Six Steps to a Success-Oriented Dashboard

December 11, 2013

NetSuite dashboards(opens in new tab) give managers and professionals a quick and accurate format for viewing information that is important to their jobs. If designed appropriately, it can be an employee's best tool for staying motivated and on-task.

While each person's dashboard will be different, based on their job requirements and corporate goals, there are some common factors that go into creating highly effective dashboards using the correct analytics(opens in new tab). To help you get the most value out of your NetSuite home dashboard, follow these six steps:

Keep it focused.
Ideally, the number of portlets on your dashboard should be six or seven. That includes single indicative metrics as well as charts, headlines, meters and other components. If the dashboard becomes overloaded with items, it is likely to be confusing and overwhelming, not motivational. So start with only a handful of things you want to include, and work up from there. You can make use of links, shortcuts and underlying pages to provide additional information that you can drill down into later when you want extra details. Another problem with an overloaded dashboard is that it can take a long time to load, reducing your productivity. The more data that needs to be displayed, and the more searches or calculations that must be performed in the background, the longer you'll wait for your dashboard to refresh.  

Make it role-based.
People should see information that pertains to their job, not just to the company overall, except for comparison to their individual performance. These personal goals should then be comparable to the organization’s goals. So a sales person might want to see his sales growth over the year, and a comparison as to how sales overall are growing. Managers should have information about the performance of the people under them, so they can quickly step in and help someone who is falling behind as well as observe and try to replicate what the top performers are doing.

Pick KPIs carefully.
The three KPIs you select for meters on your dashboard will provide a concise view of your job performance. If your job is to optimize customer service, then you need KPIs illustrating how customer service standards are doing, and how well resources are being utilized. 

Vary your information categories.
You don't want to stare at long lists of numbers, or half a dozen charts. So create a balanced mix of different types of information. This should include KPIs, reminders of important calendar and workflow items, short-term numbers pertinent to your job, plus other items you need -- a message board with your top five contacts, a news ticker with breaking industry news, or maybe key project updates.

Create customer reports.
It's easy to create a custom search and save that search as a shortcut on your dashboard. This a great way to ensure that you have quick and easy access to critical data that you use all the time. With just one click, you can view the latest customer information from a shortcut on your dashboard.  

Keep it colorful.
You're going to be staring at the dashboard a lot, so use attractive colors and graphics to make your dashboard eye catching and easy to view. Use your favorite color scheme, and pick one or two KPIs(opens in new tab) that can be turned into a catchy meter or bright graph.  

With the right planning, your dashboard can be a valuable tool for maximizing your work day.

To learn more aboutcreating “smart dashboards,” attend our SuiteAnalytics: Building Executive Dashboards(opens in new tab) course. In just two hours, you’ll learn techniques and best practices for creating success-oriented dashboards.

-Lesley Avann-Tanner, senior curriculum developer at NetSuite

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.