What Are The Best KPI Dashboard Tools and Metrics

created on 20 May 24 Sunday 16:25

retail kpi dashboard

Performance management in the general world is an important aspect everyone is concerned about. It is not only in a business where performance is important. Talk of the workplace, home and even personal life where you set resolutions every eve of a New Year needs performance management. We often become curious and ask ourselves how far am I from the previous year or month. In fact, you always try and evaluate your progress. This evaluation and curiosity are what businesses have borrowed or assimilate from the individuals running the business.

In business, performance management is a huge field that requires close tracking and constant checking. KPI has narrowed this bulky work to ensure that you manage your performance with ease. When we talk of KPI it seems a generalized thing but for a business, we have high- level and lower-level KPIs that narrow performance tracking and nail it to a more specific process or department in your organization.

Today this subject of how important KPI Dashboard to the KPI performance management has come to my attention. First, I would like us to understand a few terms we will be using regularly when answering on the importance of KPI Dashboard. Let’s break our subject into KPI and Dashboard.

What is the KPI Dashboard?

kpi dashboard excel

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators; it also means the evaluation of measurable values to establish the key or crucial performance process, activities, departments, individuals or employees. This definition shows that KPI as a performance tool is concerned with only the key element in a business, it lays its emphasis on those key elements in performance. 

A dashboard, on the other hand, is simply a display or an interface where you can observe or read the metrics collected from various parts, field or department in which KPI is tracking. I can say it is an onsite or real-time interface that communicates to the user. KPI dashboard is meant to be understood at a glance.

Therefore, when you combine KPI and Dashboard we get our subject KPI Dashboard. So what is the KPI dashboard? KPI Dashboard is an interface that communicates or indicates the KPI metrics or data being tracked. If the KPI Dashboard is then an interface, this means KPI is a functioning body that tracks performance. A functioning performance tool with several parts that need attention, thus, placed in the dashboard like a car engine or a car as a whole functioning unit. 

KPI and KPI dashboard

As we said that KPI is a performance management tool that evaluates measurable values to establish and indicate the relationship between performance variables. This definition is telling you that there is a relationship between the KPI dashboard and KPI. Allow me to repeat the KPI Dashboard definition; it is an interface that communicates to the user on several performance aspects that KPI is tracking.

Therefore KPI and KPI dashboard are just but one thing. KPI is like a car or any functioning unit that has sub-units. I can simply say it is a system. We all understand what a system is (a functioning unit with subsystems) and this subsystem is the likes of the KPI dashboard. Other components that make KPI functional or complete are KPI metrics, department and software like Zoho and smartsheets.

Every system for it to be functional should have a central control unit that communicates to the rest or that commands the whole system. Take for instance a human body as a system, the brain is the central point where every single unit takes command from. The same brain communicates i.e. it gives and receives information. In KPI the software controls all the process and tracking as well as monitoring the changes and alerts.

KPI dictates what the dashboard will indicate according to what is designed to track, t gives dashboard the elements that will indicate. Once the KPI metrics have collected the data, evaluates and establishes a relationship it has to be reported or presents or communicated to the responsible staff. It is through the KPI Dashboard that every responsible staff will read or note the establish information about these variables you are tracking. The interaction that KPI metric has with the KPI dashboard is what makes up the organization or departmental KPI.

KPI Dashboard examples

Several KPI dashboards are depending on the objectives or the process that the KPIs are tracking. In most cases, the activities define the Dashboard and therefore I will discuss a few common examples to help us understand better.

1. Sales Dashboard

The sales dashboard is designed to indicate or display the different levels of sales metrics and KPIs across an organization. The indicators on the sales dashboard interface are purely sales variables like sales rate and sales percentage increase

2. Marketing Dashboard

A Marketing KPI dashboard also displays marketing metrics in a single point that only focuses on all your marketing channel activities. Examples of the data Marketing KPI dashboard will display are acquisition cost and the number of marketing researchers or personnel per region.

3. Financial Dashboard

Financial KPI is the priority KPI in an organization, they display financial variables. They focus on financial indicators that financial KPI are tracking. Your financial KPI dashboard is expected to have dashboard metrics like revenue increase rate, profit margin and tax rate per unit.

4. Human Resources Dashboard (HR Dashboard)

These are the HR KPIs metrics that evaluate HR performances. They display HR metrics like employee retention rate, employee absenteeism rate, percentage product rate per employee and more. In HR there is a lot of variables that contribute to performance and to ensure less time is spent tracking them you should have one central point where you read them from (dashboard).

These are the few examples of KPI dashboard you will have in your organization. Note that in every department or business unit, there is performance management and to manage performance you should have indicators. Therefore, when you talk of performance you have to focus your attention on the key elements and thus KPI.

A KPI dashboard brings you all the performance metrics track on one interface or display, on a single real time table where you can track them as they happen. I must say you will exhaust example when you exhaust your organization department and the key indicators you are tracking. Think of it as a human limit, that is it ends where you thinking ends. They are only limited by what you are tracking.

How does the KPI dashboard work?

KPI dashboard uses KPI metrics that you are tracking on your business, what your performance metrics produce is what is in the dashboard. The only difference between KPI metrics and dashboard is that; KPI metrics are data collected over a given period and analyzed to be presentable while the KPI dashboard displays these metrics as it happens in a tabular format that can be acted upon and understandable at glance.

Take for example a car is running short of fuel and the fuel indicator moves towards the empty tank mark indicator. Therefore KPI Dashboard indicates these metrics as it happens. You will get an alarm or notification on any significant changes in what you are tracking. Let's say you are tracking the Dollar change as your variable, the KPI dashboard software enables you to activate a notification on the significant change.

We often talk of KPI as if it is a manual written in a book or track through writing. KPI is a program that helps you track your performance. Some of the software that enables the KPI tracking is Zoho- which is software that contains word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, databases, note-taking, web conferencing and other applications that aid in management.

Software that helps the KPI dashboard to be efficient is the smartsheets service software. Smartsheet is a software service developed and marketed by Smartsheet Inc that offers collaboration and work management. It is used to assign tasks, track project progress. Manage other works and share documents.

This software helps your business manage and tracks performance as well as other works. In general, KPI is not a lone wolf in your business it depends on other software to be effective. Now you understand how KPI dashboard works, it simple to implement and get your performance going. 

KPI Dashboard tools

There are different software that provides real-time tracking and notification dashboard for your business that has proofed effective. Among the best dashboard software's you can use are;

Zoho Reports

Zoho Reports is a BI and analytics solution that allows you to create insightful reports and dashboards. Zoho top features are;

  1. Connect to any data source.
  2. Visual analysis
  3. Sharing and collaboration
  4. White labeling
  5. Scalable BI platform

The most interesting thing about this   Zoho Reports is governed by strong Zoho Security Practices, including support for redundancy, backup, confidentiality, and privacy to help ensure your data is secure and safe.


Grow is a reporting and BI dashboard software that helps to accelerate your growth. Its top features are;

  1. Connect to your data using integrations, databases, CRMs, financials, spreadsheets, and more.
  2. Select the data you want to build a customized chart or add pre-built metrics to your BI dashboard instantly.
  3. Set the Grow timer to refresh your data.

With Grow, you can get specific answers by blending, mashing, and comparing data from different sources – get insights tailored to your business.


Smartsheet links with third-party apps like Tableau, Excel, Qlik Sense, QlikView, and others by allowing you to deliver powerful data visibility and insights via the tools you already use.

  1. Share your work with other team members, or simply collaborate on a specific task.
  2. Set automated alerts to remind you (and others on your team) about upcoming tasks and approaching deadlines.
  3. Give teams a more visual way to work, communicate, and collaborate.
  4. Get a quick, visual status of their top projects, see summary reports on goals, view important deadlines, and follow links to key information

KPI Metrics

tools used to track kpis

A metrics, in general, is a number or ratio that represents a certain expression or quantity. The KPI metrics are data that quantify the performance being tracked by the KPI. Metrics exist in both numerical and ratios. In performance management data is collected so that they are evaluated and expressed in charts, graphs, and tabular information. This tabular information is the meaningful performance indicators used in decision making.

Note that metrics can be in numbers or ratios, for example, number of sales, revenue collected number of employees, number of processes in production channels and so on are all number metrics. These are simple data collected by count and are exact and simple in meaning, it doesn’t need any presentation or interpretation.

Ratio metrics are a metric that shows a relationship between two or more variables. Look at these examples of ratio metrics;

  1. Production rate - The production rate establishes the rate of production per hour or day. It can also be specified to the rate of production per employee or rate of production per machine. This is given in a ratio form.
  2. Conversion rate - This ratio metric gives you the rate of conversion per hour or maybe per day or individual. Ratio metrics use the number metrics by expressing the total number of converted raw materials over time take in conversion.
  3. Average order value - Average order value is established by using the total order value number metrics over the total number of orders placed in a given period.
  4. Average defect rate per production - Like any ratio, the average defect rate per product will be obtained by dividing the total number of defects over the total production turns or channels.

These are just a few examples to help us understand what metrics are. KPI metrics are not so different it uses the same since a metric never changes. It uses the same principle.

KPI Metrics Examples

KPI metrics have several various examples that can be recorded when tracking performance. Most of this metric is majorly based on the department or business unit they are found in. While there are no specific KPI metrics we are still able to have some examples we often find in our organization.

Remember that KPI is designed based on the requirements and problems that need to be addressed in your organization. I believe you still remember the three key factors that dictate the organization KPI. We said that the type of KPI you implement depends on the nature of your business, size and structure your organization adapts.

Like we have talked about metrics as numbers and ratios data, KPI metrics ratios are the most common and often referred to in every performance. I am not saying that number metrics are not used but I mean the number metrics are used to establish the ratio metrics and in performance ratios that make sense in performance evaluation. These are the various example you will encounter most in your business;

Marketing department KPI Metrics

The marketing department has a departmental KPI that tracks performances. Therefore the numeric data collected in the marketing departments are used in making the decision on the marketing strategies and evaluating performance. Let's look at Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA) as one of the metrics in marketing.

CPA is a marketing measurable metrics that indicate the cost a business incurs to acquire one paying customer on channel level or campaign. It usually indicated the effectiveness of your marketing team as far as the resources invested in marketing and the output. These metrics help in the evaluation of whether the marketing channels are performing or not.

The established relationship expressed in the ratio is what the KPI is tracking and indicated or displayed in the KPI dashboard. Such a marketing metric needs real-time tracking.

Human Resources KPI metrics

 The human resource department like the marketing department has a KPI to track performance. The employee contribution to the business objective is important and needs to be tracked. The worst Nightmare in business is to bush your employees; they will lose trust and morale. I know that a productive employee is the one that enjoys the workplace and has a boosted morale; this makes it essential to track and monitor your workers. I will use the Absenteeism Rate as our HR KPI metrics examples. 

When you want to know the competitiveness of your employee and their contribution towards the business objective you can track the rate of absenteeism. Maybe you have a problem with employee turn out and you want to track and understands on which day of the week they absent are. Your HR KPI will be tracking the number of an employee absent every day. This will then generate the ratio of absenteeism rate.

Another example is the Overtime Hours rate; this tells a lot in your business. If you invest a lot of resources on overtime to in achieving your goals I believe things will not end well. A KPI metric that tracks the rate of employee productivity over time or the number of employees willing to work overtime will help you track the overtime performance. When there is a high number of employees willing to work overtime when the incentive is there will tell that your employee performance towards the goal has failed.

Sales KPI metrics

Sales are part of marketing KPI metrics but as I said before that KPI focuses on the Key performance indicators, sales are the most performance indicator we often look at in business. Business depends on products to generate revenue and mostly we tend to say that we are not achieving when our revenue collection does not reflect a good profit margin.

Traders’ main objective is providing the product to the customer at a profit when products are not selling that means your objective is not achieved. Sometimes, products may not sell because the production cost and other expenses seem higher than the price the potential customer is willing to pay. This means that sales are the alarm or turning point of problem indication in every business. Below are the two sales-related metrics we are going to discuss

  • Sales Lead-to-opportunity Ratio metrics - This is a metric that establishes the opportunities that every sale lead results in. a ratio may be 2:1 or 1:2, which is in every 2 sales leads your business to engage in there resulting opportunity is 1 and vice verse. This has established the related sales lead that produces the opportunity. If your sales lead per opportunity target is 3 then the ratio metrics will be indicated in a KPI dashboard in terms of bellow average depending on how you set your KPI dashboard. 
  • Sales lead conversion Ratio - This sales conversion ratio means the result in sales from the sales leads put in place. Let's say you implement a sales lead and now you want to track how the leads are performing, the increased sales after the lead over the number of sales leads give you the sales leads ratio.

Logistics metrics

Logistic is an important activity that influences the business overall performance yet businesses ignore. Imagine the delivery timeline is missed; it will result in a lot of messes that will lead to customer loss. Meeting customers' expectations is a wide topic that has to be tracked closely.

Logistics performance also affects your business, not the customer's perspective only. Raw materials and stocks are the main determining factors of operations in product and sales businesses, every time you ran out of the two it means there is time wasted when waiting for. Time is money and every little time wasted is a loss to your business.

These are the two logistics metrics among the many that you can track.

  • Delivery Time – it tracks the time of delivery against the order time frame your business offers.
  • Transportation Costs – this tracks the cost of transportation incurred. You will be surprised to learn that there is a lot you can save on transportation cost through route planning. Ensuring your trucks do not run empty on the same routes or having two or more trucks going the same route when one would have served.

Information Technology metrics (IT)

IT is also a wide field that entails the storage, sharing, researching processing and analyzing business information. IT efficiency is then crucial to overall performance and it gives you the power to lead your competitors (information is power). The faster your received information on a variable the better you act on. In KPI the idea is the same, the KPI dashboard is there to provide real-time tracking of your performance so that you will get every performance standard moving forward.

An example here is the Average information Handle Time metrics. If the IT team takes a longer time to process or analyze requested information that means the handling time is low and the ratio of information handle per minute may be 1:5. This ratio will spell a huge performance problem, Imagine it is a piece of information regarding the available market and your competitor can analyze it.

Final Thought

It is human nature to think there is a lot past what they see and they do not want to let go of the feeling that something has a hidden meaning. Well KPI dashboard is meant to be interpreted as a real-time performance indicator. I want you to think of the KPI dashboard in simple terms, a car indicator that shows you whether the car is taking a left or right-hand curve on a road.

KPI dashboard is designed to display the progress of KPI metrics. We have talked about numeric metrics and ratio metrics. This numeric metric is raw data that is collected and times they seem to be random figures. When these randomly collected figures are combined and analyzed to provide ratio metrics they become meaningful information that is displayed in the KPI dashboard.

KPI dashboard software, there is a designed program that alarms whenever there is a significant change of action or variables. Therefore while you are thinking that the KPI dashboard needs to be interpreted it meant to be understood at a glance. Just take a look at it and record the meaning of the information as it is.