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10 Tips to Transform Dashboard Data Into Actionable Insights in Your Business

Updated: Jun 28

Gathering data is a helpful first step in understanding the state of a business. However, simply having the information isn't enough - it must be taken the extra step to uncover insights and turn them into actionable business decisions.

Without clearly defined objectives that are tailored to an organization's specific needs, interpreting data can become overwhelming and complex. Setting out quantifiable goals will enable teams to determine what information is necessary, how it should be gathered, how best to analyze and interpret it, and ultimately how to act on it.

With well-defined objectives firmly in place and communicated across all relevant departments, businesses can unlock the power of dashboard data for decision-making.

The benefits of actionable insights

Data is essential for any business, especially in today's competitive digital landscape. By analyzing actionable data insights, organizations can make better-informed decisions that lead to improved customer experience, increased operational efficiency, and more effective strategies.

Actionable data insights enable organizations to create strategies tailored to their specific market, giving them a competitive advantage over other businesses. For instance, using actionable customer insights about their demographic and buying behaviour allows companies to identify potential customers and then tailor their product/service offerings to meet those customers' needs better.

With this knowledge, businesses can provide customers with more personalized services and better meet their needs, resulting in happy customers and increased customer retention rates. Ultimately, you can create effective strategies to set your business up for success by understanding the power of actionable data insights.

From taking advantage of well-segmented data to adding more valuable stakeholders to the conversation, here are the ten answers to the question, "What tips would you give to transform dashboard data into actionable items?"

  • Segment Your Data

  • Prioritize Your Tasks by Time and Resources Needed 

  • Design Dashboards Around Decisions 

  • Create Data-Driven Goals 

  • Start With the Data You Have & Be Aware of Your Sources 

  • Don't Forget Your KPIs 

  • Make It Specific 

  • Use Month-Over-Month Metrics 

  • Build Foundations First Then Take a Step Back 

  • Gather Early Participation From Stakeholders 

Segment Your Data

One way to transform data into actionable insights is to segment your data by key criteria. This could include customer demographics, location, or product purchase history.

By segmenting your data, you can see patterns and trends that you may not have otherwise noticed. For example, you may notice that a particular demographic is more likely to respond to a certain type of offer. Or, you may find that customers in a certain location are more likely to make a repeat purchase.

Once you have identified these patterns, you can then develop targeted strategies to improve your customer's experience and increase sales. With the right data analysis, transforming dashboard data into actionable insights is easier than you might think.

Lorien Strydom, Executive Country Manager,

Prioritize Your Tasks by Time and Resources Needed

One way to transform dashboard data into actionable items is to prioritize them. You want to make sure that the top items on your list are the ones that will have the biggest impact on your business. You can do this by considering how long it will take for each item to be completed, how much revenue it will generate, or how many hours it will save you or your employees. By prioritizing this way, you'll know what needs to be done first and what can wait until later. It also gives you a clear idea of what resources you'll need to complete the tasks so that you can plan accordingly.

Design Dashboards Around Decisions

To make dashboard data actionable, you have to first ask yourself, "When I look at this dashboard, what am I hoping to see (or not see)? If that comes to fruition, what decision do I expect to make?"

Then, the dashboard needs to be designed around these potential decisions. Data on its own will never be actionable. Data displayed in pursuing expected decisions will make taking action much easier. For example, a call center may want to track the average wait times for a customer to determine if more agents need to be hired. The naïve approach would be to just show data for average wait times. The approach that aligns more with the expected decision is to show data points like "total wait minutes/number of agents" or "average wait time broken out by agent."

Either of these figures is more likely to tell you the actual story of if hiring more agents will actually reduce wait times or if other factors need to be addressed.

Blake Burch, Co-Founder & CEO, Shipyard

Create Data-Driven Goals

Data can be a powerful tool for setting and achieving business goals, but you must first clearly understand what you want to achieve.

Whether it’s increasing sales, reducing costs, or improving customer satisfaction, data can help you track progress and identify areas for improvement. Once you have decided on your goals, you can use data to create actionable plans that will help you achieve them.

For example, if you want to increase sales, you might set a goal of achieving a 10% increase in revenue over the next year. To do this, you would need to track data on your sales and conversion rates so you can identify trends and areas for improvement.

Todd Saunders, General Manager, BIG Safety

Start With the Data You Have and Be Aware of Your Sources

Impactful business intelligence (BI) outputs require quality input, yet quality input alone is insufficient.

Think about how challenging it would be to get that data in a reliable, automated manner. If manual intervention is required, attempt to comprehend how it will affect the endeavor and the value it will provide.

For instance, if your data is dispersed across many CSV or Excel files, consider what it would take to go straight to the source or include time for file upkeep of your schedule. Likewise, consider how the data is. Your ability to get insights from your data will be hampered if your inventory system frequently fails to accurately reflect reality because of manual workarounds.

Think about the important areas where new processes could generate data you aren't already generating. Utilizing useful, data-driven insights can help you gain more control over areas where your company may lose money, and show you a growing number of new opportunities.

Raviraj Hegde, Head of Growth, Donorbox

Don't Forget Your KPIs

Transforming dashboard data into actionable items can be a challenge. To tackle this, I'd recommend breaking down the data into key performance indicators (KPIs) and identifying a few actionable items that you can implement right away to improve your company's performance. This will allow you to get ahead of the data and identify potential issues before they get out of hand. Once you understand what the key metrics are for your company, you can use these to drive your decision-making and enhance the overall quality of your processes.

Make It Specific

Have you ever heard the quote, "correlation doesn't equal causation?" Well, I have and for dashboard data, you can certainly turn data points into actionable items when specific measures are being tracked.

I'll give you an example. One KPI that my team tracks is, "benefits-eligible new hires that have not yet enrolled in benefit plans." This KPI is specific enough that we can act on it.

We've found this to be an important metric to track because new hires are navigating onboarding, a slew of emails, and learning their new role. And let's face it, sometimes benefit enrollment gets overlooked.

However, by tracking this KPI, my team and I can follow up with these new hires and assist with the benefits enrollment process before their eligibility period ends. When your dashboard tracks very specific data points, you can develop actionable items that you and your team can act on to hopefully improve outcomes in your organization.

Use Month-Over-Month Metrics

One tip to transform your dashboard data into actionable items is to view the Month over Month (MoM) metrics for the data.

This will show you the performance of your data over multiple months, or just the previous month and the current month, and will show you how your recent implementations are affecting your business' performance.

With this, you can take actionable steps to either double down on these tasks or move away from them. This view will give you actionable steps to take for your business based on the dashboard data. Utilize the MoM metrics feature within your dashboard.

Build Foundations First Then Take a Step Back

The best way to transform dashboard data into actionable items is to first identify what the goals of the organization are and then find the metrics that are most indicative of progress toward those goals. Once you have identified the key metrics, you can create dashboards or reports that will help you track progress and make necessary adjustments along the way.

Also, this seems basic, but one great way to accomplish this is to focus on the trends that you're seeing. For example, if you're seeing that your conversion rate is slowly decreasing over time, then you'll want to focus on finding out why that might be and how you can fix it. Or if you're seeing that your average order value is increasing, then you'll want to look into what's driving that trend and see how you can continue it. By focusing on the trends in your data, you can make smarter decisions about what actions to take in order to improve your business.

Gather Early Participation From Stakeholders

The more people you have onboard the team that evaluates critical data, the more efficiently you can transform this data into actionable items. While the core evaluation team can be analysts and experts who are the best at what they do, adding other stakeholders is also crucial.

Their inclusion enables the team to visualize and plan an action blueprint even as the raw data develops into engaging numbers and insights that will influence the decision-making process.

This approach ensures that the cognition stage runs simultaneously with the data evaluation stage so that no time is lost while setting up an actionable plan.

Brendan McGreevy, Head of Strategy, Affinda


Gathering data is the first step to successfully capitalizing on any business opportunity; however, this alone is not enough. It must be transformed into actionable insights to make the most of collected data. To do this, it is necessary to define your objectives clearly. Taking the time to understand why you're gathering the data will guide how best to use it. Knowing your objectives enables informed decision-making and can help support a path forward that maximizes ROI.

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