A ‘What’s in your Dashboard’ Wrap Up


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For a few months now we have been asking analytics experts: “what’s in your dashboard?” Now as the series draws to an end we would like to take this opportunity to again thank all our experts for sharing their knowledge with us, and discuss the insights we can take from this.

The first important thing to note is that all the experts, irrespective of their focus, discussed the fact that it is difficult, and perhaps naive, to just flat out label the ‘three most important KPIs’. All made reference to the large variations between industries and individual companies that ultimately affect KPI selection, and the importance of tying KPIs to specific business objectives. Needless to say, this does not come as a surprise. And yet, everybody out there is dying to tap into some industry-specific “best practices”.

There is a tough reality we must face when designing dashboards – it is not a simple process. Although when starting off we might be tempted to look over our shoulder and use the same KPIs as our neighbour, this might not lead to an effective dashboard. The process involves a great deal of introspective analysis of our internal business objectives, and the resources we have at hand, in addition to the competitive landscape.

Therefore we appreciate our experts commenting on this, and offering up some important KPIs that can be used quite generally but also further customised to suit individual organizations.

summary of analysts' answers to 'what's in your dahboard?'

The recommendations of our experts can be categorised under three main categories of use:

  • KPIs to ensure organizational data-based decision making maturity
  • KPis for content-based websites
  • General KPIs for business success

KPIs to ensure organizational data-based decision making maturity

Jim Sterne states that as we look outward we first have to look inward. We won’t be successful in making data-based decisions if we have not reached an appropriate level of maturity. Therefore, we need to evaluate our Online Maturity, Data Quality and Insight Generation. Only when we reach an appropriate level in these three indicators will we really see strong dashboard definition.

This is a very interesting perspective and one that we find many companies do not emulate. Although jumping right in and learning as you go might be the best option for organizations with extremely limited resources and extraordinary growth, nothing leads to success like strong strategic planning.

You might now be thinking that you haven’t truly analysed your own Online Maturity, Data Quality and Insight Generation capabilities. Well, its not too late – what’s stopping you from evaluating and improving these three KPIs today?

KPIs for Content-based Websites

April Wilson and Lars Johansson both focus on KPIs for content-based websites and draw attention to the fact that although content quality is crucial on these types of sites, user experience is also vital.

April focuses more on User Experience and her KPIs really allow us to gauge whether or not the user is able to find what they are looking for on the site, undertake the actions they wish to perform and have a quality experience across all devices.

In addition, Lars measures User Experience with his KPI ‘Quality’ but also discusses the importance of Engagement on content-based sites. Conversion can be regarded as the product of both quality content and positive user experience on content-based sites.

Therefore, if you work with content-based sites, it is important to remember that neither quality content nor strong user experience alone is enough for today’s picky information consumer. Both are demanded in conjunction for the critical user to be happy.

General KPIs for Business Success

Our other four experts all discuss KPIs that would be a good starting point or allow you to monitor general business performance. Whilst Stéphane Hamel, Peter O’Neill, and Steve Jackson focus mainly on understanding customer behaviour, Judah Phillips looks more closely at customer cost and value.

  • Recommended Customer Cost and Value KPIs include Cost per Goal, Cost of Customer Acquisition, Lifetime Value, Net Profit Margin, and Costs, Conversions and Value trended over time
  • Customer Behaviour KPIs include Engaged Web Visits, Web Goals Completions, Reach Sources segmented over time, Behavioural Segments trended over time, comparison metrics, trend charts and Key Segments

Both of these groups of KPIs are extremely valuable across all industries but what we must emphasise is our experts’ focus on context. Data in isolation is of little value, but comparisons, trends and historical data are vital in helping you to really draw insights from your data.

These Customer Cost and Value, and Behaviour KPIs are a great starting point for defining a dashboard focused on business outcomes. We should never forget, however, to provide context for our KPIs – whether it comes in the form of historical performance, trends or comparisons, or as written Insights, recommended actions or projections on business impact given by the analyst.

What’s in our dashboard and what’s in your dashboard?

Again we would like to thank all the analytics experts for sharing their knowledge and experience with us. For more information on what’s in our dashboard, keep reading our blog. You might be especially interested on our current series “A Focus on Visualizations” for all our dashboard data visualization tips and “Industry-specific KPIs” to find out what KPIs we recommend for your industry. We will also be asking you all to tell us what’s in your dashboard very soon, so keep your eyes peeled!


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Megan Wilcock

VP of Business Development for Sweetspot. Responsible for strategic brand development, marketing and business development. BA/BComm graduate from the University of Melbourne. My passion lies in finding creative solutions and encouraging collaboration.

Add a comment

Meg Wilcock

Thanks for your comment David. Glad to hear you enjoyed the article! Anything to add to our experts comments?

Published on , 11:36 pm   

David Harris

Great article…. Thank you for sharing both your knowledge and insights.

Published on , 6:36 pm   

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