Building a robust Information Ecosystem using KPI Dashboards

Here’s an interesting piece of trivia. IBM once reported that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created everyday, worldwide. However, nearly 90% of that structured data goes unanalyzed. This data is known as dark data.

Now let’s switch gears to your business. A sizeable volume of data flows in and out of your business everyday. But is your analytical infrastructure helping you harness the power of that data, or does it remain dark?

Even a marginal drop in the dark data percentage can unearth powerful insights for a business. But for this to happen, it’s vital for businesses to have a robust information ecosystem.

The dumbbell model is a simple framework that describes the key attributes of an information ecosystem:

The dumbbell model is made of five components—and in this blog, we’ll learn how KPI dashboards are instrumental in building these 5 components to create a robust information ecosystem. For this, we’ll be using Zoho Analytics. 

Adoption

The need for data-driven decisions is propelling the adoption of BI among business users who are often not very tech-savvy. BI and analytics are no longer limited to senior management staff, as businesses are witnessing a spike in adoption across hierarchies.

However, the technical know-how that some analytical infrastructures demand builds tremendous human dependency for analyzing data, leading to siloed analysis. So how can information ecosystems be built to cater to the data needs of non-technical users?

The answer lies in no-code. Give business users a platform to build their own dashboards without having to write a single line of code. For example, the drag and drop feature in Zoho Analytics helps users easily drag and drop all necessary reports into a dashboard builder. It gives them the freedom to add as many reports as they want, and resize, reposition, and align them however they please. This user-friendly dashboard builder can help business users build their ecosystem exactly how they want it to be.

One version of the truth

The adoption of multiple business applications by organizations is driving the need for cross-functional analysis. And the growing importance of end-to-end business insights is mounting pressure on this analytical machinery to provide a vantage point for effective decision-making.

However, multiple unconnected sources force users to use ad hoc applications to analyze data. This potentially localizes business efforts, leading to unsynchronized actions across teams. How can businesses create a vantage point in their information ecosystem for informed decision-making?

The key to this lies in the unification of data. The platform should enable users to visually analyze multiple variables from a single standpoint, to understand the impact of one variable on the other.

For example, by analyzing the customer satisfaction rate from a help desk application against the cancellations from a subscriptions application, within a single dashboard, businesses are able to see the impact one metric has on the other. Similarly, any data-agnostic platform can help you fetch data from multiple data sources to create a vantage point within a dashboard for better decision-making.

Insights

Teams see the value of managing an information ecosystem, if it can feed them with relevant insights. The ecosystem should help in extracting quick and precise insights for faster decisions.

However, a unidimensional approach towards analyzing data downplays the ability of a robust information ecosystem to provide diverse and powerful insights. Some day-to-day practices can lead to insights getting scattered across teams within an organization. So how can businesses turn an information ecosystem into a treasure trove of insights?

This is possible if businesses can adopt some best practices in building a dashboard. For example, you should have your mission-critical metrics analyzed in the form of widgets, stationed at the top of your dashboard. This can help users instantly understand things without having to scroll through the entire dashboard. The reports that follow the widget can then further unwrap the story.

Start with the most important set of reports that relate to the KPIs on the widgets. The dashboard can then include the other reports that complete your story, and be further customized by applying themes that make it more presentable.

One major takeaway is to have different dashboards for different users within the same team. For example, a country sales head may not track all the KPIs a regional sales manager would want to closely monitor. It’s good to have separate dashboards to keep your insights live and flowing.

Collaboration

It’s crucial to collaborate to achieve a common goal. Real-time collaboration can help teams make faster decisions. And though decisions can be made faster, they’re not made in a single step, but rather, they go through a series of steps. It’s essential to give contextual insights at every stage of decision-making. Furthermore, making your metrics available on-demand is a key factor in determining a team’s success.

However, long and inconclusive meetings, unanswered emails, and a lot more, can delay decisions. This lag in communication also contributes to ineffective decision-making. How can businesses build collaboration into an information ecosystem?

The advanced collaborative features on a dashboard make it possible. For example, these dashboards can be instantly shared with individuals or teams, and fine-grained access controls ensure high levels of data governance within organizations. These dashboards can be easily embedded in the context of an application’s workflow, websites, webpages, and more, to feed teams with contextual insights at every stage of decision-making. And contextual commenting enables teams to collaborate quickly and in real time. These can also help businesses build a culture of teamwork with an organization.

Accountability

An information ecosystem needs to have accountability built into it, as it’s important for business leaders to build data-backed accountability within teams.

However, the element of subjectivity plays a crucial role in building accountability within organizations. Some teams will spend time on building logic to build accountability. But this can potentially harm the businesses’ performance in the long run. So how can an information ecosystem build accountability within organizations?

If we can combine all the attributes of a robust information ecosystem, leaders have all they’ll need to build accountability. These data-driven dashboards can back leaders with the necessary insights to ensure data-backed accountability.

In today’s data-driven world, KPI dashboards are becoming an indispensable business enabler by helping businesses build robust information ecosystems. As business leaders, it’s important to look out for these attributes while choosing a platform that can help them build such a system. 

Learn more about our dashboards here. 

Sign up for a free Zoho Analytics account.

Watch our webinar on “KPI dashboards—an indispensable business enabler.”

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