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Literature review

KPIs dashboards are the important tools that can help managers to measure efficiencies and inefficiencies in their organizations. It is difficult to determine the processes or practice, which may be redundant, do not work, and need improvement and change, without an effective testing.  KPI dashboards provide the managers with the needed control over their organizations (Kitchen 2010). It may be challenging to evaluate the business trends, and patterns in the market on the regular basis. However, long-term and short-term planning requires proper knowledge of the market trends, which is very critical for strategic planning (Carotenuto 2007). In addition, the dashboard facilitates the identification of correlations and data outliers, aligns the strategies and the organizational mission (Lavoie 2013). The tool provides necessary information for making the informed decisions.

The benefits of the dashboard cannot be achieved without a proper design (Carotenuto 2007). Thus, the current literature review investigates the appropriate KPI dashboard design. There are many challenges involved in designing KPI dashboards, including making a dashboard standardized, comprehensive and customized. Moreover, the next challenge occurs when the dashboard has to be customized for every department.

The design of the KPI dashboard starts with identifying the type of information and the frequency of update the decision maker requires (Osman et al. 2013). The decision-making needs shape the metrics, analyses and dimensions that the dashboard should capture. Moreover, every department has the unique information requirements (Parmenter 2015). Thus, it is important to acquire the priority list from the department heads. The second step involves gradually narrowing down the list to derive the KPI that should be captured. Such inquiries help spate important data needs from whimsical desires (A Guide to Creating Dashboards 2009). The third step is the actual design of the dahsboad to ensure consistence in the KIPIs reporting.

A well designed dashboard must visually support the ability to conduct timely analysis and make decision (Rasmussen Chen & Bansal 2009). Visibility of information is an important factor to consider when designing the dashboard.  The standards of the dashboard can ensure that it achieves suitability for respective departments and meets the requirements of the organizations. There are three mains aspects of quality standards when designing the KPI dashboard. They include correct metrics, executive support, and simplicity.

Metrics

As noted earlier, it is important to identify the appropriate measures at the beginning of the process to avoid challenges in measuring business objectives. The tools must use relevant data to measure related performance issues (Kerzner 2013).

Executive Support

Support from the management is always critical. Thus, it is important to have a senior executive to participate in the process. The executive can contribute an adequate understanding of the business, its challenge. Also a person in charge has authority to control the plan.

Simplicity

The dashboard should be simple to implement and use. It should base on a combination of various factors, such as operational and financial data of a specific business. According to Ganapati and Sukumar (2011), the results should be presentable as a single screen or page, and the dashboard should be simple. Finally, it should employ the appropriate medium to communicate the information effectively.

The implementation and the dashboard design ought to be complementary to ensure prefect performance. Thus, the implementation follows smoothly and the results are positive. On the contrary, poor designs lead to implementation challenge and absence of the desired outcomes.

Squeezing a lot of information into the small space can be a great challenge. If done effectively, the information can be displayed in a way that is immediately and easily understandable. Indeed, a well-designed dashboard can display a wide array of data in a small space, which increases the effectiveness of data communication. The goal is achievable through the visual design. Therefore, it is important to identify an appropriate visual design (Few 2006; Rasmussen, Chen & Bansal 2009). Categorization or prioritization of the KPIs can help in determining the required indicators.

Variable Values Importance Status
Role Strategic Analytical Operational Must have Must have Advisable to have Completed Completed Completed
Data domain Sales   Financial   Must have   Completed
Types of measures Balanced Scorecard   Non-Performance   Must have   Completed
Span of data Enterprise-wide (Client) Organization Individual   Must have Completed Completed Completed
Update frequency ETL configuration Must have Completed

Different perspectives to creating KPI have specific goals and significance (La 2012). For instance, the strategic perspective requires high-level strategies that can measure the performance and facilitate timely overview that can help the decision maker monitor the business’ health and recognize opportunities. The analytical perspective aims to support the interaction of the data. For instance, it should be able to drill the underlying meaning and details to ensure that the decision makers not only understands the processes, but also explains the causes (Eckerson 2011). The operational function ensures that the dashboard can grab the attention of the decision maker’s immediately when an operation passes the establish performance threshold (Malik 2005). Finally, it sustains the awareness of the proceedings.

It is also important that the dashboard has a minimal action. Thus, the dashboard enables the senior management to stay action-oriented without the need to analyze the data source. The rolling analysis provides management with sufficient time in the course of the analysis to prepare to the ultimate action.

The scope of the dashboard is important, as it should have only the needed information. Providing more information than necessary can decrease the quality. Also, the use of correct measures, and targeting of the correct time can improve the value of information. Establishing the scope early in the process simplifies the effort to display the necessary information on a single screen. Thus, it is important to avoid unclear goals and inaccessible data. Finally, information can be displayed in different colors (Gibson 2014)

Research Methods

Questionnaire Design

Several items were considered to find the best measures supported by the literature review. In order to contextualize the items, six questions will be given to the executives at the departments targeted by the project. Therefore, we will develop a questionnaire with six questions that seek direct answers from the respondents.

The Data Collection Process

The research process used various strategies to collect accurate information about the design of KPIs dashboards in the departments. The data collection procedure had to follow the steps to gather the information from the respondents. Firstly, interviews were conducted to gain an understanding of the KPI dashboard needs in order to support the next stage of the research, which the quantitative study. The aim of the interviews is to establish the need to adopt KPI dashboard. The approach significantly influences the quality of the tools. The interviews target the executive in the departments. The questionnaires with the six direct questions will be administered to the senior executives and decision makers in the departments. 

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