“BI is about providing the right data at the right time to the right people so that they can take the right decisions” – Nic Smith
Data analytics isn’t just for the Big Guys anymore; it’s accessible to ventures, organizations, and businesses of all shapes, sizes, and sectors. The power of data analytics and business intelligence is universal.
In the Age of Information, forward-thinking organizations are reaching exciting new levels by leveraging the capabilities of innovative new business intelligence (BI) solutions. And the success stories are seemingly endless.
Armed with BI-based prowess, these organizations are a testament to the benefits of using online data analysis to enhance your organization’s processes and strategies. These benefits include cost efficiency, the optimization of inventory levels, the reduction of information waste, enhanced marketing communications, and better internal communication – among a host of other business-boosting improvements.
But while BI is a genuine driver of organizational success, getting it right comes with its fair share of roadblocks.
Here, we’re going to explore the dynamics of BI challenges and look at the top 10 business intelligence problems facing today’s entrepreneurs and company leaders. In doing so, we aim to give you an insight into what to look out for and how to tackle the core challenges of business intelligence, one initiative at a time.
“Generally, we find small organizations are early adopters and have the highest estimates of BI success,” said Howard Dresner, founder, and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services. To grow, remain competitive and be successful, small businesses need to remain agile and innovative. They need to make quick and informed decisions. They need to maximize their limited resources. Entrepreneurs are the cowboys of the business world. They often make these decisions based on intuition and small data. The best entrepreneurs are combining intuition with analytics. They are increasingly communicating and doing business through the newer, more adaptable online BI tools and the cross-organization integration capabilities they offer.
Though BI has helped countless companies make smarter, data-driven decisions, it has yet to gain universal adoption.
With all this BI success, there are still business intelligence challenges facing entrepreneurs that deter this adoption. Many entrepreneurs have run into business intelligence problems with traditional – and often archaic – BI methods. These past BI issues may discourage them to adopt enterprise-wide BI software. Many are also overwhelmed by where to start, worried about cost and effort, and discouraged by stories of BI failures. “Up to 70% of BI implementations end up failing to meet all the business goals,” according to Gartner, so it is no wonder entrepreneurs are worried.
The Top 10 Challenges In Business Intelligence
Now that we’ve outlined the dynamics of the inherent BI challenges facing today’s ambitious business leaders and entrepreneurs, let’s delve a little deeper.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 challenges of business intelligence in today’s digital world and how you can use modern software to tackle these issues.
1) Too expensive and hard to justify the ROI of BI
Budgets and resources are tight everywhere but especially for small businesses. The price of deploying BI is a primary concern among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are discouraged by the prohibitive costs of acquiring the right software. Also, limited resources make looking for qualified professionals such as data science experts, IT infrastructure professionals and consulting analysts impractical and worrisome. These deterrents are compounded by worries about expensive infrastructure investments needed to deploy BI software. In the past, expensive enterprise BI solutions required huge hardware resources. In addition to increasing the price of deployment, setting up these data warehouses and processors also impacted expensive IT labor resources.
With the rise of self-service analytics through BI platforms, the cost doesn’t have to be a business intelligence challenge. The renowned specialist, Mike Ferguson, has seen how these tools are helping entrepreneurs and eliminating the need for expensive IT support. “There is no doubt that today, self-service BI tools have well and truly taken root in many business areas with business analysts now in control of building their own reports and dashboards rather than waiting on IT to develop everything for them.”
Entrepreneurs are turning to business intelligence to improve operational efficiency and save money. They also need these tools to generate a true ROI. This is particularly true if the organization is a startup and needs to answer to a board and investors. Check out this investor relations dashboard example below, part of our management dashboard series:
**click to enlarge**
The right business intelligence tool is a much easier ROI to sell. A primary benefit is the reduced costs of implementation compared to other tools: infrastructure, training, and IT support. Robust dashboards can be easily implemented, allowing potential savings and profits to be quickly highlighted with simple slicing and dicing of the data. Ineffective dashboards can be easily updated to focus on business needs. It can be easy to roll out a strategic, operational, analytics and tactical dashboard so that each dashboard tells a cohesive and focused data story.
Odds are, businesses are currently analyzing their data, just not in the most effective manner. It is time to save valuable staff resources and walk away from static spreadsheets by using interactive dashboards. The ROI alone from hours saved and reduced costs of producing current reports will improve your bottom line.
Agile, innovative and cloud BI software solutions like datapine allow small businesses to acquire the data they need without requiring anyone to shell out major cash for deployment – a clear-cut case for BI ROI. Small businesses can now opt for BI vendors offering scalable solutions that don’t require heavy IT support and can be delivered at the right price point.
2) Lack of company-wide adoption
Disjointed BI practices and failed universal adoption is a key business intelligence challenge. It’s essential to gain buy-in from all stakeholders early on in the process to get everyone on the same page. To do this, you’ll want to develop a set of business requirements and goals. Don’t develop these in a vacuum or just at the executive level. Consult with key stakeholders, including IT, finance, marketing, sales, and operations. Clear objectives and predetermined Key Performance Indicators will help guide a successful BI adoption. Although there are various KPI examples, you should choose only the best fit for your department or industry.
There may be push back. At a small business, a data culture may not exist yet. Departments may be discouraged by a lack of time, data acumen and resources and shy away from encouraging enterprise adoption of BI. They may not see that the adoption costs outweigh the benefits.
They need to see a cloud-based enterprise-wide BI tool in action. The right tool will benefit teams across an organization. These tools allow for a wide range of users to easily connect to, interact with, visualize and communicate their data. Easy drag and drop interfaces require little training and no prior data analysis or SQL skills. Entrepreneurs don’t have to worry about stretching limited staffing resources with extensive training and certifications.
The right BI software can deliver insightful and actionable information without needing a data scientist to collect, prepare and analyze complex data and process it into reports management can understand. Empowering staff across a small business with dashboards they can immediately use encourages adoption and ensures BI success.
In a survey conducted by Matillion, 27.4% of the responding businesses stated that reporting/analyzing across multiple systems or data sources was their biggest challenge. Odds are your organization, no matter the size, is collecting data surrounding their business operations. The problem is this data is often spread across a variety of different systems and software. Data may be stored in various ERP systems, CRMs, databases and Excel spreadsheets. With data spread across multiple systems, getting the information you need can be an arduous task.
Entrepreneurs are turning to innovative BI tools to address this business intelligence problem. These tools can easily merge different data sets on the fly without the need of restructuring databases or setting up a data warehouse. This allows small businesses to connect all their data sources with the help of data connectors, and see beyond the numbers, discover new relationships and detect trends to take the guesswork out of important business decisions.
4) Businesses aren’t measuring the right indicators
Organizations are quick to measure financial KPIs, but unfortunately, they often stop there. While these metrics are important, they are often measured at the end of the year or quarter and are fairly reactive in nature. Once again, they are crucial to measure and report on but SMEs should be monitoring more. This is where a comprehensive BI plan contributes to an organization’s success. It is important that a wide range of appropriate KPIs are used to measure progress and performance. This data can be used to benchmark internally or across departments/offices. The data can also be used externally to compare a company’s performance against others in the industry.
An online KPI dashboard software takes the heavy lifting off of SME’s limited resources. The software enables entrepreneurs to visualize and share their numbers according to their own individual needs.
5) Delivering mobile-based BI is no easy feat
We live in a mobile age. With more mobile devices in the world than human beings, gone are the days when producing work, planning, sharing information, or collaborating on projects was reduced to meeting rooms or desktop PCs alone.
Our hyper-connected shift into the mobile age means that there’s never been more demand for mobile-based BI solutions. But with business intelligence-based demand come business intelligence problems.
In a fast-paced, cutthroat digital landscape, business leaders must be able to obtain access to data-driven reports and insights 24/7. While developing mobile-optimized BI solutions can prove a developmental challenge, by working with the right interactive business intelligence platform, it’s possible to log in and pull invaluable insights from mobile devices wherever you are in the world without losing any key features or functionality.
Your mobile-based business intelligence problems, solved.
6) Providing true self-service analytics
One of the biggest BI challenges that today’s businesses face is reaping the benefits of genuine self-service data analytics solutions.
In their infancy, BI-based data solutions were difficult to navigate and only accessible to those with advanced technical knowledge. This most pressing of BI issues meant that the process of extracting actionable insights from your data would be sluggish and fragmented, with information being passed down a delivery line before arriving at your inbox.
Advancements in interactive BI dashboard tools mean that you can access critical insights on a multitude of mobile devices. Today’s best solutions are intuitive, visual, and easy to master, which means that you won’t need to rely on anyone else within the organization to engage with the kind of information that will help your empire flourish.
7) Dealing with the impact of poor data quality
It’s true that we live in the Age of Information, with more data generated in recent years than the rest of history. But while we’re swimming in data, with this raft of insight comes saturation.
There’s so much data available in today’s digital world that sifting through it and mining for the golden information that will help you enhance the success of your business is one of today’s most difficult business intelligence issues.
There are 2 glaring issues with our modern data glut relating to BI:
Important data being buried deep into systems, applications, and platforms, getting lost or missed as a result.
BI-centric systems and sources delivering poor, inaccurate, and convoluted data-driven insights that ultimately waste time and money while stunning progress.
To ensure you avoid detrimental data, you need to have strategies in place to promote quality control throughout the organization.
In addition to working with dynamic KPIs that align with specific needs, goals, and initiatives within your business, you should also adopt a data quality management (DQM) approach and encourage others within the business to follow suit.
One of the most overlooked business intelligence challenges facing today’s entrepreneurs or business leaders is the fact that despite the access to a wealth of quality venture-boosting data, there is a severe lack of strategy behind these insights. While this is better than ‘going with your gut’ alone, without a clearly defined data-driven strategy, you are still shooting in the dark.
Working with powerful BI dashboards that promote interactive data visualization, you should develop a strategic roadmap to help give your data direction, fluidity, and add value throughout the organization.
Any solid BI roadmap starts with examining your existing processes as well as defining your key information stakeholders, and it ends with choosing the best tool for the job. To steer you through the process, here’s our 11-step business intelligence strategy guide.
9) Poor BI functionality & interactivity
As mentioned, interactive data dashboards come with a host of built-in features and functions that make extracting insights from your data swift, simple, and effective, thus overcoming one of the most common BI problems of sluggish data sharing processes.
Many businesses face this issue as people need to collect, curate, and analyze data from a number of sources, often from platforms or programs that are incredibly manual and lack interactivity. More often than not, poor processes and functionality lead to inaccuracies, inefficiencies, and costly mistakes that can potentially stunt the growth of the business.
By working with interactive BI dashboards, you’ll be able to move beyond the likes of Excel, PowerPoint, and other static reporting tools and instead gain access to intuitive, interactive visual data that will help you achieve the results you deserve.
10) Sluggish query and database performance
Finally, we move onto our tenth and perhaps most irritating of business intelligence issues: sluggish query or database performance.
One of the most widely-reported BI challenges to date, slow database performance leads to a number of internal challenges, including business intelligence security issues, fragmented processes, poor interdepartmental communication, and severe reporting lags. Naturally, none of these issues are good for business.
Regardless of your niche or sector, time correlates with money – which means that poor query performance or sluggish database responses will cost you dearly over time.
To drive efficiency and overcome this common BI challenge, it’s important to not only quality-control your data and prepare it thoroughly for analysis but also centralize your most valuable insights for swift, cohesive data analysis.
By utilizing the power of robust data storage warehouse and working with high-power platforms that allow you to access all of your business-related insights from one intuitive centralized location, you’ll boost your overall business performance while quashing the roadblock of poor data performance.
Moreover, ensuring your data is cohesive and tight-knit will overcome any potential business intelligence security issues by keeping that data safe and secure at all times.
“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” – Daniel Keys Moran
As you now know, business intelligence challenges exist, and if they arise, you need to do everything in your power to tackle them head-on.
In our digital age, there are excellent tools to address these inherent problems, and you can use them to your advantage. Innovative solutions are all about simplicity & efficiency – and that’s what modern BI offers in abundance.
With the arrival of self-service data-driven platforms, SMEs and startups can now enjoy access to a host of actionable, fast-paced business intelligence solutions, despite lacking the purchasing power of larger corporations. In the modern age, the data-driven playing field is relatively even, and it’s time for you to start competing.
The right Software as a Service (SaaS business intelligence) platform, like datapine, removes the numerous challenges – issues including cost, adoption, disparate data structures, a lack of technical expertise, and many more.
Fewer BI challenges mean that you’ll be able to dedicate more time to doing what entrepreneurs love and do best: growing their business. To see this in practice, you can try our business intelligence software for a 14-day trial, completely free!
And to summarize, here are the top 10 business intelligence challenges:
The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive sectors on the planet. Not only do we as a species need to eat and drink to survive; communal dining is an experience that people have cherished for centuries. And as we love to dine out whenever we can, there is a great deal of demand for restaurants in villages, towns, and cities across the planet.
But with such demand comes a significant level of saturation, which means that to thrive – or indeed survive – in the restaurant biz, getting ahead of the competition is essential.
In a previous study into big data examples in real life, we explored how the catering industry could benefit from the use of restaurants analytics – a topic that we’re going to delve deeper into here.
The Modern Restaurant Management and the National Restaurant Association revealed that around 60,000 new restaurants open every year. But shockingly, 50,000 restaurant locations close their doors each year. A sobering statistic if ever we saw one.
If you’re reading this, you might be wondering how you can prevent your budding foodie empire from joining the masses of ‘almost made it’ restaurants out there.
While there’s no quickfire solution or definitive answer to this question, we can say that investing in data-driven solutions, reporting tools, and leveraging the power of restaurant analytics will help you succeed in this most cutthroat of industries.
By managing your information with data analysis tools, you stand to sharpen your competitive edge, increase your profitability, boost profit margins, and grow your customer base. Data offers the power to gain an objective, accurate, and comprehensive view of your restaurant’s daily functions.
Here, we will look at restaurant data analytics, restaurant predictive analytics, analytics software for restaurants, and the specific ways that big data can help boost your business prospects across the board.
Let’s start by looking at the definition.
What Are Restaurant Analytics?
At its core, restaurant analytics is the concept of analyzing all of the data related to your restaurant business and transforming it into actionable insights with the help of business intelligence software that will ultimately lead to significantly improved efficiency.
In today’s hyper-connected digital landscape, it’s possible to collect, organize, and present every single fragment of information – from wait time to staff performance and menu optimization – in a way that will help your restaurant evolve and improve on a continual basis.
Why Are Restaurant Analytics Important?
Business analytics for restaurants is integral to understanding the inner workings of your business but and being aware of how you can improve it to foster a sustainable level of success that will set you apart from the competition.
By working with relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) and data dashboards, you’ll be able to track, monitor, and measure your most valuable business insights in a way that is clear, concise, and digestible, pulling from past, present, and predictive data. This will enable sustainable KPI management processes that will ultimately increase productivity and save money.
Restaurant data analytics will help you get to the heart of the issue and understand the whole truth about your business. While we’re on the subject, let’s look at how business analytics for restaurants will help you make positive changes that get real results.
In summary, restaurant-based data analytics is crucial to the success of your restaurant because they enable you to:
Organize your data and omit any metrics that are relevant to your goals.
Transform your most valuable data into actionable insights.
Monitor, measure and track your performance with interactive KPIs.
Spot emerging trends that will set you apart from the competition.
Make your business more efficient, more intelligent and more profitable than you ever thought possible.
The Role Of Predictive Analytics In Restaurants
Studies from The Perry Group and The Restaurant Brokers suggest that 90% of restaurants that are independently owned close within one year of opening. Moreover, 70% of restaurants that manage to survive for 12 months close their doors within the next three to five years. So, it’s no exaggeration to state that the vast majority of restaurants that open in this world don’t succeed. But that doesn’t mean yours can’t.
We’ve explored what restaurant analytics is and how data analytics for restaurants can help you understand your business on a deeper level. But before we drill down into the specific ways in which restaurant data analytics can enhance your empire, it’s important to grasp the general role of predictive data in the service industry.
While predictive analytics isn’t some form of magic digital psychic, this branch of forward-thinking data and insight can help your restaurant make invaluable changes based on trends that suggest how particular elements of your business are likely to unfold.
Here are the primary roles of predictive analytics in restaurants:
1. Forecasting trends
Restaurant predictive analytics use historical as well as real-time data to forecast future strengths, weaknesses, and trends. By gaining access to this information, usually with the help of a live dashboard, you’ll be able to formulate strategies and create initiatives that will help enhance the future success of your business.
2. Panoramic vision
By working with predictive analytics, you’ll gain the ability to drill down into past and present trends, insights and visualizations and thus, create a narrative with your data. In doing so, you’ll enjoy a panoramic vision of your venture, gaining the perspective you need to really get to know your restaurant which, in turn, will give you the inspiration you need to develop innovative business-boosting strategies.
3. Operational efficiency
From the reduction of food waste to seasonal menu optimization and future staff performance levels, restaurant predictive analytics can assist in the daily, weekly, and long-term operations of your business – benefits that we will look at in due course.
At this point, you might be thinking, “Well, data is all well and good, but I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for a long time. I trust my gut – and I don’t think data is going to be more knowledgeable than me”. Let’s investigate that further.
Let’s assume that you’ve been in the restaurant industry for decades. Maybe you’ve worked your way all the way up from a dishwasher to the owner or manager position. Or maybe your family has had a restaurant for as long as you can remember and you’ve been involved since you were young. Either way, you’ve developed a finely tuned sense of “what works” in your restaurant and geographical location and what doesn’t. You’ve tried specials, tried promotions, and switched the menu around.
You feel just you’ve done just about everything. After all of these experiments, you know what your customers like, dislike, and what they might be interested in the future. Nobody is disputing that. Data can’t run a restaurant for you, and data can’t replace in-the-trenches experience. Data also can’t replace your creativity, your style, and your passion for your business.
Here’s the thing: data isn’t meant to “replace” anything. Instead, restaurant analytics are an addition to your already capable business intelligence. And let’s be honest for a moment: it’s possible that some of your intuitions aren’t perfect. Let’s say you feel that you know:
What types of dishes your customers like best
Which servers are bringing in the biggest orders consistently
What new promotions are likely to sell
You know these things based on past experience, and so you developed beliefs for each of these areas. The problem is our modern world is changing at an accelerating rate. Your beliefs and intuitions can quickly become inaccurate.
Data can serve as a way to “check yourself” and get to the bottom of what truly makes your business tick. As data science guru Peter Chen wrote in an article, “analytics can’t come up with ideas, but it can help you improve on good ones, avoid trying bad ones, and uncover flaws that can be fixed”.
A Case Study In Cooking Up Profits
Let’s illustrate some of these principles at work in a case study. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is a U.S. based, family-run restaurant chain with over 500 locations. One day, CEO Roland Dickey pitched an idea to his wife (and CIO) Laura: “Barbecues and Big Data – let’s make this work!” More than just big data, the couple wanted real-time, actionable insights.
After getting their restaurant analytics system into place, they started to collect “priceless” information, such as:
Demographic data: Thanks to analytics, Dickey’s now knows that their average lunch guest is a 43-year-old man who drives an SUV to work. They even know that this customer’s average commute time is 30 minutes. As a result, Dickey’s is now specifically targeting Ford owners who live 15 to 30 minutes away from a Dickey’s location in their advertising.
Behavioral data: Dickey’s learned that women with kids often go to a location on a Wednesday, and enjoy a long lunch late in the afternoon. Because of this data, Dickey’s now advertises “Craft Wednesdays” on Pinterest as a draw in for mothers and their children.
Shared customer interests: Dickey’s found that their customers love fantasy football and dogs. As a result, they started to advertise on fantasy football sites and dog lover sites, as well as T.V. channels like Animal Planet. They even use dogs in their catering photos as a brand move.
Finally, as a result of the real-time nature of their restaurant analytics platform, Dickey’s managers and franchise owners can do nifty tactical moves related to daily sales trends. Combining your knowledge with various sales KPIs, you can optimize your operations.
For example, you can perform local sales initiatives based on items that are building up in inventory or do local sales if there is less business in a certain location than originally anticipated.
Another plus point for data analytics for restaurants.
Modern Restaurants Analytics Answer Critical Business Questions
One of the fundamental benefits of restaurant-based data analytics is that fact that it can help you uncover critical business questions. By doing so, you’ll make your restaurant more cohesive, more competitive, and of course – more profitable.
As a restaurant business owner, you’ll no doubt have a host of burning questions you’ll want to find actionable answers to every single day. And as we said, restaurant analytics will help you with the process.
For your reference, by using interactive dashboards, you’ll be able to find tangible answers to the following restaurant-based business questions:
Which items of my menu or which menu deals are most popular?
What are my quietest periods on a weekly basis?
Which server or waiter is performing the best, consistently?
How well is my staff schedule working in terms of profits and service?
6 Ways Restaurants Analytics Can Help Your Business
Expanding on our previous points, it’s time to explore how embracing data-driven solutions can help you answer questions and improve efficiencies in a number of key areas – in a real-world context.
So, without further ado, here are six key ways that restaurant-based analytics can help your business.
1) Increasing order sizes with drinks
If you’re designing a new drink menu, you can look at your restaurant analytics to see what drinks people tend to order with certain items on your menu.
Then, you can increase these sales by suggesting these already popular wine or drink pairings with meals both on the menu, and through your wait staff.
2) Getting more repeat business with menu analytics
You can use restaurant analytics to identify which items on your menu are studs, and which ones are duds. This works best in conjunction with a customer loyalty program so that you can track individual customers’ patterns over time.
For example, let’s say you run the data for a few months of purchases. You’ll be able to divide your menu items into 4 categories:
1. Your all-time greats: These items are ordered a lot, and people tend to reorder them
Definitely don’t mess with these – if anything, consider doing more advertising mentioning these dishes or feature them in some other way. Additionally, if you’re looking to add new items to your menu, your “all-time greats” should be the first place you look for inspiration. If all your “greats” are steak dishes, it’s possible that new vegetarian dish won’t pan out so well.
2. Your “one-hit wonders:”
These items are ordered a lot, but people don’t tend to reorder them.
You’ll want to investigate these further. Are people not re-ordering because the dish is bad? Or did they just want to try a “different” dish to see what it would be like? If it’s for the first reason, you can re-work the dish to be better or get rid of it altogether. However, if people just wanted to try a “different dish” – this is also a useful thing to know. Apparently, this item is tantalizing! Examine the item’s name and menu description for clues that you can apply to the rest of your menu.
3. Your “hidden gems:”
People don’t tend to order these dishes that much, but once someone tries it once, they’re hooked.
This is a great case for analytics because you can run promotions and discounts to get people to try these dishes. Once they try them, your work is done. This category could also possibly benefit from better menu names and descriptions to make them more appealing to people who haven’t tried them before.
Additionally, these are great dishes for your wait staff to highlight, giving them a chance to show off their knowledge. After all, many people love the idea of a “hidden gem” that is delicious but not well known.
4. Your laggards:
These dishes aren’t ordered very often. When they are ordered, people don’t order them again.
You should either rework these dishes or get them off your menu because they’re giving your restaurant a bad name. It’s much better to have a “tight” delicious menu with fewer selections than it is to have a sprawling menu with some so-so items on it.
As a final note here, you should train your staff to give recommendations from the “All Time Greats” and “Hidden Gems” category whenever a customer asks for a recommendation. These dishes have the best chance of making a good impression (and getting repeat business).
3) You can (objectively) see who your star performers are
Let’s say you rely on your manager’s opinion when it comes to hiring and firing staff members. This probably works fine – but your manager might have their own biases that color and distort their perceptions of what wait staff is performing at a high level.
If you have restaurant data analytics related to employees’ average order size, for example, you can have a much clearer idea of who’s “bringing home the bacon”.
4) You can see (and anticipate) trends
Once you’ve been using your restaurant analytics for a while, you’ll be able to know things like:
What your busiest times of day are
What your busiest days are
What holiday business is like
And this is when data visualization tools join the party to give you a helpful hand in order to arrange your various indicators and measures into compelling business dashboards. Thanks to these insights, you can plan your staffing needs better and make sure you’re not over or undermanned for any given shifts. In order to make the most out of this data, you will need to visualize it to comprehend it better.
5) You can improve your financial flow
One of the most crucial components of any successful restaurant is financial efficiency.
In addition to better managing your inventory through restaurant predictive analytics software, you’ll also be able to gain a deeper understanding of where you can adjust your profit margins to increase revenue while maintaining an incremental level of success. By using a financial dashboard, you can even get notified if a business anomaly occurs.
Moreover, the data served up by financial analytics software for restaurants will offer you a comprehensive insight into the success of your deals, offers, and comps. If certain offers work better than others, you may want to focus on creating promotional strategies to reach a wider target audience. Alternatively, if you discover that a particular deal is costing you more money than originally anticipated, you’ll be able to remove it or make the changes necessary to ensure it’s profitable.
Increased cash flow and financial efficiency guaranteed.
6) You can reduce food waste
We covered this briefly earlier, but as a food-based industry, this plus-point of restaurant analytics software is certainly worth exploring in greater depth.
As a restaurant, food is money, so the last thing you want to do is waste it ( food wastage in large volumes is also unethical). By working with the right dashboard reporting software and KPIs, you can increase the food management element of your restaurant’s operation.
Analytics software for restaurants can help you understand which products you’re likely to need the most or least quantities of according to their shelf life in relation to demand at specific times of the day, week, month, or season.
Moreover, the insights delivered by analytics software for restaurants will give you the information you need to develop food prepping schedules that will ensure you reduce your waste, maximize your profit margins, and improve your restaurant’s general organizational infrastructure.
“As a restaurateur, my job is to basically control the chaos and the drama. There’s always going to be chaos in the restaurant business.” – Rocco DiSpirito
Restaurant analytics software is a priceless tool for any modern, ambitious, and forward-thinking restauranteur.
Restaurant data analytics will give you an added competitive edge that will not help you understand your customers in far greater detail. You’ll also be able to uncover insights about your business that you never even knew existed – it’s through these discoveries that the greatest growth occurs.
In today’s cutthroat – but potentially rewarding – restaurant biz, you need every advantage you can get to win on the food-based battlefield, and restaurant analytics will help get you where you need to be.
Start your journey to success today with a 14-day free trial and gain insights from modern self-service analytics software!
Modern dashboard software makes it simpler than ever to merge and visualize data in a way that’s as inspiring as it is accessible. But while doing so is easy, a great dashboard still requires a certain amount of strategic planning and design thinking.
Knowing who your audience is will help you to determine what data you need. Knowing what story you want to tell (analyzing the data) tells you which data visualization type to use. Let’s assume you have the right data and the right data visualization software. Now you need to choose the right charts and graphs. Hopefully, this post will help you create better data visualizations and dashboards that are easier to understand.
But first, we will start with the thinking element of data visualization graphs – with a series of questions that will enable you to choose the very best types of data visualization.
7 Essential Questions You Need To Ask Before Deciding On Your Data Visualization Graphs
As mentioned, asking the right questions will form the foundations of choosing the right types of visualization charts for your project, strategy, or business goals. The fundamental categories that differentiate these questions are based on:
Comparison of data
To get a clearer impression, here is a visual overview of which chart to select based on what kind of data you need to show:
**click to enlarge**
To go further into detail, we have selected the top 7 questions you need to consider to ensure success from the very start of your journey.
1. What story do you want to tell?
At its core, online data visualization is about taking data and transforming it into actionable insight by using it to tell a story. Data-driven storytelling is a powerful force as it takes stats and metrics and puts them into context through a narrative that everyone inside or outside of the organization can understand.
By asking yourself what kind of story you want to tell with your data and what message you want to convey to your audience, you’ll be able to choose the right data visualization types for your project or initiative. And ultimately, you’re likely to enjoy the results you’re aiming for.
Another key element of choosing the right data visualization types is gaining a clear understanding of who you want to tell your story to – or in other words, asking yourself the question, “Who is my audience?”
You may be aiming your data visualization efforts at a particular team within your organization, or you may be trying to communicate a set of trends or predictive insights to a selection of corporate investors. Take the time to research your audience, and you’ll be able to make a more informed decision on which data visualization chart types will make the most tangible connection with the people you’ll be presenting your findings to.
3. Are you looking to analyze particular trends?
Every data visualization project or initiative is slightly different, which means that different data visualization chart types will suit varying goals, aims, or topics.
After gaining a greater level of insight into your audience as well as the type of story you want to tell, you should decide whether you’re looking to communicate a particular trend relating to a particular data set, over a predetermined time period. What will work best?
4. Do you want to demonstrate the composition of your data?
If your primary aim is to showcase the composition of your data – in other words, show how individual segments of data make up the whole of something – choosing the right types of data visualizations is crucial in preventing your message from becoming lost or diluted.
In these cases, the most effective visualizations include:
Map-based graphs (if your information is geographical)
5. Do you want to compare two or more sets of values?
While most types of data visualizations will allow you to compare two or more trends or data sets, there are certain graphs or charts that will make your message all the more powerful.
If your main goal is to show a direct comparison between two or more sets of information, the best choice would be:
Data visualization is based on painting a picture with your data rather than leaving it sitting static in a spreadsheet or table. Technically, any way you choose to do this counts, but as outlined here, there are some charts that are way better at telling a specific story.
6. Is timeline a factor?
By understanding whether the data you’re looking to extract value from is time-based or time-sensitive, you’ll be able to select a graph or chart that will provide you with an instant overview of figures or comparative trends over a specific period.
In these instances, incredibly effective due to their logical, data-centric designs, functionality and features are:
Dynamic line charts
7. How do you want to show your KPIs?
It’s important to ask yourself how you want to showcase your key performance indicators as not only will this dictate the success of your analytical activities but it will also determine how clear your visualizations or data-driven stories resonate with your audience.
Consider what information you’re looking to gain from specific KPIs within your campaigns or activities and how they will resonate with those that you’ll be sharing the information with – if necessary, experiment with different formats until you find the graphs or charts that fit your goals exactly.
Here are two simple bonus questions to help make your data visualization types even more successful:
Are you comparing data or demonstrating a relationship?
Would you like to demonstrate a trend?
At datapine, data visualization is our forte. We know what it takes to make a good dashboard – and this means crafting a visually compelling and coherent story.
“Visualization gives you answers to questions you didn’t know you had.” – Ben Shneiderman
Now that you understand the kind of questions you need to ask yourself before proceeding with your project (and there are lots of things to consider when making your dashboard visually appealing), it’s time to focus on the 12 most popular types of data visualization to visualize your data in the most meaningful way possible.
1) Number Chart
When to use Number Charts
A real-time number chart is essentially a ticker that will give you an immediate overview of a particular KPI. At a glance, you can see any total such as sales, percentage of evolution, number of visitors, etc. This is probably the easiest data visualization type to build with the only consideration being the period you want to track. Do you want to show an entire history or simply the latest quarter? It is crucial to label the period clearly so your audience understands what story you are telling. Adding a trend indicator compares your number to the previous period (or to a fixed goal, depending on what you are tracking).
What to avoid
Number charts are often the first thing people see and are the quickest to read, so if there are too many, your narrative can get diluted. Using too many can also make your dashboard a little superficial. If you want more in-depth information, limit the number of number charts and leave room for other types of data visualization that drill down a little deeper.
When you add a trend indicator, we suggest you compare numbers from the same period. For example, if you are tracking total sales for the current quarter, compare that data to the same quarter last year (or last period – depending on your story). If you select a target manually (perhaps you have no accurate past data), be sure to set realistic goals to be able to get on top of your KPI management practice. Again, remember to label the trend indicator clearly so your audience knows exactly what they are looking at.
2) Line Chart
When to Use Line Charts
The purpose of a line charts is to show trends, accelerations (or decelerations), and volatility. They display relationships in how data changes over a period of time. In our example above, we are showing Sales by Payment Method for all of 2014. Right away, you can see that credit card payments were the highest and that everything took a dip in September. The takeaways are quick to register yet have depth.
What to avoid
Too many lines (variables) can make your chart complicated and hard to decipher. You may also find your audience constantly referencing the legend to remind them which one they are looking at. If you have too many variables, it’s time to consider a second (or even third) chart to tell this story.
When it comes to layout, keep your numbers relevant. When you set up your axis scale, keep it close to the highest data point. For example, if we had set the y-axis above to track all the way to 200K (when our highest data point is just over 90K), our chart would have been squished and hard to read. The top half would have been wasted space, and the data crammed. Let your data breathe a little!
One more thing!
A great feature of line charts is that you can combine them with other types of data visualization, such as bar graphs. Using a double y-axis, one for the bar graph and one for the line, allows you to show two elements of your story in one graph. The primary y-axis below shows orders (bar graph), and the secondary y-axis is sales totals (line). The metrics are different and useful independently, but together, they tell a compelling story.
When to Use Maps
Maps are great at visualizing your geographic data by location. The data on a map is often displayed in a colored area map (like above) or a bubble map. Because maps are so effective at telling a story, they are used by governments, media, NGOs, nonprofits, public health departments – the list goes on. Maps aren’t just for displaying data; they also direct action. This was seen most recently through the Zika outbreak. Mapping the spread of the disease has helped health officials track it and effectively distribute resources where they are most needed.
Even if you aren’t saving the world from Zika, maps can help! For example, they are great at comparing your organization’s sales in different regions.
What to Avoid
Everyone loves maps. However, that doesn’t mean you always need to display one. If the location isn’t a necessary part of your data-story, you don’t need a map. They take up a lot of room, so only use them when necessary. Also, don’t just fill your maps with data points. Clickhole did a good job of satirizing this common data visualization type by placing 700 red dots on a map. Filling your map with data points doesn’t tell a data story; it just overwhelms the audience.
4) Waterfall Chart
When to Use Waterfall Charts
This extremely useful chart depicts the power of visualizing data in a static, yet informative manner. It shows the composition of data over a set time period, illustrating the positive or negative values that help in understanding the overall cumulative effect. The decrements and increments can cause the cumulative to fall below or above the axis at various points, causing a clear overview of how the initial value is affected. It is often used in financial departments and analytical purposes, usually depicting the changes in revenue or profit. For example, your MRR (monthly recurring revenue), new revenue, upsell, lost, and current revenue. In our example above, we can conclude that our current revenue increased in our set time period.
What to Avoid
Waterfall charts are static in their presentation so if you need to show dynamic data sets, then stacked charts would be a better choice. Also, showing the relationship between selected multiple variables is not optimal for waterfall charts (also known as Cascade charts), as bubble plots or scatter plots would be a more effective solution.
5) Bar Graphs
There are three types of bar graphs: Horizontal (left to right), Column (up and down), and Stacked (which can be either). Although all are in the same chart family, each serves a distinct purpose.
a) Horizontal Bar Graphs
When to Use Horizontal Bar Graphs
Horizontal charts are perfect for comparative ranking, like a top-five list. They are also useful if your data labels are really long. Keep them in an order that makes sense, though. Either list by value (like we did above) or, if that’s not the strength, choose a logic for the labels that makes sense, like listing them alphabetically.
What to avoid
Because time is best expressed left to right, it’s better to leave showing an evolution for the column chart. Also, like many charts, when you have too many values, a horizontal bar graph quickly becomes cluttered.
b) Column Graphs
When to Use Column Graphs
Column bar graphs are the standard for showing chronological data, such as growth over specific periods, and for comparing data across categories. In our sales data analysis example, Amount of Sales per Channel and Country (last year), it is clear that we are comparing six regions and five channels. The color coding keeps the audience clued in to which region we are referencing, and the proper spacing shows the channels (good design is at the heart of it all!). At a glance, you can see that SEM was the highest-earning channel, and with a little effort, the Netherlands stands out as the region that likely enjoyed the highest sales.
c) Stacked Column Chart
When to Use Stacked Charts
Stacked charts handle part-to-whole relationships. This is when you are comparing data to itself rather than seeing a total – often in the form of percentages. In the example above, the story isn’t about the total number of customers aged 15-25, but that 22% of the customers were 15-25 in the first quarter of 2014 (and 26% in Q4). The numbers we are working with are relative only to our total.
When showing single part-to-whole relationships, pie charts are the simplest way to go. Twenty-two percent of our customers are 15-25, leaving the other 78% to fit into the pie somehow. People get pie charts. They’re easy. But what if we want to show the same information over different periods? This would be a multiple part-to-whole relationship, and for this, we use a stacked bar graph. Again, we are telling the story of the percentage of customers in a certain age range, per quarter. The total number of each isn’t relevant here (although that information is used in the calculations). With proper spacing, we see each quarter clearly, and the color coding shows that overall, 46-55-year-olds are the most difficult customers to attract.
What to avoid
Aesthetically speaking, when you have too much data, columns become very thin and ugly. This also leaves little room to properly label your chart. Imagine we had 10 different age ranges per column. Some results, if not most, would be only slivers. To make your chart easy to understand, use good colors, proper spacing, and a balanced layout. This invites people to look at your chart and even enjoy it. A pretty chart is a much nicer way to consume data than squinting at a table.
The much-maligned pie chart has had a bad couple of years. In fact, it has become pretty cliché to talk about how bad pie charts are. We understand the pie chart doesn’t do a lot, but it does do some things quite well. Pie charts are useful for when demonstrating the proportional composition of a particular variable over a static timeframe. Let’s look at some particular cases:
When the parts add up to 100%: The “part-to-whole relationship” is built right into it a pie chart in an obvious way. At a glance, any user knows a pie chart is splitting a population into parts and that the total of those parts equals 100%.
When approximating is okay: The pie chart is particularly effective when eyeballing values are enough to get the conversation going. Also, it’s easier to estimate the percentage value of a pie chart compared to, let’s say, a bar chart. That’s because pies have an invisible scale with 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% built in at four points of the circle. Our eyes can easily decipher these proportions, driving conversation about what variables do and don’t take up most of the pie. Your audience doesn’t have to guess the proportions – you can easily add data labels or build the sister of the pie chart, the donut chart, to display additional information.
When there aren’t many proportions to the variable or they are combined: Pie charts are great when answering questions like, “What two largest suppliers control 65% of the market?”
Your audience isn’t always going to be comprised of data scientists. Accordingly, your data presentation should be tailored to your particular audience. This brings us to another pie chart strength: people are familiar with pie charts. Any audience member will feel comfortable interpreting what the pie chart is presenting. As a bonus, circles generate more positive emotions: our brains like to look at circles over sharp corners. In the end, a pie chart simplifies the data story and encourages the audience.
What to Avoid
Data visualization guru Edward Tufte famously declared that “pie charts are bad, and the only thing worse than one pie chart is lots of them.” We already talked about the pros of pie charts and why we don’t adhere to this strict no-pie-chart philosophy. We should also state that there are plenty of instances where you should not use a pie chart. First off, pie charts portray a stagnate time frame, so trending data is off the table with this visualization method. Make sure your audience understands the timeframe portrayed and try to document or label this applied filter somewhere.
Pie charts are also not the best data visualization type to make precise comparisons. This is especially true when there are multiple small pieces to the pie. If you need to see that one slice is 1% larger than another, it’s better to go with a bar chart. Another thing about multiple pieces to your pie – you don’t want too many. Pie charts are most effective when just displaying two portions. They lose presentation value after six segments. After six, it is hard for the eyes to decipher what the slices proportion. It also becomes difficult to label the pie chart, and valuable online dashboard/reporting real estate is often wasted in the process.
This brings us to the last issue: circles take up space. If you are using multiple pie charts in a dashboard, it is probably best to more effectively combine the data in one chart. We recommend checking out the stacked bar chart for these cases. You can also have a look at the different pie charts that are commonly used and explore the disadvantages of pie charts.
In today’s business world, competition is fierce across all industries and sectors, which means that to survive and thrive, working with measurable online data analysis and performance metrics is essential.
Studies suggest that by 2020, customer experience (CX) will be the main brand differentiator (according to a research conducted by the customer experience consultant company Walker), surpassing factors such as price and product in terms of importance to today’s digitally native consumers. By choosing from various KPI examples to help track and measure the success of your company’s customer-facing activities, you stand to set yourself apart from the competition in a big way.
Working with service desk metrics and KPI reports will help you make the improvements you need for continual growth and success. To put this notion into perspective, we’re going to explore the value of a helpdesk KPI, delve deeper into service desk metrics, and look at some real-world examples for your reading pleasure.
A helpdesk KPI (or service desk KPI) is a performance metric centered on your business’s customer service and support activities. These KPIs include first response times, issue resolution rates, customer satisfaction levels, and other important consumer-facing metrics.
As the saying goes: what gets measured can be improved. Your customer service and support operations are no exception.
By gaining the level of insight delivered by KPIs, it’s possible to spot trends, capitalize on strengths, identify weaknesses, and become more cohesive, consistent, successful, and intelligent as an organization.
As mentioned, customer experience is pivotal to commercial success and evolution in the digital age, and by working with helpdesk metrics, you stand to push yourself ahead of the pack, one insight at a time.
A service desk KPI drills down into the areas of customer service relating to clients’ and customers’ issues and requests from various forms of media including phone, web chat or email. These metrics measure the success of your customer-centric operations. For a service desk to remain successful, communication is key.
The primary role of a service desk is to make sure that end users (clients, consumers, and business partners) receive appropriate help with their issues, requests, and questions in a smooth, timely manner.
Like helpdesk KPIs, service desk metrics and key performance indicators are designed to assist in the continued growth, success, and improvement of your business’s consumer-facing efforts. Together with helpdesk metrics, service desk KPIs will help to make every one of your customer service touchpoints the best it can be.
Why Are Helpdesk & Service Desk KPIs Important?
Service desk metrics and key performance indicators are incredibly powerful and will help to improve your business, encouraging customer loyalty and boosting your bottom line.
In addition to these clearcut benefits of using helpdesk or service desk KPIs, here are a few other reasons why tracking customer service metrics is vital to the ongoing success of your business:
Clarity: By working with helpdesk KPIs, you’ll gain a clear understanding of where you need to focus your efforts to improve your customer service performance. For instance, if some of your agents are underperforming, you’ll be able to gain a deeper understanding of why that is and be ready to take the right approach by offering training, support, and motivation. This, in turn, will boost your customer satisfaction metrics.
Accountability: A KPI for service desk will help make people more accountable for their performance, responsibilities, and duties in several key customer-facing areas. If the data is presented in a clear, digestible format, such as a customer service report, the proof will indeed be in the pudding. This means that everyone in your business will need to accept accountability for their actions, making your organization stronger and more productive.
Engagement: By obtaining access to a panoramic snapshot of your business’s entire customer service and support processes, you’ll be able to make vital improvements to your service levels, consumer touchpoints, content, and communications. In doing so, you stand to improve your levels of customer engagement significantly, which will have a positive impact on your brand authority and overall consumer-facing performance levels.
Loyalty: In this context, helpdesk KPI-driven loyalty works on two levels: customer loyalty and support staff loyalty. Simply put, if your support staff are happy, motivated, and engaged, they will be more loyal and perform better; and if your customers are satisfied with the level of service you offer them, your chances of repeat custom will improve exponentially.
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezos
Now that we’ve established the power and business-enhancing potential of helpdesk metrics, it’s time to explore some real-life service desk KPI examples. These are the metrics you need to track for the best possible customer data management and service-driven business performance.
Here we look at 5 helpdesk and service desk KPIs starting with our tickets by status performance metric.
1. Tickets by status
The first of our service desk KPI examples, tickets by status, is a must-track metric as it offers a clearcut insight into the number of support tickets your business receives as well as the corresponding ticket status.
By monitoring your customer service inquiry ticket statuses (new, open, pending, on-hold, solved, closed) on a regular basis, you’ll be able to track the overall performance and responsiveness of your customer service operations, giving you the opportunity to make vital improvements while offering the kind of internal support that will significantly boost your consumer satisfaction levels. This is a service desk KPI that will improve your business on a consistent basis.
2. First response time
Your first response time (FRT) is an essential KPI for service desk as it measures the average time between the receipt of a consumer inquiry to the initial communication made by a customer representative.
This helpdesk template has a significant impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty, so keeping your FRT as low as possible should be one of your business’s main consumer-facing priorities. This service desk KPI will help you keep a visual log of your FRT over time, presenting a prime opportunity to consistently enhance your support strategy.
3. Support tickets by channel
In our hyper-connected digital age, there are more consumer touchpoints than ever before, and to maintain customer experience excellence, offering a consistent performance across your most engaged channels is key. This is easily done with our next helpdesk template:
The support tickets by channel service desk KPI provides a quick, digestible, and visually engaging means of understanding the level of customer inquiries you receive across each channel. By having quick, simple access to this information, you’ll be able to improve your overall support levels as well as decide which touchpoints need the most investment or attention at any given time – priceless information for any modern business.
4. Top support agents
Disengaged team members cost US-based companies alone up to $550 billion a year. As mentioned earlier, supporting, engaging, and motivating your employees is integral to the ongoing customer service success of your organization.
Presented in a leaderboard format, the top performing agents KPI offers a swift snapshot of the performance of individual members of your customer support team, allowing you to celebrate positive achievements, help those that need extra training, and as a result – make your customer service department the best it can possibly be.
5. Net Promoter Score
Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of your most invaluable customer service metrics as it drills down into the likelihood of your consumers recommending your service to others. And as you might be aware, today’s consumers value the opinions of their peers above all else.
With this must-track service desk KPI, you’ll be able to examine your number of ‘Promoters,’ ‘Passives,’ and ‘Detractors,’ look at your overall NPS score, and build strategies based on improving this metric, thus optimizing the overall performance of your customer service department.
These specific examples and many more can be found in our Zendesk KPIs section, as it is one of the most used helpdesk tools on the market. You can also take a look at our Zendesk dashboard, where all of these KPIs are presented on a single screen, with a simple and easy-to-follow overview.
“Innovation needs to be part of your culture. Customers are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.” – Ian Schafer
Your customer service department is the beating heart of your organization. By tracking the right helpdesk and service desk KPIs, you’ll grow your audience, boost your brand awareness, and make your business more profitable over time. Track these metrics today, and you’ll start to see a significant boost in your business’s performance almost instantly.
For more insight into our helpdesk metrics, and how you can create your own, try our software for a 14-day trial, completely free!
We read about it everywhere. The term ‘big data’ alone has become something of a buzzword in recent times – and for good reason.
By leveraging the wealth of digital insights available at your fingertips and embracing the power of business intelligence, it’s possible to make more informed decisions that will lead to commercial growth, evolution, and an increased bottom line.
By implementing the right reporting tools and understanding how to analyze as well as to measure your data accurately, you will be able to make the kind of data driven decisions that will drive your business forward. Of course, this sounds incredible in theory.
But in practice, even if you have access to the world’s greatest data, it’s possible to make decisions that disregard tangible insight, going with your gut instead. In most cases, this can prove detrimental to the business.
While sometimes it’s okay to follow your instincts, the vast majority of your business-based decisions should be backed by metrics, facts, or figures related to your aims, goals, or initiatives that can ensure a stable backbone to your management reports and business operations.
To help you on your quest towards analytical enlightenment, we’re going to explore data driven decision making, study the importance of data driven decision making, and examine some real-world examples of turning insight into business-boosting action.
What Is Data Driven Decision Making?
Data driven decision making (DDDM) is a process that involves collecting data based on measurable goals or KPIs, analyzing patterns and facts from these insights, and utilizing them to develop strategies and activities that benefit the business in a number of areas.
Fundamentally, data driven decision making means working towards key business goals by leveraging verified, analyzed data rather than merely shooting in the dark.
However, to extract genuine value from your data, it must be accurate as well as relevant to your aims. Collecting, extracting, formatting, and analyzing insights for enhanced data driven decision making in business was once an all-encompassing task, which naturally delayed the entire data decision making process.
But today, the development and democratization of business intelligence software empowers users without deep-rooted technical expertise to analyze as well as extract insights from their data. As a direct result, less IT support is required to produce reports, trends, visualizations, and insights that facilitate the data decision making process.
From these developments, data science was born (or at least, it evolved in a huge way) – a discipline where hacking skills and statistics meet niche expertise. This fairly new profession involves sifting large amounts of raw data to make intelligent data driven business decisions.
The ‘gold’ that data scientists ‘mine’ comes in two distinctive types: qualitative and quantitative, and both are critical to making a data driven decision.
Qualitative analysis focuses on data that isn’t defined by numbers or metrics such as interviews, videos, and anecdotes. Qualitative data analysis is based on observation rather than measurement. Here, it’s crucial to code the data to ensure that items are grouped together methodically as well as intelligently.
Quantitative data analysis focuses on numbers and statistics. The median, standard deviation, and other descriptive stats play a pivotal role here. This type of analysis is measured rather than observed. Both qualitative and quantitative data should be analyzed to make smarter data driven business decisions.
Now that we’ve explored the meaning of decision making in business, it’s time to consider the reason why data driven decision making (DDDM) is important.
“Information is the oil of the 21st Century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” – Peter Sondergaard
Why Data Driven Decision Making Is Important?
The importance of data in decision lies in consistency and continual growth. It enables companies to create new business opportunities, generate more revenue, predict future trends, optimize current operational efforts, and produce actionable insights. That way, you stand to grow and evolve your empire over time, making your organization more adaptable as a result. The digital world is in a constant state of flux, and to move with the ever-changing landscape around you, you must leverage data to make more informed and powerful data driven business decisions.
Data driven business decisions make or break companies. This is a testament to the importance of online data visualization in decision making.
MIT Sloan School of Management professors Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson once explained in a Wall Street Journal article that they performed a study in conjunction with the MIT Center for Digital Business. In this study, they discovered that among the companies surveyed, the ones that were primarily data driven benefited from 4% higher productivity as well as 6% higher profits.
Companies that approach decision making collaboratively tend to treat information as a real asset more than companies with other, more ambiguous approaches.
10 Tips And Takeaways For An Enhanced Data Driven Decision Making Strategy
Finally, here are 10 practical tips and takeaways for better data driven decision making in business. By the end, you’ll be 110% sold on the importance of making these kinds of decisions.
1) Guard against your biases
Much of the mental work we do is unconscious, which makes it difficult to verify the logic we use when we make a decision. We can even be guilty of seeing the data we wish was there instead of what’s really in front of us. This is one of the ways a good team can help. Running your decisions by a competent party who doesn’t share (or even know) your biases is an invaluable step.
Working with a team who knows the data you are working with opens the door to helpful and insightful feedback. Democratizing data empowers all people, regardless of their technical skills, to access it and help make informed decisions. Often this is done through innovative dashboard software, visualizing once complicated tables and graphs in such ways that more people can initiate good data driven business decisions.
With more people understanding the data at play, you’ll have an opportunity to receive more credible feedback. The proof is in the numbers. A 2010 McKinsey study (which is helpful to read even today) of more than 1,000 major business investments showed that when organizations worked at reducing the effect of bias in their decision making processes, they achieved returns up to 7% higher. When it comes to data driven decision making (DDDM), reducing bias and letting numbers speak for themselves make all the difference.
Tips for overcoming a biased behavior
Simple Awareness – Everyone is biased, but being aware that bias exists can affect your decision making can help limit their impact.
Collaboration – Your colleagues can help keep you in check since it is easier to see biases in others than in yourself. Bounce decisions off other people and be aware of biased behavior in the boardroom.
Seeking out Conflicting Information – Ask the right questions to yourself and others to recognize your biases and remove them from your decision process.
By eliminating bias, you open yourself up to discovering more opportunities. Getting rid of preconceived notions and really studying the data can alert you to insights that can truly change your bottom line. Remember, business intelligence shouldn’t only be about avoiding losses, but winning gains.
2) Define objectives
To get the most out of your data teams, companies should define their objectives before beginning their analysis. Set a strategy to avoid following the hype instead of the needs of your business and define clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Although there are various KPI examples you could choose from, don’t overdo it and concentrate on the most important ones within your industry.
Gathering the right data is as crucial as asking the right questions. For smaller businesses or start-ups, data collection should begin on day one. Jack Dorsey, co-creator and founder of Twitter, shared this learning with Stanford. “For the first two years of Twitter’s life, we were flying blind… we’re basing everything on intuition instead of having a good balance between intuition and data… so the first thing I wrote for Square is an admin dashboard. We have a very strong discipline to log everything and measure everything”. That being said, and done, implementing a business dashboard culture in your company is a key component to manage properly the tidal waves of data you will collect.
4) Find the unresolved questions
Once your strategy and goals are set, you will then need to find the questions in need of an answer, so that you reach these goals. Asking the right data analysis questions helps teams focus on the right data, saving time and money. In the examples earlier in this article, both Walmart and Google had very specific questions, which greatly improved the results. That way, you can focus on the data you really need, and from bluntly collecting everything “just in case” you can move to “collecting this to answer that”.
5) Find the data needed to solve these questions
Among the data you have gathered, try to focus on your ideal data, that will help you answer the unresolved questions defined at the previous stage. Once it is identified, check if you already have this data collected internally, or if you need to set up a way to collect it or acquire it externally.
6) Analyze and understand
That may seem obvious, but we have to mention it: after setting the frame of all the questions to answer and the data collection, you then need to read through it to extract meaningful insights and analytical reports that will lead you to make data driven business decisions.
7) Don’t be afraid to revisit and reevaluate
Our brains leap to conclusions and are reluctant to consider alternatives; we are particularly bad at revisiting our first assessments. A friend who is a graphic designer once told me that he would often find himself stuck towards the end of a project. He was committed to the direction he had chosen and did not want to scrap it. He was invested, for the wrong reasons. Without fail, when this happened he would have to start all over again to see the misstep that got him stuck. Invariably, the end product was light-years better reworked than if he had cobbled together a solution from the first draft.
Verifying data and ensuring you are tracking the right metrics can help you step out of your decision patterns. Relying on team members to have a perspective and to share it can help you see the biases. But do not be afraid to step back and to rethink your decisions. It might feel like a defeat for a moment, but to succeed, it’s a necessary step. Understanding where we might have gone wrong and addressing it right away will produce more positive results than if we are to wait and see what happens. The cost of waiting to see what happens is well documented…
8) Present the data in a meaningful way
Digging and gleaning insights is nice, but managing to tell your discoveries and convey your message is better. You have to make sure that your acumen doesn’t remain untapped and dusty, and that it will be used for future decision making. With the help of a great data visualization software, you don’t need to be an IT crack to build and customize a powerful online dashboard that will tell your data story and assist you, your team, and your management to make the right data driven business decisions. For example, you need to have your finances under control at all costs:
An outline presented on a financial dashboard will ensure an at-a-glance overview of the financial performance of a company. With the top KPIs such as operating expenses ratio, net profit margin, income statement, and earnings before interests and taxes, this dashboard enables a fast decision making process while concentrating on real-time data.
For further inspiration, look at these incredible data visualization examples from some of the world’s most forward-thinking brands and businesses.
9) Set measurable goals for decision making
After you have your question, your data, your insights, then comes the hard part: decision making. You need to apply the findings you got to the business decisions, but also ensure that your decisions are aligned with the company’s mission and vision, even if the data are contradictory. Set measurable goals to be sure that you are on the right track… and turn data into action!
10) Continue to evolve your data driven business decisions
This is often overlooked, but it’s incredibly important nonetheless: you should never stop examining, analyzing, and questioning your data driven decisions. In our hyper-connected digital age, we have more access to data than ever before. To extract real value from this wealth of insights, it’s vital to continually refresh and evolve your business goals based on the landscape moving around you.
Data Driven Decision Making Mistakes You Should Avoid At All Costs
At this point, the importance of data in decision making is clear. But while understanding the dynamics of data driven business decisions and exploring real-world data driven decision making examples will steer you in the right direction, understanding what to avoid will help you cement your success.
How many times in your life have you prepared for a meeting, had the facts and figures ready to go, and in the end the decision goes the complete opposite direction?
It probably felt like the decision had been made before the meeting even began. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. We aren’t just talking about a startup full of newbies who think going with their gut is more critical than KPIs; we are talking about huge companies. Rob Enderle, a former IBM employee and Research Fellow for Forrester wrote a fabulous article which documents the shortcomings of executives at IBM and Microsoft.
While the article is packed full of examples, perhaps the most egregious is IBM’s partial sale of its ROLM division to Siemens. Enderle and team produced an internal report that proved selling to Siemens would be a catastrophic failure. It turned out that the decision had been made before the research came out. In fact, executives forgot the research had been commissioned at all. Their gut decision ended up costing the company over one billion dollars.
A publication from BI-Survey shows us that 58% of the companies they surveyed said that they base at least half of their regular business decisions on gut feel or experience, instead of being data and information-driven. On average, they realized that the companies would use only 50% of the information available when it came to decision making.
As business intelligence providers ourselves, we understand the importance of data driven decision making. This is why we’ve created an online data analysis tool that enables clients to get the most out of their data, visualize it in a meaningful way and easily share these generated insights in stunning real-time dashboards to make better business decisions faster. However, the insights we provide are completely useless if, at the end of the day, these reports are ignored by the actual decision makers.
This conundrum prompted us to take a deep look: why are business leaders not using data driven decision making? And what should you be aware of to make sure your decisions are based on numbers, not feelings?
Now that we’ve outlined the foundations of getting your data driven decisions right, we’re going to dig deeper into things to avoid by drilling down into the common past mistakes of data analysts and business leaders. Through observing and absorbing these key points, you’ll be able to ensure that your data driven decision making in business is consistent, results-driven, and centered on your goals at all times.
First and foremost, the main reason usually invoked is data quality. Data quality is the condition of a set of qualitative or quantitative variables, that should be “fit for [its] intended uses in operations, decision making and planning”, according to an article written by author Thomas C. Redmann. A good data quality management (from the acquisition to the maintenance, from the disposition to the distribution processes in place within an organization) is also key in the future use of such data. Collecting and gathering are only good if well managed and exploited afterward, otherwise, the assets’ potential remains untouched and useless.
2) Over-Reliance on past experience
Over-reliance on past experience can kill any business. If you are always looking behind you, there is a real chance of missing what is in front. So often, business leaders are hired because of their previous experiences, but environments and markets change and the same tricks may not work next time. One of the most cited examples of this is Dick Fuld, who saved Lehman after the LTCM crisis. Ten years later he pulled out the same bag of tricks and, as the Wall Street Journal Reports, “the experience he was relying on was not the same as this massive housing-driven collapse.” The recent crisis was much more complex. Environments and markets constantly change and, in order to be a successful manager, one must combine past experiences with current data.
3) Going with your gut and cooking the data
While some managers naturally go with their instinct, there is a significant portion who first trust their gut, then persuade their researchers or an external consultancy to produce reports that confirm the decision that they already made. According to the Enderle article mentioned above, this was commonplace at Microsoft. Researchers were tasked with providing reports that lent credibility to the executives’ decisions.
4) Cognitive biases
Cognitive biases are tendencies to make decisions based on limited information, or on lessons from past experiences that may not be relevant to the current situation. Cognitive bias occurs every day, in some way, in every decision we make. These biases can influence business leaders to ignore solid data and go with their assumptions, instead. Here are a few examples of cognitive biases commonly seen:
Confirmation bias – Business leaders tend to favor information that confirms the beliefs they already have, right or wrong.
Cognitive inertia – The inability to adapt to new environmental conditions and stick to old beliefs despite data proving otherwise.
Group Think – The desire to be part of the group by siding with the majority, regardless of evidence or motives to support.
Optimism Bias – Making decisions based on the belief that the future will be much better than the past.
Managers need to recognize that we are biased in every situation. There is no such thing as objectivity. The good news is that there are ways to overcome biased behavior.
As a result, these businesses identify business opportunities and predict future trends more accurately, generating more revenue and fostering greater growth through data decision making.
3 Data Driven Decision Making Examples Of Success
Now that we’ve gained a clearer understanding of what it means to make a data driven decision as well as the importance of data driven decision making, we’re going to delve into 3 inspiring data driven decision making examples.
One of the most notable examples of data driven decision making comes from search colossus Google, according to an article written on smartdatacollective.com. Startups are famous for disbanding hierarchies, and Google was curious as to whether having managers actually mattered.
To answer the question, data scientists at Google looked at performance reviews and employee surveys from the managers’ subordinates (qualitative data). The analysts plotted the information on a graph..
Projects are one of the cornerstones of a successful business. Sector or industry aside, strategic initiatives focused on specific areas of the business are what helps drive an organization forward, growing, progressing, and evolving year after year. Also, implementing effective management reports will create a data-driven approach to making business decisions and obtaining sustainable business success.
But despite the business-boosting potential (and vital importance) of successfully delivering collaborative strategies, a mere 58% of organizations understand the value of project management to its fullest, according to the global survey conducted by the Project Management Insitute. Armed with this knowledge, you can gain a significant edge on the competition.
By taking an online data visualization approach to handling your company’s strategic activities, big or small, you will make your business more cohesive, collaborative, intelligent and profitable – and project management dashboards will help you do just that.
Here, we explain the fundamental dynamics of project dashboard software, explore the benefits of project dashboards, and ask the question: what is a project dashboard?
In essence, a project management dashboard is a data-driven platform that displays metrics, stats, and insights that are specific to a particular project or strategy by presenting a tailored mix of key performance indicators (KPIs) in one central location.
A project management dashboard is perfect for individual departments looking to monitor the success of their projects and campaigns, spot past or present trends, and ultimately contribute to making the organization more intelligent. Project dashboard software is also effective for interdepartmental collaboration due to its flexible access and usability.
Top 3 Benefits Of Project Management Dashboards
Dashboards project management comes with a host of benefits to any modern organization regardless of industry or niche.
1. Communication & cohesion
The key to successful project management is communication. If everyone involved in a particular strategy or initiative understands their role, has access to the insights they need to perform their tasks to the fullest potential, and understands the data before them, your project is likely to exceed expectations and bust targets. Working with project dashboard software that can create extensive analytical reports will bestow your strategic activities with all of these key attributes.
2. Centralized data
In today’s digital business landscape, projects can become complicated due to the sheer number of platforms or touchpoints to consider, coupled with the significant piles of data available at any one time.
Project dashboards present and visualize the data that’s 100% relevant to a particular project, and as every insight is available in one central location, it’s possible to gain swift access to all of insights or metrics that are integral to your project without logging into other applications or platforms. And this is the essence of what is a project dashboard –time and money saved.
3. Targeted information
By working with a specific KPI template that is relevant to the task at hand, a live dashboard makes it possible to track, measure, and improve your performance from start to finish.
Moreover, by gaining the ability to compare digestible visual data, you can spot trends, capitalize on strengths, identify weaknesses, and improve the success of your projects significantly.
What To Look For In A Perfect And Modern Project Management Dashboard?
It’s clear that a project management dashboard is a powerful online data analysis tool. But this intuitive data-driven software is only effective if it has the right attributes, qualities, and functionality for the job. To help steer your success, here are the 4 main qualities you should look for:
When you’re in the middle of delivering a project, chances are the pressure will be on, which means that to hit your targets and get things done, gaining instant access to the right information is paramount. Any robust project management tool will be visually digestible, well designed, and serve up insights in a way that lets you extract value from them in seconds.
In addition to digestibility (or ‘scannability,’ as it’s sometimes referred to), it’s essential for project management dashboards to be completely user-friendly. Not only should everyone within the organization be able to navigate your online dashboards with relative ease, but it shouldn’t take technical staff to intervene and conduct data-driven tasks on a regular basis. In short, any project dashboard worth its salt will allow all departments to work with the data that’s most important to their role in a particular project, without fuss.
Another key attribute of project-based software is portability. A robust data dashboard will offer its users access on a variety of media, from desktop to mobile app, providing fully-optimized, user-friendly access to essential project data 24/7 no matter where you may be in the world.
Finally, it’s essential for your project management dashboard to be fully customizable. By customizing your BI dashboard, you’ll be able to set KPIs that are most relevant to your project while integrating platforms and services that are most useful to your activities and choosing designs or layouts that will prove the most helpful to you and your colleagues.
Now that you know what to look for, put these qualities and features into real-world context by exploring these 2 essential project dashboard examples. They provide an overview for projects conducted in IT and marketing but can be used for other projects as well. Let’s see this in more detail.
1. IT project management dashboard
This project dashboard template is the first of our 2 project dashboard examples, and it focuses on the steps and tasks involved in delivering a very specific strategic IT-based initiative successfully from start to finish.
Regardless of your industry or sector, if the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) want to deliver more value and have a more significant impact on the business, they must align with the company’s core strategic priorities. To achieve this, IT-driven dashboards make priceless tools.
Every IT KPI and visual element in this IT-based project management tool helps to drive efficiency, communication, and cohesion, drilling down into task-management and delivery, deadlines, and specific workloads.
By gaining a panoramic view of these insights, it’s possible to make your company’s IT projects more time-efficient, cost-effective, and results-driven than ever before. Let’s explore the core KPIs of this IT dashboard in more detail.
Total Tickets vs. Open Tickets: This particular KPI helps enhance the overall performance, efficiency, and delivery of your IT projects by carefully monitoring progress and workloads. It will form the foundations of your project’s overall success.
Projects Delivered on Budget: This invaluable KPI offers a detailed, accurate evaluation of your ability to remain within budget limits. If you learn how to stay within budgets, your projects will be all the more effective and efficient.
Average Handle Time: The average handle time KPI provides an invaluable insight into how well you’re handling your projects in term of timeframes, delivery dates, and deadlines. An essential component of successful project management.
2. Marketing performance dashboard
Without effective, target-driven marketing strategies, your business would never grow or evolve. This marketing dashboard template focuses specifically on your organization’s promotional initiatives. Agencies can also use it to monitor and manage the performance of campaigns and projects for their clients while creating comprehensive marketing reports used in this fast-paced industry.
The marketing performance dashboard is an invaluable project dashboard template as it gets straight to the heart of your promotional campaigns’ cost-efficiency, target-meeting capabilities, levels of engagement, and click-through rates.
This marketing dashboard provides an ideal overview of all your campaign performance data across every relevant marketing channel. Moreover, it showcases all of the insights you need to decide where to place your marketing budget in the most informed, strategic way possible. Let’s glimpse at the KPIs that make this integral dashboard tick.
Click-Through-Rate (CTR): An essential marketing metric, your click-through rate offers a clear-cut indication of how much your promotional content, assets, and communications are resonating with your target audience.
Cost-per-Click (CPC): This is an essential marketing metric as it offers a comprehensive overview of how much your various promotional ad spend is costing on each channel and how effective each activity is to the success of your project.
Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA): By understanding how much your various promotional initiatives are costing you in terms of acquiring a new customer or conversion, you can make strategic tweaks that can save you money while boosting your success. Your CPA will help you do just that.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Indeed, communication, intelligence, and insights from the very foundations of managing and delivering a successful project from start to finish.
If you want all of your projects to surpass your goals and drive your business to dizzying new heights, project management dashboards are without a shadow of a doubt the way forward. Embrace the power of project management technology, and great things will happen for you and your business.
If you want to start building your own dashboards and take control over your projects, you can try our software for a 14-day trial, completely free!
Plato famously quipped that “those who tell stories rule society.” This statement is as true today as it was in ancient Greece – perhaps even more so in modern times.
In the contemporary world of business, the age-old art of storytelling is far from forgotten: rather than speeches on the Senate floor, businesses rely on striking data visualizations to convey information, drive engagement, and persuade audiences.
By combining the art of storytelling with the technological capabilities of dashboard software, it’s possible to develop powerful, meaningful, data-backed presentations that not only move people but also inspire them to take action or make informed, data-driven decisions that will benefit your business.
As far back as anyone can remember, narratives have helped us make sense of the sometimes complicated world around us. Rather than listing facts, figures, and statistics alone, people used gripping, imaginative timelines, bestowing raw data with real context and interpretation. In turn, this gripped listeners, immersing them in the narrative, thereby offering a platform to absorb a series of events in their mind’s eye precisely the way they unfolded.
Here, we explore data-driven, live dashboard storytelling in depth, looking at storytelling with KPIs and the dynamics of a data storytelling presentation while offering real-world storytelling presentation examples.
First, we’ll delve into the power of data storytelling as well as the general dynamics of a storytelling dashboard and what you can do with your data to deliver a great story to your audience. Moreover, we will offer dashboard storytelling tips and tricks that will help you make your data-driven narrative-building efforts as potent as possible, driving your business into exciting new dimensions. But let’s start with a simple definition.
“You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built in the human plan. We come with it.” – Margaret Atwood
What Is Dashboard Storytelling?
Dashboard storytelling is the process of presenting data in effective visualizations that depict the whole narrative of key performance indicators, business strategies and processes in the form of an interactive dashboard on a single screen, and in real-time. Storytelling is indeed a powerful force, and in the age of information, it’s possible to use the wealth of insights available at your fingertips to communicate your message in a way that is more powerful than you could ever have imagined. So, stay tuned to see the top tips and tricks we will now explain to be able to successfully create your own story with a few clicks.
4 Tricks To Get Started With Dashboard Storytelling
Big data commands big stories.
Forward-thinking business people turn to online data analysis and data visualizations to display colossal volumes of content in a few well-designed charts. But these condensed business insights may remain hidden if they aren’t communicated with words in a way that is effective and rewarding to follow. Without language, business people often fail to push their message through to their audience, and as such, fail to make any real impact.
Marketers, salespeople, and entrepreneurs are today’s storytellers – they are wholly responsible for their data story. People in these roles are often the bridge between their data and the forum of decision-makers they’re looking to encourage to take the desired action.
Effective dashboard storytelling with data in a business context must be focused on tailoring the timeline to the audience and choosing one of the right data visualization types to complement or even enhance the narrative.
To demonstrate this notion, let’s look at some practical tips on how to prepare the best story to accompany your data.
1. Start with data visualization
This may sound repetitive, but when it comes to a dashboard presentation, or dashboard storytelling presentation, it will form the foundation of your success: you must choose your visualization carefully.
Different views answer different questions, so it’s vital to take care when choosing how to visualize your story. To help you in this initiative, you will need a robust data visualization tool. These intuitive aids in dashboard storytelling are now ubiquitous and provide a wide array of options to choose from, including line charts, bar charts, maps, scatter plots, spider webs, and many more. Such interactive tools are rightly recognized as a more comprehensive option than PowerPoint presentations or endless Excel files.
These tools help both in exploring the data and visualizing it, enabling you to communicate key insights in a persuasive fashion that results in buy-in from your audience.
But for optimum effectiveness, we still need more than a computer algorithm – here, we need a human to present the data in a way that will make it meaningful and valuable. Moreover, this person doesn’t need to be a common presenter or a teacher-like figure. According to research carried out by Stanford University, there are two types of storytelling: author- and reader-driven storytelling.
An author-driven narrative is static and authoritative because it dictates the analysis process to the reader or listener. It’s like analyzing a chart printed in a newspaper. On the other hand, reader-driven storytelling allows the audience to structure the analysis on their own. Here, the audience can choose the data visualizations that they deem meaningful and interact with them on their own by drilling down to more details or choosing from various KPI examples they want to see visualized. Thus, they can reach out for insights that are crucial to them and make sense out of data independently.
2. Put your audience first
Storytelling for a dashboard presentation should always begin with stating your purpose. What is the main takeaway from your data story? It’s clear that your purpose will be to motivate the audience to take a certain action.
Instead of thinking about your business goals, try to envisage what your listeners are seeking. Each member of your audience – be that a potential customer, future business partner, or stakeholder – has come to listen to your data storytelling presentation to gain a profit for him or herself. To better meet your audience’s expectations and gain their trust (and money), put their goals first and let them determine the line of your story.
Needless to say, before your dashboard presentation, try to learn as much as you can about your listeners. Put yourself in their shoes: Who are they? What do they do on a daily basis? What are their needs? What value can they draw from your data for themselves?
The better you understand your audience, the more they will trust you and follow your idea.
3. Don’t fill up your data storytelling with empty words
Storytelling with data, rather than presenting data visualizations alone, brings the best results. That said, there are certain enemies of your story that make it more complicated than enlightening and turn your efforts into a waste of time.
The first of these bugbears are the various technology buzzwords that are devoid of any defined meaning. These words don’t create a clear picture in your listeners’ heads and are useless as a storytelling aid. In addition, to under-informing your audience, buzzwords are a sign of your lazy thinking and a herald that you don’t have anything unique or meaningful to say. Try to add clarity to your story by using more precise and descriptive narratives that truly communicate your purpose.
Another trap is using your industry jargon to sound more professional. The problem here is that it may not be the jargon of your listeners’ industry – thus, they may not comprehend your narrative. Moreover, some jargon phrases have different meanings depending on the context they are used in – they mean one thing in the business field and something else in everyday life. They reduce clarity and can also convey the opposite meaning of what you intend to communicate in your data storytelling.
Don’t make your story too long, focus on explaining the meaning of data rather than the ornateness of your language, and humor of your anecdotes. Avoid overusing buzzwords or industry jargon and try to figure out what insights your listeners want to draw from the data you show them.
Before we continue our journey into data-powered storytelling, we’d like to further illustrate the unrivaled power of offering your audience, staff, or partners inspiring narratives by sharing these must-know insights:
Recent studies suggest that 80% of today’s consumers want brands to tell stories about their business or products.
The average person processes 100,500 digital words every day. By taking your data and transforming it into a focused, value-driven narrative, you stand a far better chance of your message resonating with your audience and yielding the results you desire.
Human beings absorb information 60 times faster with visuals than linear text-based content alone. By harnessing the power of data visualization to form a narrative, you’re likely to earn an exponentially greater level of success from your internal or external presentations.
How To Present A Dashboard – 6 Tips For The Perfect Dashboard Storytelling Presentation
Now that we’ve covered the data-driven storytelling essentials, it’s time to dig deeper into ways that you can make maximum impact with your storytelling dashboard presentations.
Business dashboards are now driving forces for visualization in the field of business intelligence. Unlike their predecessors, a state-of-the-art dashboard builder gives presenters the ability to engage audiences with real-time data and offer a more dynamic approach to presenting data compared to the rigid, linear nature of, say, Powerpoint.
With the extra creative freedom data dashboards offer, the art of storytelling is making a reemergence in the boardroom. The question now is: What is great dashboarding?
Without further ado, here are our top six tips on how to transform your presentation into a story and rule your own company through dashboard storytelling.
1. Set up your plan
Start at square one on how to present a dashboard: outline your presentation. Like all good stories, the plot should be clear, problems should be presented, and an outcome foreshadowed. You have to ask yourself the right data analysis questions when it comes to exploring the data to get insights, but you also need to ask yourself the right questions when it comes to presenting such data to a certain audience. Which information do they need to know or want to see? Make sure you have a concise storyboard when you present so you can take the audience along with you as you show off your data. Try to be purpose-driven to get the best dashboarding outcomes, but don’t entangle yourself in a rigid format that is unchangeable.
2. Don’t be afraid to show some emotion
Stephen Few, a leading design consultant, explains on his blog that “when we appeal to people’s emotions strictly to help them personally connect with information and care about it, and do so in a way that draws them into reasoned consideration of the information, not just feeling, we create a path to a brighter, saner future”. Emotions stick around much longer in a person’s psyche than facts and charts. Even the most analytical thinkers out there will be more likely to remember your presentation if you can weave elements of human life and emotion. How to present a dashboard with emotion? By adding some anecdotes, personal life experiences that everyone can relate to, or culturally shared moments and jokes.
However, do not rely just on emotions to make your point. Your conclusions and ideas need to be backed by data, science, and facts – otherwise, and especially in business, you might not be taken seriously. You’d also miss an opportunity to help people learn to make better decisions by using reason and would only tap into a “lesser-evolved” part of humanity. Instead, emotionally appeal to your audience to drive home your point.
3. Make your story accessible to people outside your sector
Combining complicated jargon, millions of data points, advanced math concepts, and making a story that people can understand is not an easy task. Opt for simplicity and clear visualizations to increase the level of audience engagement.
Your entire audience should be able to understand the points that you are driving home. Jeff Bladt, the director of Data Products & Analytics at DoSomething.org, offered a pioneering case study on accessibility through data. When commenting on how he goes from 350 million data points to organizational change, he shared: “By presenting the data visually, the entire staff was able to quickly grasp and contribute to the conversation. Everyone was able to see areas of high and low engagement. That led to a big insight: Someone outside the analytics team noticed that members in Texas border towns were much more engaged than members in Northwest coastal cities.”
Making your presentation accessible to laypeople opens up more opportunities for your findings to be put to good use.
4. Create an interactive dialogue
No one likes being told what to do. Instead of preaching to your audience, enable them to be a part of the presentation through interactive dashboard features. By using real-time data, manipulating data points in front of the audience, and encouraging questions during the presentation, you will ensure your audiences are more engaged as you empower them to explore the data on their own. At the same time, you will also provide a deeper context. The interactivity is especially interesting in dashboarding when you have a broad target audience: it onboards newcomers easily while letting the ‘experts’ dig deeper into the data for more insights.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches to storytelling with data. Create a dashboard storytelling plan that allows you to experiment, test different options, and learn what will build the engagement among your listeners and make sure you fortify your data storytelling with KPIs. As you try and fail by making them fall asleep or check their email, you will only learn from it and get the information on how to improve your dashboarding and storytelling with data techniques, presentation after presentation.
6. Balance your words and visuals wisely
Last but certainly not least is a tip that encompasses all of the above advice but also offers a means of keeping it consistent, accessible, and impactful from start to finish: balance your words and visuals wisely.
What we mean here is that in data-driven storytelling, consistency is key if you want to grip your audience and drive your message home. Our eyes and brains focus on what stands out. The best data storytellers leverage this principle by building charts and graphs with a single message that can be effortlessly understood, highlighting both visually and with words the strings of information that they want their audience to remember the most.
With this in mind, you should keep your language clear, concise, and simple from start to finish, using the best visualizations to enhance each segment of your story, placing a real emphasis on any graph, chart, or sentence that you want your audience to take away with them.
Every single element of your dashboard design is essential, but by emphasizing the areas that really count, you’ll make your narrative all the more memorable, giving yourself the best possible chance of enjoying the results you deserve.
Now that we’ve explored the ways in which you can improve your data-centric storytelling and make the most of your presentations, it’s time for some inspiring storytelling presentation examples. Let’s start with a storytelling dashboard that relates to the retail sector.
1. A retailer’s store dashboard with KPIs
The retail industry is an interesting one as it has particularly been disrupted with the advent of online retailing. Collecting data analytics is extremely important for this sector as it can take an excellent advantage out of analytics because of its data-driven nature. And as such, data storytelling with KPIs is a particularly effective method to communicate trends, discoveries and results.
The first of our storytelling presentation examples serves up the information related to customers’ behavior and helps in identifying patterns in the data collected. The specific retail KPIs tracked here are focused on the sales: by division, by items, by city, and the out-of-stock items. It lets us know what the current trends in customers’ purchasing habits are and allow us to break down this data according to a city or a gender/age for enhanced analysis. We can also anticipate any stock-out to avoid losing money and visualize the stock-out tendencies over time to spot any problems in the supply chain.
This most excellent of data storytelling examples presented in a retail dashboard will help you tell deeper, more intricate stories thanks to your marketing campaigns. These analytics enable us to adapt these campaigns per channel: we can see, by breaking down the Sales Volume by division, that women are the first point of revenue. Per city, New York adds up to almost 30% of the sales. All this information is important for customer retention as it is less expensive to retain the ones we already have than acquiring new clients.
2. A hospital’s management dashboard with KPIs
This second of our data storytelling examples delivers the tale of a busy working hospital. That might sound a little fancier than it is, but it’s of paramount importance – all the more when it comes to public healthcare, a sector very new to data collection and analytics that has a lot to win from it in many ways.
For a hospital, a centralized dashboard is a great ally in the everyday management of the facility. The one we have here gives us the big picture of a complex establishment, tracking several healthcare KPIs.
From the total admissions to the total patients treated, the average waiting time in the ER, or broken down per division, the story told by this healthcare dashboard is essential. The top management of this facility have a holistic view to run the operations more easily and efficiently and can try to implement diverse measures if they see abnormal figures. For instance, an average waiting time for a certain division that is way higher than the others can shed light on some problems this division might be facing: lack of staff training, lack of equipment, understaffed unit, etc.
All this is vital for the patient’s satisfaction as well as the safety and wellness of the hospital staff that deals with life and death every day.
3. A human resources (HR) recruitment dashboard with KPIs
The third of our data storytelling examples relates to human resources. This particular storytelling dashboard focuses on one of the most essential responsibilities of any modern HR department – the recruitment of new talent.
In today’s world, digital natives are looking to work with a company that not only shares their beliefs and values but offers opportunities to learn, progress, and grow as an individual. Finding the right fit for your organization is essential if you want to improve internal engagement and reduce employee turnover.
The HR KPIs (human resources key performance indicators) related to this storytelling dashboard are designed to enhance every aspect of the recruitment journey, helping to drive down economical efficiencies and improving the quality of hires significantly.
Here, the art of storytelling with KPIs is made easy. As you can see, this HR dashboard offers a clear snapshot into important aspects of HR recruitment, including the cost per hire, recruiting conversion or success rates, and the time to fill a vacancy from initial contact to official offer.
Videos have become the best way to connect with the right audience and followers. It’s not too hard to recognize why videos are popular these days. One sure reason is – they are an easy-to-digest format. Not only they are easy to understand but also offer your eyes a rest from the overabundance of text information available over the internet. That’s why the audience all across the world spends approx 1 billion hours to watch videos on YouTube every day.
It’s a no surprise videos can serve as a strong and stable base for a successful marketing strategy. Investing in this superb rewarding medium can do wonder toward engaging your target audience, building meaningful relationship & trust, and boosting your business conversions and sales.
Why Do You Need To Invest In Video Marketing?
Whether you are an eCommerce business, a dentist, a heavy equipment manufacturer, or an attorney, video marketing can surely help you take your business to new heights. This is because:
Videos are an attractive and engaging medium that most people prefer to consume
Videos are the best medium to convey valuable information to customers in no time
Videos help you in building trust among customers easily
Videos connect on a personal level
Videos engage consumers more effectively
Videos help you boost business conversions and sales
51.9% of marketing experts has named video marketing as the best content type with the best ROI and 70% of professionals report videos convert better than any other medium. This does not mean that creating promo videos is the answer to accomplish your business goals.
Your business success hinges on the right video marketing strategy, the right production quality, and high-quality video with the right message. It means you need to build an effective video marketing strategy first to differentiate your brand from others. So, incorporate high-quality video with targeted content into your business marketing strategy to drive the next big boom for your brand.
Let’s discuss how to build a powerful and scalable video marketing strategy for your business to make it a great success in the industry.
1. Determine Your Business Goal
First and foremost thing you need to understand is – your business goal. Ask yourself what is your motive behind creating a video. The goal of your video marketing campaign should be to educate, inspire, and educate your audience as this is the most memorable and shareable content type. Your video marketing strategy depends on your business goals, so mention them carefully. Here are some common video marketing goals:
Introduction to your business
Building your brand awareness
Enhancing client loyalty
Selling your business products
Achieving new subscribers
You may also try to reach several business goals simultaneously. Always remember the more specific your goal is, the easier it will be to build successful video content.
2. Select Your Target Audience
Another important step is to select the right audience. Follow the steps to find your target audience:
Think about the people who are going to view your videos. What are their genders, ages, education qualifications, jobs, wages, and location?
Understand what these people are expecting from your video content. Is the content you are offering resonate with them?
What to do to make your video content as relevant as possible for your target people.
All these questions are very essential and you need to find a valid answer for each of them before beginning to create any video content. Stay active, open-minded, and adjust your ideas to the actual needs of people out there.
3. Select the Content Type
Decide which video content type would be appropriate for your target people and best fit for your brand needs and capabilities. There are several video content types available to pick from such as brand videos, demo videos, promo videos, educational videos, expert interviews, entertaining videos, etc. Never stick to one specific video content type.
Choose one depending on your business goals. You may mix up entertaining and educational approaches, create product demonstrations that connect with your business or try any other combo. For the best outcomes, keep your focus on business goals, try something unique to cover up your audience’s emotions, engage them to your brand, and turn them into your regular consumers.
4. Finalize a Publishing Platform
Once you decide the video content type, the next step is to choose the right platform to publish the same. The selection of the most suitable platform relies on your business goals, video content type, audience’s priorities, and several other factors. There a plethora of popular platforms online to post your brand videos including landing page, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, E-mail, and more. To get the most out of your video marketing campaign, select the most appropriate video content type and publishing platform for your video. Use an online video making tool to create stunning videos.
5. Promotion of Your Videos
Publishing your video on an online platform is not enough. Without the right promotion, no one is going to watch it. There are different ways that you may use to grab people’s attention and motivate them to view your published videos. From different promotional strategies like search engine optimization, target advertising, and cooperation with bloggers, you may pick any as per your content type and business goals.
6. Track Your Success
This is another important step you need to keep into consideration while building an online video marketing strategy for your brand. Measuring your business success on a regular basis is a perfect way to keep track of your performance. There are numerous KPI examples which you can choose from, but here are key metrics for measuring your video content success:
Number of views
Engagement and play rate
Sharing on social media
Feedback on content type
You may pick any metric to measure the success of your video content.
Are you ready to see what an effective video marketing campaign can do for your business? If yes then you need to understand the fundamentals of video marketing and there is no better way to understand than practicing.
Make a solid video marketing strategy depending on your business and targeted audience by keeping above mentioned tips in mind. Start making compelling business videos with an online video making tool, e.g. Renderforest. It is a simple, fast, and professional tool to create high-quality promo videos for your business and see a big and positive change in your brand.
Roman is the Chief Marketing Officer at Renderforest, a Content Marketing Specialist and an Expert in SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Link Building who enjoys sharing the experiences gained along working as a marketer and helping other entrepreneurs succeed. His works have been published on different blogs and mediums like Crazy Egg, Forbes, Upwork, ShareThis, etc.
Monitoring the business performance and tracking relevant insights in today’s digital age has empowered managers and c-level executives to obtain an invaluable volume of data that increases productivity and decreases costs. In fact, data has become the raw material that every business decision is based on while reporting tools create the environment to act on generated information swiftly and accurately.
Tracking the success metrics based on your needs, and the time frame you select while comparing your values can be done with simple yet effective scorecards. In this post, we will explain what is a KPI scorecard, when to use it, what is the difference between scorecard and dashboard, and KPI scorecard examples and templates from business scenarios that can be applied to different departments and organizations or used as a roadmap for online data analysis. Let’s start with a simple definition.
A KPI scorecard is a term used to describe a statistical record that measures progress or achievement towards a set performance indicator. It gives decision-makers the ability to combine specific metrics in order to gain an overview of a complete performance scorecard.
The Benefits & Features Of Scorecards
There are a number of business scenarios when they are useful, whether a specific KPI scorecard, performance scorecard template, or BI scorecard that utilizes a KPI software for generating valuable insights. Since there are 2 main (or umbrella) types, we will now explain the characteristics and benefits of each one.
1. Traditional scorecard
It provides an at-a-glance, general overview of an entire company, department, team or person. This ‘broadness’ is completely dependent on the goal that is set, whether from a client, or internal manager. Benefits of these performance scorecards include:
Time period: This kind, or a KPI scorecard, has a time period as a basic necessity. Time periods can show previous time periods or just an overview of a static one.
Grading systems and totals: The performance level is based on a grading system, for example, of an employee that summarizes his or her scores to the overall objectives through an employee scorecard template we will discuss later.
Comparisons: They can vary between people, departments, set goals or previous goals, or budgets.
2. Balanced scorecard
It expounds on the entirety of the company’s workings, not only the external sales and services, for example, but also the internal perspectives. Often it is called also a balanced scorecard dashboard since values can be presented on a dashboard. It includes top indicators per perspective (usually the most measurable KPIs). Objectives and goals are clearly written (i.e. cut spending or increase revenue) while targets are included as numeric future values to show the comparison between current status and target, or comparing with the previous values. It must also include current values within a set time frame.
The benefits include:
Enhanced strategic planning: If a BI scorecard is used, it can improve strategic communication between the cause and effect relationship. That means that building a strategy and identifying outcomes can be clearly correlated by structuring a complete business picture.
Improved management decisions: By using a KPI scorecard template, a company is forced to create scorecard metrics for their strategic goals. This will ultimately ensure that managers measure what actually matters and thus increase the quality of information needed to make better KPI reports and data-driven decisions.
Advanced performance reporting: A structured approach by using performance scorecard examples that we will explain later, enables companies to enhance the KPI management processes that bring transparency of information internally and externally by creating meaningful management reports.
These are just some main characteristics and benefits that brings value to the company’s performance and decision-making processes.
Often times, scorecards and dashboards are used as synonyms, especially a balanced scorecard dashboard, but we have to differentiate the two since they do have some similarities and can be connected, but they are 2 different sets of data analysis and performance tracking. Let’s take a look at that in more detail.
Scorecards vs Dashboards In Business –
What Is The Difference?
Many people talk about ‘dashboard scorecard,’ but does this expression even make sense? There are numerous differences between scorecard and dashboard, and now we will concentrate on the most prominent ones to get a distinct picture of the two.
Purpose and updates: The purpose of an online dashboard is to monitor performance while a scorecard is concentrated on managing the performance. Professional dashboards have integrated intelligent alarms that monitor data on a real-time basis while scorecards do that periodically (daily, weekly/monthly/quarterly). Let’s say you’re sitting on a meeting, presenting data to relevant stakeholders. A dashboard will immediately set an alarm (during the meeting) if a specific business anomaly occurred. A scorecard will tell you the same information, but one week later. On the other hand, on a KPI scorecard template, you could see how much values you miss until you reach the set targets and, therefore, you can decide on which steps you need to take.
Decision nature and influences: A live dashboard is used daily in companies as they provide and offer an easy to access operational view of success while scorecards focus on companies policies. Data in dashboards are used to provide more efficient day-to-day management of teams, expenses, and resources while scorecards always compare the performance to the set target values. While there are numerous types of dashboards which can also be used for different business needs and interconnect with scorecards, it might make sense to use both to get the most out of the business information and overall picture.
Measures and parameters: Scorecards are most commonly focused to track KPIs in comparison to a set target. However, since their data is not updated on a real-time basis, they can only look into this information periodically, as mentioned earlier. That means that scorecards will often aim to the overall progress (towards meeting targets or measuring the efficiency of a particular department) and strategic goals relative to KPIs, thus enabling managers to make informed decisions on a larger scale.
It is common to use the term dashboard scorecard since the two can be interconnected, as mentioned, but here is a visual summary of scorecards vs dashboards to get a clearer overview of the differences:
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We have established the definition, general characteristics, benefits and the difference between scorecard and dashboard. Now we will discuss and focus on business scenarios they can and will improve, if used correctly, and how.
When To Use Scorecards?
Real Business Examples Explained
Our first example below is a balanced scorecard that could be used for a large or a mid-sized company. We have made an overview of the financial goals, learning and growth, customer and internal objectives.
1. Balanced scorecard – how is my company performing?
Let’s see what this example is telling us by starting with the time frame and financial objectives.
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We have set the target date as December 2018, and we can see on the top of the example above that the current time frame combines the first 11 months of the year. On the scorecard, we can see how, and if, our goals are being met (or not).
In the financial objective, we have set our yearly targets to increase the total revenue, the net profit, profit margin, and profit per customer. The first column shows that our target was set on € 5.458, and our current target shows we have reached € 6.197. The final column shows that we have achieved the target, and even exceeded for 13.5%. Mission accomplished.
Now let’s take a look at our goal to increase the profit margin. We can see that we have one month left to reach the set target of 25.5%, but we are on the margin of 23%. It is unlikely that we will be able to do so in just a month (we miss almost 10% to achieve it), so our line color at the right side of the scorecard shows the corresponded likelihood (you can also see the full legend at the bottom of the scorecard). Overall, we can say our financial objectives are performing well, with setbacks in the profit margin that we can use for next year’s planning and business adjustments.
Let’s go to the customer objectives: increasing the number of active customers and signups, sustain customer retention and improve the overall satisfaction. We see that these targets are not likely or very likely to achieve. It would be possible to increase the number of active customers by launching a marketing campaign that will focus on this goal, but we see that other targets are unlikely or even very unlikely to reach. We can notice that we even lost customers and our goal was to sustain the retention. We fall short of 14.6% and to reach this target within a month, it would be extremely hard, not to say impossible. Our customer satisfaction also dropped by 14% and to improve it in such a short time frame, we can comfortably say it will not happen, and the red line on the right clearly sums it up.
The same analysis we can apply to the learning and growth, and internal objectives. Some of the targets are very likely to achieve, some unlikely. This can help in our strategic planning for the next year, and to see what kind of setbacks we had and how to improve them. If we dig deeper into the daily operations and performance, we might be able to define specific causes that have affected these results.
That being said, our next example will focus on the specific performance of an agent working in customer service.
2. Performance scorecard – benefit from employee scorecards
One of our performance scorecard examples provides a general overview of an individual or departmental overall performance. Let’s see this through a visual example.
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Meet Sophie. She works in customer service in Texas, and her overall performance is superb. She has 18 points above target and she is the second-best customer service agent in the year 2018. Let’s explore what she can teach her colleagues and where she could improve herself even more through an employee scorecard example.
The manager of the department has set the weighting of her grading system based on percentages that are important to the overall positive performance of the department. Her specific performance is divided on the gradings set by averages, customer focus and the weekly call cycle (also the average number). These main gradings are distributed even more into detailed aspects during a set time frame, in this case, the year 2018. Her target numbers are followed by her actual, so she and her manager can clearly see the exact difference in performance. The next column shows how much she is off target (also exceeded), and the overall score. If her manager would go into details, s/he can suggest how to adjust her response time and calls per hour to increase efficiency. We can see that her customer retention is 20 points above target which means she could talk to other colleagues who don’t perform that well and share her tips and tricks. Her solved issues are also on a high level of performance which is extremely important in a customer service role.
Her manager can easily conclude that Sophie is a top performer, and this employee scorecard template shows exactly in which aspects.
This employee scorecard example can be also used during and throughout a project or at the end of the project looking back. It is a compact view for project managers, department leaders and top executives to see how efficiently, successfully, and within expectations, the project or employee performance is progressing.
Let’s go quickly to our final performance scorecard template and see what kind of scorecard we can create that can be included in a comprehensive social media report.
3. Marketing KPI scorecard for social media
This is one of the KPI scorecard examples that is focused on marketing activities performed on social media. We can see an overview of 4 different social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Let’s see how do we perform against our set targets.
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On Facebook, we have defined that our followers’ target number is 2500. We can clearly see that the actual number is 2400, and that we miss 4% to reach our goal. If we compare it to the previous period, we can definitely conclude that we have increased the number of total followers by 2.3%. The same we can apply to the number of impressions, link clicks, and engagement. The graph below shows us the trend of our CTR during a 6-month period. If we see that all of our other scorecard metrics have achieved our set targets, we can create a campaign that will focus only on increasing the number of followers and therefore complete all of our Facebook objectives.
Similar social media KPIs can be found in other platforms as well, enabling us to adjust our campaigns accordingly.
Gather Your Data With Scorecard Reporting
Scorecard reporting includes all the information we have discussed in our examples and information about objectives, measures, and projects. It can also include follow-up tasks from the last meeting, and is usually reported on the next team leadership meeting. How much into detail a manager should go, it depends on the overall objectives and selected scorecard type. Scorecard reporting is a great way to present a complete overview of the scorecard status and any additional information a c-level executive might want to share.
We have explained what is a KPI scorecard, provided real business scenarios that can be used in enterprises, mid-sized and even small businesses. Now it’s your turn to get in action and create your own scorecard with our software which you can try for a 14-day trial, completely free!
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs
We’re living in the midst of the age of information, a time when online data analysis can determine the direction and cement the success of a business or a startup that decides to dig deeper into consumer behavior insights. In the digital age, knowing your customers on a more personal level is the most effective way of developing marketing communications, customer service reports or initiatives that offer genuine value and yield real results. By managing customer data the right way, you stand to reap incredible rewards.
With multiple big data cloud solutions already established in today’s market, it’s possible to use our own customer database(s) to analyze and measure the behavioral patterns, interests, demographic details, specific customer service KPIs, and any additional domestic information that our customers might have shared with us across various touchpoints. This consumer-centric information, if well-managed, can form the building block of a business’s long-term success. By gaining a deeper understanding of our customers’ individual personalities, pain points, and preferences, we can cater to their needs on a far more personal level – which is essential in today’s ultra-competitive digital business environment.
Customer data management is the key to sustainable commercial success. Here, we’ll explore customer data management, offering a host of practical tips to help you embrace the power of customer data management software the right way.
What Is Customer Data Management (CDM)?
Customer data management (CDM) is the process of collecting, analyzing, and managing your business’ customer data while solving your customers’ specific problems and provide valuable solutions to their issues while maintaining a superior level of customer satisfaction.
By delivering products, services, solutions, and content that offer real value to your audience, you stand to increase customer retention levels, improve brand awareness, and boost your bottom line.
Centered on leveraging consumer insights to improve your strategies and communications by using a highly data-driven process can also be referred to as Customer Intelligence (CI). If you wish to attract and retain your customers, it’s critical to gain a clear understanding of your customer. Adopting a CI-driven mindset is essential.
Customer intelligence is not only methodical but will also provide the following benefits to your business:
Creating customer loyalty.
The ability to visualize real-time market changes.
Enhancing your sales efficiency.
Improving the ROI of your promotional and marketing activities.
Developing more relatable, sustainable customer-driven business strategies.
Consumer-Driven Insights You Should Know
To highlight the importance of effective customer database management, here is a hand-picked selection of facts, figures, and stats that you need to know:
95% of senior executives feel that data is a pivotal part of their business strategy development process. A testament to the potential of client data management.
A moderate increase in Customer Experience (CX) driven by improved client data management generates an average revenue boost of $823 million over three years for a business with $1 billion in annual revenues.
53% of millennial consumers feel that store associates don’t have the tools they need to deliver excellent customer service initiatives like mobile devices for looking up shopper profiles and providing product recommendations. By managing customer data more efficiently, you will be able to improve your business’s customer-driven activities, both online and offline.
A recent study discovered that 49% of marketers utilize data to enhance the customer experience.
7 Best Practices For Customer Data Management
It’s clear that effective customer data management has the potential to maximize your business’s potential in a number of ways. To help steer your ongoing success, here are 7 customer data management best practices for your reading pleasure.
1. Invest in training for your employees
An employee that actively applies data analysis practices to their work can be as much as ten times more productive than someone with little or no practical experience in data analysis. The pivotal element that sets an experienced data analyst apart from a novice is the ability to understand the concept data on a comprehensive level, including the creation of a complete analytical report. This understanding yields a wealth of new resources and insights that can be used to enrich the business’s overall data-centric strategies. Invest in training for your business and IT staff – with their buy-in (and newfound skills), you’ll be able to conduct truly effective data management.
Smaller businesses should also consider the wealth of economical training options available today. The Internet makes it entirely possible to learn analysis through data analysis books and online courses, many of which are accessible at a low cost or free.
2. Use validation tools
Customer databases consist of millions of records, and each customer is equipped with their own address details, such as the zip code and other invaluable information. Records that fail to include this level of data can cause real problems in the communication process. When this situation occurs, address verification or validation tools can become incredibly useful – and it’s possible to integrate them with almost any leading verification software with popular CRM or ERM systems.
3. Appoint data control
Concerning client database management, your analysis should be divided into departments where only a handful of people have full administrative privileges. Unless you take the necessary precautions, you run the risk of having to deal with multiple non-common data entries that may make your stats, facts, figures, and metrics inconsistent.
A good example would be acronyms for countries – you may input ‘US’ into your system, but someone else might have inserted ‘United States’. Such inconsistencies can have a huge effect on the way data is organized through a host of different management systems within a company.
The best way to tackle this problem is to assign a special customer management group that knows all the necessary rules that govern your internal customer data creation. With the help of a decision support software, you may also expand this further into departments so that everyone is up-to-date on the right approach to customer data management.
Customer data is a state of constant flux, which is the number one reason to employ solid data monitoring principles. You may want to use specific notification techniques to maintain overall data quality and establish specific security policies that keep data organized and on point.
A bi-weekly scan of incomplete or erroneous records is essential to keep your database fully optimized and updated. Moreover, twice a week, you should also check your data for any unnecessary records and entries that should be cleaned – an essential component of client database management success. An online report generator can decrease the amount of time needed for these kinds of tasks and increase the quality of the data monitoring processes.
With concrete data monitoring principles, you are well prepared to get all your key metrics out of your data with a smart KPI software like datapine.
5. Focus on relevant data for relevant results
It’s easy to get sidetracked with customer data management and optimize the particular CRM system in such a way that every available source of data is being tracked constantly. But sometimes, you will only need the very surface of all our available consumer data to make the most sound decisions for your company.
It can be overwhelming for anyone in the sales department to come across a plethora of data choices when the only thing that’s really necessary is the understanding of which particular data set is most important for the business at any given time. To avoid these ‘data overload’ roadblocks, focus on implementing your sales report methods in a way that strives for better informational quality over data quantity – a priceless customer data management strategy.
6. Avoid data fragmentation where possible
When it comes to customer data management strategy, in addition to selecting your consumer data wisely (mining for quality over quantity), implementing a cohesive information collection process is essential.
While you might get the vast majority of your customer insights from a small handful of tools, platforms, or sources, without the ability to view, interact, and analyze with your data from one central location, your information could become fragmented, making it less effective.
It’s worth investing in customer data management software that allows you to collect, curate, and drill down into your consumer insights from one central location or live dashboard. That way, you will ensure cohesion and fluidity as well as a full and reliable view of the information that is most valuable to your business.
7. Visualize your data
90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual. Moreover, those who follow directions with illustrations thrive 323% more than people who follow text-only directions. By visualizing your customer data with the help of an online data visualization tool, aiming of using it to drill home an important set of insights or tell a story, you will make this all-important information widely accessible across the business.
If people can understand the data before them because it’s more visually digestible, they will be able to develop initiatives that will ultimately enhance the level of customer experience you offer your audience, resulting in increased commercial success.
To put the power of data visualization into a real-world perspective, here are some data visualization examples that you need to explore.
Customer Database Management Examples
By leveraging the right customer database management system for your organization, you will be able to improve your marketing communications, sales initiatives, and customer experience efforts.
While we’re on the subject, here are two examples of customer data management software dashboards based on marketing and service.
1. Marketing Performance Dashboard
A working example of customer data management software (or customer data management system) in action, our marketing dashboard template hones in on the key areas of your customer-driven strategies and promotions with a view of making them more valuable, effective, and economically efficient.
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By offering a digestible snapshot of marketing KPIs including CTR, CPC, and CPA, you will be able to sharpen your marketing initiatives to make them more economically viable as well as identify any weaknesses to touchpoints such as your website and landing pages to make your communications more engaging, inspiring, and results-driven.
2. Customer Satisfaction Dashboard
There’s no doubt about it: customer satisfaction is one of the most important elements of ongoing business success. Keeping your customers happy and engaged is the best way to foster brand loyalty and grow your audience over time. Our customer service dashboard will help you do just that.
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Net Promoter Score
Customer Effort Score
With a mix of KPIs that help to monitor, measure, and analyze the success of your consumer-centric efforts in a host of areas, this client database management dashboard (or customer data management system) will help you boost your brand reputation, increase your customer retention rates, and grow your profitability indefinitely.
“Customers are assets to be cared for and nurtured.” – Jeanne Bliss, author of Chief Customer Officer
Although as a digitally transformed species, we’ve come an incredibly long way in recent years, we’re still on a big learning curve concerning the analysis of key consumer metrics and the best customer data management strategy. Customer data management is continually evolving, so we have to work with our current capabilities to avoid the mistakes that could cost us our budget, and most importantly – our customers.
But by following the customer data management best practices, working with the right customer database management system for your organization, and using this wealth of invaluable insights to your advantage, you will be able to reach out and connect with your audience on a deeper, more meaningful level than you ever thought possible – and that, modern business warrior, is priceless.
To summarize, here is the list of customer data management best practices:
Invest in training for your employees
Use validation tools
Appoint data control
Monitor your data
Focus on relevant data for relevant results
Avoid data fragmentation where possible
Visualize your data
Are you looking for more consumer-centric wisdom? Try our software for a 14-day trial, completely free!