Using a Business Intelligence Dashboard to Measure Your Team's Productivity

How to use a Business Intelligence Dashboard to Measure Your Team's Productivity

Operating a successful business requires that your team maintains a certain level of productivity. If their productivity drops off, your business will become less efficient, which, in turn, can not only hurt your bottom line but also damage your company's potential future profits and partnerships. Fortunately, you can measure your team's productivity by using a business intelligence dashboard.

What is a Business Intelligence Dashboard?

A business intelligence dashboard is a visual display that provides an overview of all of your business intelligence software metrics that you're tracking. Business intelligence software allows you to measure KPIs (key performance indicators), identify strengths, identify weaknesses, identify opportunities, identify threats, obtain an overview of your company's health, and generate insights to make real-time decisions -- all using the data that your company has access to within its system.

Your business’s intelligence dashboard basically arranges numbers, metrics, and performance scorecards onto a single screen so that it's easy for you to get an overview of the most important data you have access to. Business intelligence dashboards are highly customizable as well, which means you can choose what metrics to have displayed.Real-time data can even be displayed from multiple sources. What makes your business intelligence dashboard so useful is that the metrics and numbers it displays can be used to help you measure the productivity of your team.

Benefits of Business Dashboards

Business dashboards provide a wealth of benefits to companies that know how to use them. The following are just a few of the reasons why you should be using business dashboards:

Provides Visibility

Your business intelligence dashboard can display valuable metrics in real time that can give you an accurate overview of your company's health as well as an idea of how successfully different operations within your business are running. Before the use of dashboards, companies would have to wait for monthly or weekly reports for such data.

Using your dashboard, you could choose to display the metrics of an ongoing email campaign. These metrics could include the open rate and conversion rate of your most recent email, which, in turn, give you an idea of how your email campaign is performing.

Adds Accountability

Improved visibility directly affects accountability within the company because employee performance can be monitored on demand if the dashboard is set up properly. Project managers and upper-level management will be able to review the actions and accomplishments of each individual employee at a glance and at one time.

If an employee isn't fulfilling their responsibilities, the numbers will show it. Since dashboards can be shared throughout the company, this will make employees more accountable for their work -- especially if by skirting their responsibilities, they could be dragging down the performance of others as well.

Improves Risk Identification

The use of dashboards will help to improve your company's risk identification abilities greatly, whether it's operational risk, strategic risk, IT risk, or financial risk. The ability to gather important metrics that provide an overview of your company's health onto one screen makes it easy to identify problem areas in your processes that can be addressed right away, thereby minimizing risk within the company.

The use of a business intelligence dashboard can help you remain compliant with federal and local regulation, since it will allow you to secure access, supervise transactions, set alerts and thresholds, and monitor date and time stamps. In fact, you can set up dashboards that are specifically for risk management, whether they display profit and loss account or a customized compliance monitor.

Because you can check for risk factors on demand, it means that you can catch issues in time for them to be addressed quickly, whereas before you wouldn't be able to take action until you went over your weekly or monthly reports.

Increased Time Savings

The ability to view valuable data on demand through your dashboard saves a significant amount of time since you won't have to task any of your employees with creating reports using time-consuming spreadsheet programs. Instead, a report can be created once and run through the dashboard. Once it's been implemented into your dashboard, it can be programmed to update automatically using your company's available data at regular intervals.

Effortless KPI

Your KPI (key performance indicators) are the metrics that are most important to your business. Essentially, they are what identify the goals your business is trying to achieve and help measure whether or not you're reaching those goals. KPI dashboards bring all of your KPIs into a single place so that you can compare different measurements side by side. This is important because most KPIs do not operate in isolation and, in fact, influence each other and often overlap. This means you can see what goals are being met and if they are being met at the expense of others, which in turn allows you to adjust goals and policies as needed.

Increased Team Speed and Output

Many dashboards are shareable within your company, so your project teams can have access to the same operational or analytical dashboards to monitor progress towards a target. This allows your team to see their progress and what they need to work towards while keeping them all on the same page. When you improve your alignment in such a way, it will allow your teams to work faster and reach their targets quicker.

How Can You Use BI Dashboards to Measure Productivity?

Not only do business dashboards give you a better idea of the health of your business, but they can help measure the productivity of your team and allow you to make changes that will increase efficiency. The following are five ways to measure your company's productivity using your business intelligence dashboards: 

1. Identify Key Performance Indicators

Your KPIs allow you to analyze and track the performance of your employees and departments. Essentially, you can determine how productive different teams are and make strategic decisions and adjustments based on these metrics to help improve productivity.

Your business has vast amounts of data available at its fingertips, so identifying what metrics will be useful in pinpointing exactly how productive your company is at any given time is most important. The following are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting the KPIs to display through your dashboard:

How to Select the Right KPI's For Your Business

There are many, many different KPIs that you can choose for your dashboard. You'll want to choose the few important KPIs that will actually help you measure and track the progress of certain goals that will help you identify the productivity of your team.

If the KPI you choose isn't useful for this, it just clutters up your dashboard and reduces your ability to get a clear picture of your company's productivity. For example, if you want to measure the productivity of your customer service representatives, then service KPIs such as order accuracy, call pickup time, and abandon rate, are going to be helpful. 

Ensure They're Important for Your Business

Different KPIs are suitable for different types of businesses. On the surface level, they can be easy to differentiate. For example, retail businesses use KPIs that include stock turnover and sales per square foot. This isn't useful if you don't operate a retail business. Secondly, it's important that you establish your business goals first. Without business goals, you won't know how to identify your KPIs, nor will you know what you're measuring your KPIs against. Basically, you can't measure the productivity of your company if you don't have productivity goals.

Make Sure They're Actionable

Every KPI needs to have an actionable target. If they're not actionable, then it's basically useless information. To make sure your KPIs are actionable, you need to review what your business objectives are, analyze your current performance, and set both short-term and long-term targets. Some metrics aren't actionable even though they look like they may provide important information. For example, the number of newsletter subscribers in the current period. This seems like important information, but what exactly can you do about it? A low number may be indicative of any number of issues or challenges that don't accurately represent the productivity or effectiveness of a team.

Keep it Relevant

Because there are so many KPIs that you could be tracking through your dashboard, it can be easy to lose track of what's relevant to the team whose productivity you are trying to measure. While certain KPIs may be relevant to your business as a whole or to different departments within your business, they may not be relevant to the specific team whose productivity you want to track.

Consider UX and How Easy it is to Read the Data

Your dashboards should be usable by everyone within the company. You want your employees to be able to track their own productivity in order to remain productive, after all. However, if your KPIs aren't user-friendly or easy to read, your team members are going to have difficulty making use of your KPIs. Keep it simple whenever possible. KPIs should be displayed in an easy-to-read format, whether it's in charts, graphs or other visualizations.

Additionally, you don't want your employees to become overwhelmed by the data being provided to them. Limit the number of KPIs each individual should follow. Provide one or two main KPIs for each individual employee representing their main goals. Then have one or two KPIs that represent the main goals of their team. This will make it easy for everyone to understand what their team goals are and what their individual goals are in relation to their team's goals.

Always Give Data Context

Without context, your data doesn't provide much in the way of indicating performance levels. For example, say you're trying to measure the productivity of your marketing team. One of the things you might be measuring is website visitors. While this metric provides important information, it's not actionable. However, what would be actionable is "percent of new visitors compared to last period" or "length of visit compared to the last period." Essentially, the more specific the data is and the more context it provides, the more actionable your KPIs will be.

Educate, Train, and Communicate With Your Team

Don't just provide your teams with KPIs and assume that they know how to read them and how to act on them. Your staff should have an understanding of how to use their dashboards and how to read their KPIs. Make sure they know what the KPIs are and what they need to do to improve their performance based on their KPIs. Training and communication are essential since your KPIs won’t have any value if they don't impact your team.

2. Locate and Extract the Required Data

In order to present KPIs on your dashboard, you'll need to locate and extract the necessary data. Depending on the KPI, this data can come in different forms. For example, the data used could be historical data. Taking the previously mentioned website example, you could compare website visits on a month to month basis using past website visit data. In some cases, the source of information may come from outside your company, such as the use of industry averages and surveys from trade groups within your industry.

Once you've located the data you'll need to extract it. You should be able to use either a database query to extract it from your company's historical database, or manually track your data by entering it into a spreadsheet.

3. Update, Organize, and Present the Data

Once you've found the source of the data you need to help measure productivity, you'll need to determine how often to update your data. For example, some of your financial metrics can be updated using QuickBooks and other similar tools. However, certain statistics may need to be manually updated in your spreadsheets or databases -- which also means that you probably won't be able to update certain KPIs quite as often as others due to the time it takes to manually update your data.

4. Document the Data Sources and Processes

Make sure that once you've created your productivity dashboards that you document your data sources and set up a procedural checklist to ensure that the information in your reports remains consistent. The flow of information, database queries, and all information sources should be documented so that you can easily troubleshoot any inconsistent data that shows up in future reports.

5. Review and Revise the Dashboard(s) as Needed

You may need to adjust your data sources and performance measures over time due to changes in your company's goals or objectives. Fortunately, it will be easier to review and revise your dashboard as needed if you've been properly organizing, tracking, and documenting the flows of information.

Keep it Simple, Actionable, and Measurable

Measuring the productivity of your employees is essential to determining how effectively and efficiently your business is being run. Your business intelligence dashboard allows you to track important performance metrics that can help you judge the productivity of your company as a whole, the different departments within your company, and your individual employees.

In fact, your dashboard will also allow your employees to track their own productivity and to improve their performance based on those metrics. However, to achieve this, you need to make sure that you use KPIs that are simple, relevant, measurable, and actionable.

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