address, or the problem you want to solve. Metrics that are meaningful are those from which you can glean insights for decisions. Measure what's helpful to answer a specific issue.

A good dashboard should be simple to use and easy to understand. It needs to be flexible and should integrate with the organization’s other systems, HRIS or financial systems, for example. Remember that you want to share the information on your dashboard with others, so avoid clutter and anything that's not visually appealing, such as too much color or graphics that are too ornate. Also don't display irrelevant data just for the sake of populating the dashboard. 

Manager’s Tip:  Become familiar with the tools your organization uses to measure effectiveness and efficiency. You can read more about measurements and analytics on page 29 of The Manager’s Answer Book.

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