In a series of 26 interviews with CEOs, The Harvard Business Review identified 3 key issues which were worrying business leaders around the globe. A major challenge was finding and retaining the right staff, especially in today’s technologically complex world. Another big worry was the impact of operating in a global market – navigating this context and keeping a company of thousands of individuals unified was extremely difficult. Finally, managing change as the business came under pressure from compliance and legislation was another major challenge.
As any leader will know, there’s never enough time. When you’re managing organizational politics, attempting to steer the company to growth or differentiating your brand from aggressive competition; maintaining a focus on your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can often get left behind. Nonetheless, your KPIs should form the bedrock of your business, and be used by all your teams to measure their progress.
Of course, not every KPI is applicable in every business. Nonetheless, there are a number of key metrics that every CEO will want access to instantly, whether they’re on the plane, drinking their morning coffee or between meetings. Having these close at hand from your mobile or tablet helps maintain focus on the goals you’ve set your business.
Business Intelligence Shouldn’t Be Slow
Business leaders have traditionally ‘listened to their gut’ when it comes to key decisions. According to PWC, the highest performing businesses are those whose decisions are influenced by BI. And this needn’t require a whole team of data scientists. In fact, the best BI is that which is instantly available and can produce actionable insights. So, what might we expect on a CEO’s dashboard?
1. Net Profit
This goes without saying, but keeping an eye on net profit at all times is essential for business leaders. This might be visualized as a line graph or quarterly chart. However you decide to represent the data, it needs to provide detailed, regularly updated information.
Get added value by allowing this data to be broken down. With ReportPlus, you’d be able to tap your chart and see real-time data on profits by region, product type or team. As long as you collect the data somewhere, it can be incorporated into an interactive chart.
2. Progress Towards Targets
When you set quarterly, annual and long term targets, you need to keep your eyes on your goals. This kind of information can be represented visually with a simple comparison of ‘actual’ profits and ‘expected’ profits. You’ll be able to quickly compare how the company is doing, reassure shareholders and make crucial decisions.
3. Revenues and Revenue Growth Rate
By being able to instantly visualize how fast (or otherwise) your business is growing its revenues, it’s much easier to find out what’s going right and what’s going wrong. Need to lose some dead weight? Invest in a growing department? Respond to a new trend among consumers? Tracking your revenues closely is crucial and will help with those decisions. A line graph would again be particularly clear in this instance.
Whether it’s staff, machinery, IT or property, your expenses are one of the biggest drains on your long term success. A dashboard can break these down instantly so you can see where your biggest outgoings are, and then make decisions about what’s costing too much.
5. Revenue Per Employee
Revenue per employee is a little like Return on Investment. Are your people actually making enough revenue to justify hiring them? Are they working at 100% capacity or is there room for them to work more, instead of employing new workers? A revenue per employee dashboard helps you make these choices rationally.
6. Employee Engagement
Measured by an anonymous survey, employee engagement is a key BI factor for any CEO. If your people are motivated, enthusiastic and giving their work 100%, you can be sure your company will grow. By contrast, unengaged colleagues will be a detriment to productivity. It’s essential to keep regular tabs on how employees are feeling about their work.
7. Profit Per Customer
This is an easy one – how much are your customers spending? How this is represented on your dashboard depends on the market you work in – whether it’s B2C, B2B or B2G. By building better relationships with your customers and improving loyalty, you can expect profit per customer to increase.
8. Order Fulfillment Cycle Times
The faster you complete orders, the faster you can invoice. Further, rapid order fulfillment equals impressed and loyal customers. As a CEO, you should keep a constant eye on progress here, and a simple dashboard can represent delays clearly and help you identify obstacles.
9. Project Completion Rate
Projects are the lifeblood of most organizations. As above, this is something CEOs need to constantly monitor. A dashboard can help you more clearly understand what’s going on in the business and why certain projects have been delayed or are running late.
Downtime happens in any business; your suppliers might be late, staff get sick, machinery becomes faulty. While this is a business reality, once again, it needs to be constantly monitored. A dashboard can help you notice patterns and discover unexpected causes and implement the changes required to increase profits.