Tomorrow’s KPI Dashboards Will Be Your Boss

As KPI dashboards evolve, they’re transforming how executives manage themselves.

Reading Time: 9 min 


Strategic Measurement

Strategic Measurement examines the role of key performance indicators (KPIs) as a leadership tool.
More in this series

Look at your watch: Does it just tell time, or can it also display how many steps you’ve taken? How about help you schedule texts and navigate city streets?

The same smartwatch technology that tracks heartbeat and calendars can also enable real-time display of the KPIs that effectively run your business. Digital device innovation enables “KPIs everywhere” — for example, “Alexa/Siri/Cortana, how does this week’s ARPU compare with last week’s?” Such mobile KPI platforms won’t just transform how we think about dashboards — they’ll transform leadership behavior.

However, as stated in our recent research report, “Leading With Next Generation Key Performance Indicators,” we were startled to find that only 45% of survey respondents can monitor KPIs on their smartphones. That seems unsustainable. Doing KPI “drill-downs” — that is, examining the KPIs’ underlying data components — on smartphones should be as simple and easy as booking a flight. Alexa, for example, should have the “skills” to respond to KPI update requests. The technologies exist, and the conceptual and technical ambitions for dashboards are growing. The most sophisticated KPI-driven organizations in our global executive survey say they constantly look for ways to get greater value and insight from their KPIs.

Expanding how people engage and interact with dashboards will expand how people engage and interact with KPIs. That’s powerful. As one contemporary definition puts it, “A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance.” But multimedia device innovation simultaneously extends and subverts that design ethos. Dashboard infographics have just begun to reflect and respect interactive potential.

As surely as innovation in automation and autonomy will reframe airplane and automobile dashboard design, machine learning and AI algorithms will reinvent how KPI dashboards can steer organizations. Dashboards are becoming smarter, more anticipatory, and more personalized. The visual remains vital, but it’s just one part of a KPI platform ecosystem.

The Netflix-ification of KPI Dashboards

The same techniques and technologies that have transformed video viewing will transform KPI engagement. KPI dashboards will be designed to explicitly learn about their users, make data-driven recommendations, and, yes, encourage KPI “binge-watching.” More than 60% of Netflix survey participants, for example, say they binge-watch regularly.


Strategic Measurement

Strategic Measurement examines the role of key performance indicators (KPIs) as a leadership tool.
More in this series

More Like This

Add a comment

You must to post a comment.

First time here? Sign up for a free account: Comment on articles and get access to many more articles.

Comments (2)
michael schrage
thanks for your note....i get your point but - in terms of the underlying data/algorithms/recommendations - the comparison holds up pretty well...the key issue: what do 'we'/the executive 'want' their dashboard to 'recommend'? are spot on in observing that netflix recommends videos people should 'want' to see....but how hard is it for our 'netflix-flavored' dashboard to recommend 'KPIs you might have overlooked' and/or 'managers with 'these' KPI ratios need to look at 'those' underlying datasets/components' crassly recapitulate my favorite metaphor/analogy: what kind of 'binge KPI-ing' does the enterprise want to promote via its dashboards....?
Productive Physician
Fascinating article, bravo.

I like your Netflix analogy, however I'm not sure it's 100% apt. If Netflix prioritises showing viewers what they seem to want, will that work in a business sense when what the viewer WANTS to see about their KPIs might not be what they NEED to see?

I assume there is an extension to the analogy, such that the system learns what each viewer's 'blindspots' are and caters accordingly?

I'm interested in your thoughts...