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[AppInsights] Getting Started - Step 6 - (Extra Credit): Building Great Dashboards

If you’ve read this far in our “Getting Started” section, chances are that you truly care about building a compelling set of dashboards for your company or team.  With this in mind, we want to leave you with some final thoughts on the importance of thinking critically about the KPIs you choose to monitor, whether you’re a brand new user of the app, or have been a customer for many years…

DASHBOARDS YOU CARE ABOUT

All KPIs are not created equal.  One of the most common mistakes made by AppInsights users is an expectation that our platform can tell you which metrics you should be monitoring to grow your business, motivate your team, monitor your resources, etc.  But each company is unique, as are the the metrics that indicate success.  The primary success levers for a sales team in a digital agency will be entirely different than the success levers for a sales team in the world of B2B software.  For these reasons, it’s important for users to spend the time and energy to understand which metrics actually drive the success of their businesses or confirm the success of the project(s) they’re monitoring within AppInsights.

How can this be accomplished?  If you’re new to the AppInsights app -- or you’ve been a user for some time and are looking to put a “fresh face” on your dashboards -- start by answering the following questions:
 

  • What are the key areas of your business or team that you would like to focus on?  What are the three KPIs that most directly impact their individual success?
  • Are you interested in tracking these data points or data sets historically?  Or will a real-time number suffice?
  • What is the ideal visual format for the data points or data sets in question?
  • What will resonate most with your fellow dashboard stakeholders?


By engaging in these preparatory steps, you will come to the AppInsights app with a strong plan for success.  Instead of depending on our out-of-the-box integrations to guide your focus, or hitting a wall with our custom data tools because you’re unsure of where to begin, you can begin by surfacing the KPIs that you’ve already identified as important levers within your business.  There’s nothing worse than a dashboard that looks pretty but doesn’t actually provide any insight into the performance of your business or team.  You can prevent this by making some initial notes on the ideal content / structure of your dashboards.

ITERATION & IMPROVEMENT

While AppInsights is best described as a data monitoring tool, this shouldn’t suggest that dashboard set-up is a one time project.  Your dashboards should be a living compilation of the KPIs that are most important to your business or project at that point in time.  Like any company or team however, priorities and goals can and will change as new products are created, new team members are added, etc.  If your dashboards remain unchanged while all the elements that impact their content are changed...then they are sure to provide less insight and, as a result, become less actionable.

We recommend that our users continue tweaking and improving their dashboards as often as priorities change or new areas of interest emerge.  Create a scratchpad dashboard where you can experiment with new KPIs; add new users and collaborate to identify new ideas or strategies; use our Metric Math widget to run basic computation between different data streams.  Here at AppInsights, we are committed to providing you with the data source availability and feature-set that will optimize your experience...but it’s up to you to make sure the data that you monitor actually matters.

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