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Identify the most important KPIs for your dashboard

There is no doubt that Nordic companies want to continue their journey towards a more data-driven way of working, even though the rate of development slowed down in 2020 because of the pandemic. Gartner now predicts that management teams and CEOs will be putting data analysis at the top of their list of priorities in 2021 in order to remain competitive in the market.

In 2021, more and more organisations will need to start using their data in order to increase their competitiveness by making decisions and producing forecasts based on actual data. Tools that collect real-time data in visual dashboards enable organisations, management teams and business units to work in a more data-driven, proactive way.

A visual dashboard is used to measure goals or KPIs, creating an overview in real time of how you are performing against defined goals. But how do you create a strategy to find the right figures and KPIs for your digital dashboard? We share a few important factors here for identifying the most important KPIs for your dashboard:

1. Start with your overall goals

By starting with the indicators that are most significant for you and leading you on towards your overall business goals, it is then easier to break down the goals into interim goals, business area goals or unit goals. You then use a list of priorities to identify your most important KPIs, and it is in this phase that you define what is to be measured.

Example: Your top priority business goal is to drive growth. An appropriate KPI indicating progress towards this goal might be “1,000 new customers during 2021”. 

2. Decide which KPIs are to be visualised

In the next step, you can break down the overall goals and decide which indicators need to be visualised to be able to drive your work forwards. Which goals you choose depends on your company’s goals, your industry and history, and how you work with forecasts.

If you want to visualise a commercial status, it is a good idea to use quantitative KPIs that measure actual results based on data from your CRM or ERP system, for example. If you have group goals and personal goals, you might choose to break down data at group or individual level on the dashboard.

Example: Your sales organisation shall bring in 1,000 new customers every year, with each salesperson having a goal of signing up 20 new customers. The KPI might then be “number of new customers per salesperson per time period”.

If, however, you want to measure against a qualitative goal, such as the perception of your brand, it is better to use qualitative KPIs.

3. Collect high-quality data

To be able to measure and work with your KPIs using Business Intelligence solutions, you need to have access to data sources with good data quality. As a rule you will get reports reflecting the quality of the data that is entered. This means that if you put data that is of low quality or unreliable into the system, you will not be able to get good reports out of it.

The challenge to find good data is perhaps bigger than you might imagine. According to Gartner, many companies understand that they face a challenge in obtaining the right data, but they are at the same time unable to address this. One first step in determining whether or not your data is qualified is to set up a standard for what is good quality data and what is not. Once you have good, reliable data sources, it is not a big step to being able to visualise them on a dashboard.

4. Implement the work method in the organisation

One last step on the road that we are choosing to follow in this article is to get the whole organisation on board in working in a more data-driven way. A data-driven organisation is more competitive than others, and this trend will continue into the future. As data analysis is so valuable to the organisation, it is important that all employees should be able to understand and use the information, for example in a Business Intelligence report, associated with their role.

Make sure that employees understand the value of collecting, processing and visualising data in their own role, and you will move nearer to a data-driven culture in the organisation.


There are a number of challenges involved in starting to adopt a more data-driven approach and in finding reliable data sources. If you would like support along the way, Nordlo offers services in the field of Business Intelligence and guides you throughout your journey. One first step could be to read our guide to digitalisation services that can take your business to the next stage in its journey of digitalisation. 

Read more about digitalisation

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