Sometimes the hardest part of finding answers is knowing the questions. If you’re new to analytics, it can be overwhelming. Even basic analytics tools have seemingly endless options for different KPIs, metrics, and benchmarks. Furthermore, unless you’re a full-time data analyst, you don’t have time to stare at metrics all day. Sometimes, the only thing more important than the metrics you use are the metrics you don’t use. Don’t assume more metrics means more insight. At iCharts, we recommend you start with basic metrics, and build out from there.

Step 1: Replace The Metrics You Already Use

Before analytics can revolutionize your organization, it needs to keep it going. By replacing basic reports at first, the organization can get used to a new way of doing things without taking on too much at once.

Make a list of the numbers you look at every week. These should be the first metrics you add to your analytics tool. Just by adding these basic metrics to an advanced analytics tool, you’re on your way to deep insights. Instead of seeing weekly snapshots, you can monitor metrics live and get a closer look at your day-to-day operations. You can also track trends over time, look at data in the aggregate, and easily compare numbers on the fly.

Step 2: Identify The KPIs You Use The Most, Then Dive Deeper

Once basic reports are in place, spend some time using them, then go a step further. At this point, you may already notice you use certain metrics more than others. If you’re still not sure what chart to build next, look for metrics that affect your bottom line, like costs and revenue sources. From here, break these charts down into more specific chunks. By tracking revenue performance on individual products, for example, you can get a better sense of which products to stock.

Don’t be afraid to try something completely new either if you think it will help you do your job. Analytics tools unlock a bunch of possibilities, and as you build out basic reports and their iterations, you’ll get a better understanding of what’s possible. Experiment, iterate, and look for unexplored facets of your organization.

Step 3: Allow Your Dashboard To Evolve

As you create new charts and build out your dashboard, be honest about which charts truly help you do your job. There are plenty of KPIs and charts that seem helpful, but don’t actually add much to your understanding of the business. If a metric isn’t helping you do your job, it may be time to remove it from your dashboard. As you remove the charts you don’t use, or you don’t need, you’ll be left with the metrics that really matter to you and your business. Knowing which charts to leave behind is just as important as knowing which charts to build.


For more tips on choosing KPIs, head to our resources page.