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7 Best Tools for Creating a KPI Dashboard

posted on 20-3-16-Mon 16:17
What is a KPI Dashboard?
Why is a KPI Dashboard Important?
Tips for Creating a KPI Dashboard
Use These 7 Tools to Create a KPI Dashboard
Final Thoughts

Business managers have many tools at their disposal that help them make informed decisions. These decisions affect the growth and profitability of the entire company. One of the most important tools for the job are key performance indicators or KPIs. They can tell the manager the overall performance of the company (high-level KPIs) or even how specific employees and/or departments/teams are performing (low-level KPIs).

However, business managers don’t always have the time to wade through a lot of collected data on each metric. They need an organized and summarized view of how the company is performing to quickly gain insights and enact decisions. This is where KPI dashboards come into the picture.

This requires picking the right KPI software or dashboard. And unfortunately, there are a lot of them out there that can make the task of selecting one a headache. That is why this article will list down seven of the best KPI dashboards to make the process easier. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

What is a KPI Dashboard?

Before we start listing the best KPI dashboards, let us define what a KPI dashboard actually is. Simply put, a KPI dashboard is a way of visualizing all the company’s most pertinent key performance indicators in one place, giving management or anyone in need all the information they need for prompt and accurate data-backed decision making.

All the relevant indicators are gathered and organized into a single dashboard or multiple dashboards. And KPI owners are tasked with updating and reporting on their respective indicators and metrics in real-time. 

Think of it in the same way as the dashboard of your car. When you switch on your car, the dashboard immediately lights up, telling you if the car is in good enough condition to make it to where you are going. If you see that the fuel light is on, then you know that the car needs a refill. If the oil light is on, then you know that it is time to change the oil.

In the same way, KPI dashboards allow key decision-makers to determine if the company can reach its goals. It helps them make sure that the company is running like a well-oiled machine. And with markets being the saturated spaces that they are these days, this could mean the difference between life and death for the company.

Why is a KPI Dashboard Important?

By now, you are probably starting to understand why KPI dashboards are extremely important business management tools. However, there is a need to break down those advantages to drive the point home even further. Here are a few reasons why you need to make sure you are using KPI software in your company.

Easy to Understand

Rather than giving raw data to decision-makers, KPI dashboards provide data to the reader in an easy-to-understand manner. The information is summarized visually in a way that makes it easy for anyone to extract insights about the critical parts of their business. This is because the information is presented through a number of charts, graphs, tables, percentages and averages.

Save Time

With all the information located in a single location, KPI dashboards save managers a lot of time. There is no need for them to go about needing to understand various reporting tools and logging into various online and offline data collection systems to get the data they need. Being the time-pressed individuals that they are, this can lead to a whole lot of frustration.

Saves Money

Measuring financial KPIs can help with uncovering savings on costs. For example, measuring a financial KPI can reveal an area of business with excessive expenditure. This will allow decision-makers to strategize ways to use the company’s resources effectively to reduce costs and channel the funds to other areas where they are needed the most.

Helps Identify Issues

For a business to run smoothly, problems need to be identified and eliminated. This is something that looking at KPIs can help with. For example, by looking at the customer satisfaction score for your business, you can tell whether you are meeting the needs of your customers or not. If not, this will prompt you to look at the customer feedback to understand why customers are dissatisfied and take the necessary corrective action.

And by fixing the problems that have plagued the business in the past, you ensure that they don’t affect projects you undertake in the future. That way, you ensure that the business is delivering consistent value all the time.

Helps Identify Strengths

Besides helping identify issues, KPI dashboards allow managers to see where the strengths of the company are. If certain indicators are showing performance that is well-above expectations, you can replicate the same conditions and even improve them to meet the next goal once the initial goal has been met. This can even uncover opportunities that were previously hidden.

Keeps Information Updated

With a KPI dashboard, managers can be certain that they are always looking at updated information all the time. Since KPI dashboards are linked to their respective data sources, whenever they are updated, the KPI dashboard also gets automatically updated. 

As everyone who has ever dealt with data knows, it does have a shelf life. With the risk of outdated data eliminated, decisions made from looking at KPI dashboards are always relevant and current. This allows the business to capitalize on opportunities as they arise and stay ahead of the curve.

Ensures Everyone is Working Towards a Common Goal

By looking at the dashboard, every employee and department/team can see how their activities are affecting the KPIs. This will ultimately tell them if they are helping the company move towards or away from its goals. If it is the latter, they will work harder to pull up their socks and make sure that they are in line with everyone else to help the company achieve its strategic goals.

Tips for Creating a KPI Dashboard

Now that you know what a KPI dashboard is and why you need it, let us outline some tips on how you can create an effective KPI dashboard. As long as you follow the below-mentioned tips, you will ensure that anyone who is looking at your dashboard gets the information they need when they need it.

Only Choose the Most Relevant KPIs

One of the biggest problems that many people make when creating a dashboard is including a lot of KPIs. It doesn’t matter whether they are relevant or not, they just include them for the sake of measuring them. This leads to the creation of long and unwieldy dashboards that managers find hard to understand, effectively making them useless.

Know Your Audience

When you are creating a KPI dashboard, you need to have your audience in mind. If it is for an individual or department/team in the company, then the dashboard should contain those KPIs that allow them to perform their activities daily. As for the manager, make sure the KPIs on the dashboard will give them all the information they need in order to make data-backed decisions.

You can also create a dashboard that is specifically meant for senior executives. This dashboard will contain those KPIs that will help them see how the company is progressing towards the strategic goals that they have set.

But to make sure that the KPI dashboard is suitable for its intended audience, it is a good idea to include the executives in the creation process. That way, you can make sure that important ones are included and the irrelevant ones are excluded.

Use No More than One Page Per Dashboard

The whole concept of a dashboard is to provide an overview of the most important information. With "overview" being the keyword, the dashboard should not get into too much detail that it will take the reader hours to understand what is going on. If that is the case, then what you have created cannot be considered to be the dashboard. With that said, make sure that all relevant indicators are able to fit on a single dashboard page.

Create Dashboards as Needed

You can't cram different KPIs into one dashboard, thinking that it will cater to everyone’s needs. There’s no way to reasonably fit all the relevant indicators for everyone in a single dashboard; it will likely end up being an indecipherable mess with many pages, which is bad. The best thing to do is to create a separate KPI dashboard for everyone, whether it is for the operational manager, sales team, marketing department or senior executives.

Avoid Making It Overly Complicated

KPI dashboards allow for one to get creative with the way they want to represent the data. But that doesn’t give one an excuse to go overboard. While the dashboard does need to be pretty, it doesn’t need to have an overly complicated design. This means you should not be liberal with the graphs, fonts and colors.

You are creating the dashboard for the purpose of quickly communicating information in a visual manner. This is not the time to impress and dazzle readers with your design skills. So it is best to keep the layouts simple, colors consistent and the visual data representations to a minimum (but still enough to convey the message).

Don’t Forget to Share

Just because the data is meant for a specific individual or team in the company, it doesn’t mean it should be available only to them. After all, those KPIs affect everyone in the company, meaning they need to be seen by everyone. People should have the opportunity to provide feedback on the dashboard and contest the data if need be.

This will make sure that everyone in the company is working on the same goal. And when people see how well others are performing, it will inspire them to do better for the benefit of the company.

Find the Right Dashboard Tool

There are many ways to create a KPI dashboard. Some companies have gone as far as using MS Excel or Google Sheets to build some of the most incredible dashboards you have ever seen. However, doing it this way is a time-consuming and error-prone process. And the same is true when it comes to updating the dashboard.

The best way to save time and ensure the accuracy of the data is to find the right dashboard tool for your company.

Use These 7 Tools to Create a KPI Dashboard

When you search for KPI dashboard tools, you will quickly find a long list of options to choose from. You might find yourself clicking through many search results to find just the one you need. Luckily, the research has already been done for you, and these seven are the best dashboard tools that will definitely satisfy your KPI reporting needs.

1. Zoho Analytics


You can’t mention KPI tracking tools without mentioning Zoho Analytics . It is an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard creator with drag-and-drop functionality. And with its business analytics capability, it will ensure that anyone looking at the data gets something from it.

Here are the features of Zoho Analytics that make it a great tool for KPI dashboard creation:

  • You can connect it to any data source, whether it is a relational database like Oracle, a business application like Microsoft Excel or cloud service like OneDrive.
  • It has a variety of data visualizations, such as tables, charts, graphs and widgets.
  • It has Zia, an artificial intelligence that can deliver automatic insights on your key KPIs in minutes.
  • Easy sharing of dashboards for easy collaboration with control over user access rights.
  • Great security thanks to the Zoho Security Practices, which include privacy policies, backups and redundancy support.

Zoho Analytics has four pricing plans: Basic , Standard , Premium and Enterprise . Each one costs $22, $45, $122 and $445 a month, respectively. There is also a 15-day free trial to see if this KPI dashboard solution is for you.

2. Klipfolio


Klipfolio is one of the best cloud-based KPI dashboard creation tools you can find on the internet. It is built to help you get started quickly with dozens of pre-built dashboards and templates to choose from. Plus, it allows you to perform powerful and complex mathematical calculations on your KPIs with a click on a button.

Other than that, Klipfolio comes highly recommended because of the following:

  • Allows you to connect to over 300 data sources and easily share your dashboards.
  • Provides meaningful views of your KPIs for faster and better decision making.
  • Contains various advanced filters that helps you zero in on your most important KPIs.
  • Provides a historical view of how your KPIs are performing over time, allowing you to spot trends
  • MetricHQ is a powerful resource that allows you to learn about almost any KPI and metric you can imagine.

For businesses, Klipfolio has four pricing plans: Publish , Grow , Team , Team+ . Each of the plans cost $49, $99, $199 and $399, respectively.

3. Grow


With Grow’s business intelligence dashboard, this tool is geared towards monitoring those KPIs that help your business scale and become profitable. Grow is unique in the way that it displays data to the people that need it the most. Whether it is the CEO, sales manager or marketing manager, Grow’s dynamic dashboard will display the indicators they care about once they log in.

Here are a few more features that make Grow a force to be reckoned when it comes to creating dashboards:

  • Not only does it enable you to import data from hundreds of sources, but Grow also allows you to easily organize it and use it to create visualizations.
  • Allows you to store all your business data while keeping the most relevant data on hand for quick access.
  • Allows you to select the data you want to focus on and then automatically builds charts and graphs for insightful overviews.

Grow has no specific pricing plan since each business has different needs. However, you can request a quote, as well as a demo to see if Grow is a good fit for you.

4. Inetsoft


Inetsoft has a business intelligence web app with a dashboard tool known as Style Scope . It allows for data mashup (combining various data sets) on a single dashboard. Plus, people love it because it requires little technical experience to formulate great-looking and informative data visualizations.

Here are other features of Inesoft that make it one of the best KPI dashboards:

  • Highly interactive analytic dashboards provide intelligent drill-downs that help uncover root causes for decision-makers to take action.
  • The customizable analytical dashboard is extremely useful for creating unique dashboards that provide multiple perspectives and reveal hidden opportunities.
  • It has a mobile responsive web app, allowing for seamless KPI monitoring on the go.

Inesoft also doesn’t have a pre-prepared pricing plan for the web app. You are asked to request a demo so the team ascertains your usage and data requirements. But if you don’t want to request a demo, you can request a quote instead, and the team will review your business case.

5. SimpleKPI


Whether you are a small business or a large company, SimpleKPI promises to be the solution to all your KPI dashboard needs. As the name suggests, SimpleKPI is easy to get started. You just choose your KPIs, connect to a data source, tell SimpleKPI the most important KPIs for each user and it will create the dashboard for them.

SimpleKPI has the following features that make it highly recommended for creating KPI dashboards:

  • Over 40 kinds of charts, graphs and widgets for comprehensive data visualization.
  • Pre-built templates for tracking specific KPIs, from marketing to manufacturing.
  • Analytical functions that allow you to uncover the strengths and weaknesses within your business.
  • Connect to any database, whether it is yours or from a third party.
  • Mobile-optimized web app that allows for KPI monitoring and performance measuring wherever you are.

SimpleKPI doesn’t have any complicated pricing plans. By paying $99 a month, you get access to all of its features, including the ability to create unlimited users and KPI dashboards. There is even a free trial on offer for you to give it a spin before you buy.

6. Scoro


Scoro is all about helping your business save time by including everything you need in one easy-to-use solution. With Scoro, pulling data from previously scattered data sources, consolidating into one place and collaborating with your team to analyze and manipulate the data has never been easier.

Scoro is a great KPI dashboard tool for the following reasons:

  • Allows you to easily manage your team and projects to foster growth and profitability after extracting useful insights from your KPIs.
  • Can be integrated with hundreds of business tools and apps, from accounting software to cloud storage solutions.
  • It’s various analytical tools allow you to shift your business strategy from being reactive to proactive.

Scoro has four pricing plans that can suit your needs: Essential , Work Hub , Sales Hub and Business Hub . Each of the plans will cost you $26, $37, $37 and $67, respectively.

7. Smartsheet


Smartsheet is a cloud-based software that is all about project management. It allows for teams to capture and share data for making informed decisions in a systematic and organized manner. It also automates tasks so that everyone achieves more.

As a KPI dashboard tool, Smartsheet provides the following exceptional features:

  • KPI dashboards with live charts, graphs, tables and other data visualization tools.
  • Tons of free templates to work with, along with seamless integration with a wide range of business tools and apps.
  • A variety of collaboration tools that allow team members to do more, from allowing them to leave comments to sharing attachments to live chat (through integration with third-party chat tools).

Smartsheet has a variety of pricing strategies for businesses of all sizes. There is an Individual plan that starts at $14 per month, but it does not include the feature to create dashboards. For that, you will have to use the Business plan, which starts at $25 a month.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, a KPI dashboard is an invaluable tool for any business. Managers use them to glean important insights into the company’s performance quickly to make beneficial decisions. However, you also need to pick the right dashboard software to make sure the KPIs are organized and summarized effectively. Picking any of the seven dashboard tools mentioned above can help with that.