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In order to compete in a fast-changing markets, digital businesses must run on decisions formed on facts not conjecture and ‘seat-of-the-pants’ instincts. Data is everywhere in businesses today, but for many management teams, the insights they need remain out of reach. The biggest obstacle in getting digital platforms right is the quality of data. Harvesting useful insights is not with its challenges. But overcome, these challenges and the rewards are worth it. We are now beginning to see the ‘haves’ and have-nots’ of data decision-making emerge as some organizations begin to master this new paradigm. So what dashboards do you really need to drive your business?

In this article, we highlight five key data landscape views that in our opinion, no CEO (or management team for that matter) should live without.

1. Markets and Opportunity Landscape

Our first dashboard presents a view of your market opportunity.  This is achieved by comparing existing customer profiles with your addressable market.  To achieve this, internal data that describes ‘a profitable customer’ needs to be harvested from operational systems and analysed by useful themes.  Selected themes should highlight the qualities that go to make-up your definition of an attractive prospect target.  Next, this profiling data needs to be compared against market insights data, probably sourced by a third party like a data-set supplied by a credict-checking agency.  The only task left to perform then is to create the visualization.  This might be a geo-location map with plotted pins of target accounts, colour-coded by the size of the opportunity, or a chart that shows most profitable to least profitable target accounts, segmented by industry type.

2. Sales Pipeline Landscape

Every business needs to generate new business and achieve repeat business from existing business.  A comprehensive sales pipeline visualization should time-line ALL of your potential sales lead opportunities in a single view.  Many pipeline views are overtly difficult to maintain.  Sometimes, simpler data-sets deliver the best returns, but accuracy is everything when it comes to pipeline visualizations which means sourced data must be vetted and trustworthy by installing quality gates in the business reporting processes that service them.

3. The ‘Profitable’ Customer Landscape

Businesses need to focus on PROFITABLE customers to maximize their returns.  Not every customer is profitable owing to high cost of sale.  Particularly when businesses operate retail stores, sales people or channel partners, there has to be sufficient income from accounts to make it worth doing business.  Even PR agencies and people-heavy businesses can only afford to run a certain number of accounts before they get swamped and quality of service delivery declines.  Won accounts need to be well-managed to retain them. That means it’s essential for managers to understand how they can run accounts to make them ‘more profitable.’  That might mean ensuring there are enough sponsors and champions in any given account to secure a long-term relationship.  It might also mean account teams need to upsell propositions and offerings that attract more attention in the boardroom having secured a ‘beach-head’ in an account with a low-value sale.  Form many organizations, harvesting and managing this level of detailed account insight isn’t easy.

4. Delivery Landscape

How efficiently an enterprise delivers its customer value (and turns it into shareholder returns) is essential to its health. A dashboard that visualizes the path from receiving an order to delivering customer value (including everything that happens from point-to-point) is an invaluable way of exposing process inefficiencies and resourcing log-jams.

5. Asset Performance Landscape

While we live in an increasingly virtual world, many enterprises today continue to bring value to their customers by operating large fleets of physical assets (e.g. pumping stations, vehicles, photocopiers, cables and exchanges).  For organizations whose core customer value comes from turning their investments in physical assets into cash, it’s essential they optimize investments in asset infrastructure.  Visualizing the health and effectiveness of physical infrastructure – as exampled in the headline image of this article – brings rich clarity to an asset-driven business, and helps to maximize returns by minimizing operational costs while maximizing utilization and therefore customer value.