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How to fire up your business with KPI displays

It's reassuring to visit a company's offices where rather than TVs showing 24-hour cable news (or worse), they are displaying constantly-updated key performance indicator (KPI) metrics. There is something special about the feeling of walking into the common areas of a company and seeing large monitors prominently display their corporate KPIs. It gives me a sense that both the employees and management teams are aligned toward the goals of the company.

Do you want to unlock the business intelligence found in your company's KPIs by displaying them in your office? Here are the things every business needs to know to get KPI displays up and running quickly:

The hardware costs are cheap

Any smart TV with a web browser is capable of displaying your KPIs from your corporate intranet. Because the cost of smart TVs is so low, the hardware needed to display your company's KPIs ranges from a couple of hundred US Dollars for smaller screens (think under 32-inches in size) to around $500 for 55-inch ultra-high definition (UHD, sometimes called "2160p" or "4K") displays. The KPIs you are displaying on these monitors will look best on large UHD displays but most KPIs will look great on most flat-screen monitors and HD TVs, too.

How to fire up your business with KPI displays

So, if you do not want to spend $200-$500 on a new UHD display then you can repurpose an old LCD computer monitor or HD TV from a conference room in your office for free. The downside with going the "free" route is that these displays rarely have the embedded web browser and Internet connectivity required to show the KPIs. However, if you have a spare LCD computer monitor lying around then you are also likely to have a spare PC you can attach to it. The bottom line is that the cost of hardware is low enough that it is never a barrier of entry to display your KPIs.

Pick which type of KPIs you will show

If your company already measures KPIs, then you already know there are two basic ways of displaying these stats are as either dashboards or scorecards. The simple way to tell the difference is:

  • Dashboards tell you where you are at the moment, and in some instances, can display some historical information
  • Scorecards are strategic, as they compare where the company was and is, in correlation with the long-term goals

What KPIs you choose to display will depend on the team displaying it. For example, a customer service-related team in a call center will want to show a dashboard of how many calls have been answered, how long each call takes to resolution, and so forth. A sales team will likely want to show scorecards on their sales cycle, where opportunities are in the funnel, et cetera. However, a combination of a dashboard and scorecard ("scoreboard") may be the best for your company. There is no wrong answer and whatever KPIs your team uses to measure success are what you should configure in the software and display on your hardware.

You likely already have the software

The software required to set up your KPI dashboard will need to connect with various data sets at your company. It will also need to update the display of that data either in real time or in prescribed time periods. While this sounds like it requires complex and expensive software, the truth is that you can all of this using Microsoft Excel and the free PowerBI cloud service. PowerBI enables the simple aggregation of data you then turn into highly-visual dashboards. Excel is not the only option for data, as you can import from hundreds of different data sources from Microsoft (such as Access, Dynamics 365, and SharePoint), Oracle databases, Salesforce, and all of the top options for Big Data in the enterprise.

Tracking KPIs

For example, say you track your team's KPIs in an Excel spreadsheet for a monthly report. With PowerBI, you can import that data and then publish that data into a dashboard you can embed into a webpage on your corporate intranet. PowerBI also gives you options to customize the dashboard and publish it on a secure webpage, enabling your team to see their KPIs on mobile devices when they are outside of the office, too:

dashboard

Transparency is good

Some will read this blog and worry that exposing KPIs in a dashboard might cause teams to be envious or derisive of their coworkers. Others will worry that outsiders visiting the office who see a dashboard for only a few seconds will not have the context internal workers have and misinterpret the data "on a bad day." However, don't be ashamed of your KPI displays—no matter what they show. If you see KPIs in the red, then those are opportunities for you to be a leader to your team; coach them to do better. Conversely, when your team is doing well, everyone can see the green on the screen and shouldn't shy away from this public display of perfection.

Amaxra has designed custom business intelligence and KPI display solutions for global enterprises and innovative startups. 

Contact me at mike.arntzen@amaxra.com or call 425 749 7471 if you have any questions or comments on this blog.

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