There’s one topic that consistently comes up in my discussions with Propel customers—reports and dashboards. Whether they’re new to Propel or super-experienced IT veterans, customers are always interested in learning what others have done with metrics and what we recommend as well.
Dashboards can help both executives and team members keep things on track, spot troubling issues, or identify improvement areas—all of which can help increase margins, improve customer satisfaction, and lower risks.
Based on my conversations with hundreds of customers during my 7 years at Propel, I’ve put together a “how to” guide that can help you get the reports you need to achieve product success. Welcome to Part 1 of 3! Let’s dive in.
How to Think About Your Perfect Executive Dashboard
Because Propel is built on the Salesforce platform, that means our dashboards use Salesforce reporting technology that millions of people are already familiar with. In fact, there are tons of online classes and videos from Salesforce that go into the mechanics of creating a dashboard. Propel’s own User Guide also explains how to create reports and dashboards as well.
But the first step in creating a killer dashboard isn’t learning HOW to do it — it’s WHAT you’re trying to capture and WHY your company cares.
When you’re thinking about your own executive or operational dashboard, here’s what you should think about:
- What metrics do I need to stay on top of to keep things running smoothly?
- What trends should I keep an eye on to help us keep improving our business?
- Who cares about these metrics?
Dashboards don’t have to be rocket science, but some reporting technologies make it seem like you need to have a coding background. For instance, Salesforce-based dashboards are different—they’re very intuitive once you know a few basics.
My Favorite Exec Dashboard
Based on the above framework, what are the best metrics and reports I’ve seen customers use?
Of course every business is different, but here are my favorite reports that can power your executive dashboard:
The NPI Cycle Time report is essential for understanding how long it takes you to consistently and predictably deliver new products and services, so your company can start earning revenue. Surprisingly, a lot of companies don’t have an accurate view of this metric when they take a look across their teams, products and services, product lines, and regions.
Being on top of upcoming tasks across ALL your projects—and being able to easily chase down why tasks are late and who’s responsible for completing them— is critical for delivering high quality products on time.
Change is the one constant during new product introductions, so it’s vital that your company understands how quickly you can review and approve changes. Quick but thorough approval processes will ensure your product launches don’t get hit with preventable delays and errors.
New product development isn’t an island, so you need to make sure that your suppliers are all on the same page as you are. If there are issues identified or even caused by your suppliers, what are they and how quickly can you and your partners address SCARs?
Your product’s ready for launch, but is your team? Training your entire organization on the latest procedures and product updates is important for building and servicing high quality products. And if you’re in a regulated industry, it’s absolutely necessary to stay compliant and mitigate risks with training.
New product sales is the ultimate indicator whether all that hard work designing, building, and launching a new product was worth it, and shows how successful your new products are.
Now that your products are out in the market, what do customers really think? Sales is one way to gauge that, but so is the amount of customer issues being reported. Capturing and resolving those complaints is important not only for the current product, but also for future products built on its success.
Your new product is a success but you still have to keep on top of all the regulations and standards that allow you to sell that product in different regions. The last thing you want to see is a stop ship notification from a government agency.
If you’re implementing a new system and starting from scratch—or simply looking to up your metrics game—these 8 reports are your best bet for tracking towards success.
Want to hear real examples of how Propel customers use our platform? Check out our customer success stories.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll dive into the step-by-step details for creating these reports.