The Best KPI Software for Better Business Intelligence

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KPIs are one of the most powerful tools an organization can harness in their business intelligence efforts. As the name suggests, key performance indicators, or KPIs, are metrics that are used to monitor business activities that are critical to the success of the company. They help to quickly cut through the massive amount of information that constitutes day-to-day business operations to retrieve key insights. This last point is especially crucial, as it allows businesses to make adjustments in real-time. For this reason, in particular, many companies are looking into KPI software tools as a means of maintaining a consistent pulse on their business performance.

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Top KPI Software Tools

But with so many options on the BI tools market, how can you determine which KPI software is the best? Our analyst team did the research and we’re here to share that information with you.

Before we can analyze any of these KPI monitoring tools, we have to first understand what KPI software is, what it does and why it’s important. Let’s dig deeper and see if we can crack the code of the mysterious KPI.

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What is KPI Software?

KPI software refers to tools that automatically track key performance indicators in real time and present them to users in easy-to-understand data visualizations that enable them to spot trends at a glance. These solutions help business users and decision-makers set measurable goals that align with their core objectives as an organization and keep track of their current progress in meeting those goals.

How does it work? Users enter their data into the system, or connect the platform to their existing technologies – then the magic happens. KPI tools collect all that data in real-time, turn it into beautiful dashboards and simplify reporting into forms that enable users to get a quick overview of their insights at a glance. Instant alerts when KPIs dip below and spike above certain thresholds help maintain a steady course of operations.

While KPIs are often used for tracking finances, that’s not the only way to implement them. KPIs can do anything from monitor product quality to track supply chains to measure customer satisfaction, all while providing data for analytics. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to tracking KPIs; even though there are guidelines for certain industries, at the end of the day, each company has to decide for itself what KPIs it needs to measure. Even companies operating in the same marketplace might have completely different objectives, and thusly, track different sets of KPIs.

Why Use KPI Software?

KPI monitoring tools and dashboard software are essential if you want to reap the full benefits of your BI solution. By tracking the right KPIs, the solution does the hard work for you; it enables you to spend less time doing tedious reporting and more time on taking action. By using KPI measurement tools, it becomes much easier to implement a decision-making strategy that’s based on accurate, concrete data.

But how exactly can KPI software benefit you? Well, here are a few reasons why you should look into KPI tools:

KPI Software Benefits and Features

Crucial Information At-a-Glance

By visualizing data in easy-to-understand ways, KPI tools help users who are strapped for time by giving them what they’re looking for – an overview of the metrics that matter most. KPI software achieves this through the dashboard, a data visualization designed to answer a certain question. A dashboard makes sense of and demonstrates the true, underlying meaning of data while making it accessible to all and is usually scannable in about five seconds. Dashboards play a huge role in how a solution can accomplish its goals of providing information at-a-glance.

Better Decision Making

An essential part of running a business is setting and meeting goals. This is where KPIs come in handy – they not only help users track their progress and succeed in meeting their goals in the end, but also help them from the start by helping them to define measurable targets in the first place. One of the main goals of implementing a BI solution is to empower data-driven decision-making and KPI tools help users do just that by providing all the essential information they need to define goals and monitor their performance on the way to achieving them.

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Proactive Problem Solving

KPI tools can help you nip a problem in the bud. Some solutions allow you to set notifications to alert you when your numbers aren’t where they should be, helping you spot problems before they turn into problematic results. KPI monitoring tools help you expect the unexpected and stay one or two steps ahead of any potential issues. Instead of just reacting to changes days after receiving data analysis that took a few days to run, the product can notify you about changes to your KPIs so that you can take corrective action if needed. Taking a proactive approach to deal with small issues prevents them from evolving into more serious issues.

Improved Company Culture

KPI monitoring tools spread data literacy by making insights accessible to everyone. They provide a consistent benchmark of performance, motivating employees by showing the fruits of their efforts. This creates a sense of purpose, helping each employee feel like they are contributing to the overall success of the company. This can not only boost morale but also productivity as everyone strives to improve performance across the board.

Key Features

KPI tools can provide many benefits for your company, but what sets apart the best from the rest? It all comes down to each system’s ease of use and the functionalities that it offers. Some features are critical for KPI software, so here’s a few to consider for your requirements checklist.

Seamless Data Integration

One of the most important features of any BI solution is data connectivity and data integration. A comprehensive tool should allow you to enter data manually, upload it from on-premises devices and connect directly to other databases or software solutions. KPI monitoring tools with this feature plug right into the pulse of your business. When all your data is in one place, your KPI measurement tools will be able to evaluate your numbers more effectively and provide better visibility into business operations. This feature is also essential in ensuring that you’re always operating with the most up-to-date information and can make on-the-fly decisions accordingly.

Customizable Dashboards

Data visualization can be critical to the success of a business. Therefore, any solution that offers KPI reporting tools needs an intuitive way to present different types of data, so that it’s easy to understand and viewable in an instant. That’s why any comprehensive KPI reporting software has extensive data visualization and graph options, including dashboards. Setting your KPIs is only half the battle, it’s also important to track and display KPIs in meaningful ways; that’s where customization comes into play.

By choosing the widgets to display on a dashboard, you can track your KPIs your way and present that information to others in a format that’s easy to scan, filter and sort through at their leisure. When KPI dashboard software has extensive customization capabilities or predefined themes, it offers you the ability to brand and tailor your dashboards for different individuals, teams, departments or audiences. Data tells a story, so the more options you have to present information, the easier it becomes to ensure that your dashboards convey your message effectively through best practices.
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Web and Mobile Accessibility

As we move to an ever-mobile workforce that’s constantly connected to the internet, it’s more important now than ever to make sure that web and mobile accessibility makes your list of BI capabilities to consider. Being able to check your metrics at any time, from anywhere is a major plus. Some solutions are moving from an on-premises model to a SaaS infrastructure, which has many benefits but most importantly, allows data to be accessed from any location, from any device with an internet connection. In contrast to computer-only software that may only run on certain operating systems, web-accessible applications can almost always run on all web browsers. Some solutions may support offline access so that even if you lose an internet connection, you still have access to your data. In addition, enterprise BI tools often support a native application for Android or iOS devices, letting users take their insights with them, right in their pocket or bag. Native mobile apps are incredibly useful because they are responsive, adapting to users’ screen sizes, personalized and often faster than a mobile device’s built-in browser. Mobile accessibility is also critical for remote teams or employees that are often out in the field.

Alerts

KPI software should be able to monitor your important KPIs and inform you when something doesn’t look right. Threshold alerts notify you when numbers skyrocket above or dip below a certain point, or when pre-defined events happen. Some alerts are powered by machine-learning algorithms that can detect anomalies, correlations and drastic changes in patterns. Some email alerts deliver insights in a .PNG or .PDF format that doesn’t require you to log-in to the platform. If you’re on-the-go, you may be able to receive push notifications on your mobile device that help you stay ahead of the game even when you’re moving.

Instead of relying on reporting to respond to things that happened, users can configure alerts through KPI monitoring tools that allow them to respond immediately to issues and retrieve the most relevant information quickly and efficiently. Through alerts, you’re able to highlight successes and proactively seize opportunities as they develop.

Best KPI Software Tools

Depending on your industry, some KPI software might be a better fit than others, which is why it’s important to thoroughly research and compare BI solutions before committing to one.

Where to start? Our analysts recommend these solutions as five of the top KPI tools.
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Tableau

Tableau is a data visualization and data analytics solution that assists users in making data-driven business decisions. Users of all skill levels can explore their data, create dashboards and share their data stories with others. It features a user-friendly interface and tools like drag-and-drop actions and natural language processing that make the platform more accessible. The platform encourages data literacy for all, not just for analysts, employing a self-service model in which users can drill down, filter and blend data through interactive dashboards to dig deeper for answers.

Tableau

Tableau’s Metrics for mobile makes checking KPIs as easy as checking a bank account balance.

As one of the leaders in data visualization tools, Tableau has a plethora of ways to track KPIs via dashboards, graphs, charts, bubbles, maps and more. Users can establish thresholds for KPIs to demarcate successes and failures with specific mark labels that show which values are above and which are below those thresholds. It also has KPI monitoring on its mobile app through Metrics, which provides a curated and consistent view of KPIs without the need to use multiple dashboards and filters. Alerts are available through push notifications.

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With on-premises, private server or fully-hosted online SaaS options, it can be deployed in various ways that ensure web accessibility. Tableau’s pricing is relatively low compared to many competitors in the enterprise BI industry and the platform is flexible, allowing for easy scaling up or down as a business’ needs develop.

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Sisense

Sisense is an end-to-end data analytics platform that makes data discovery and intelligence accessible to users of all technical skill levels. Analysts can harness powerful tools and create stunning dashboards, while business users can explore data and reports through natural language processing and drag-and-drop processes to find answers to their questions.

Sisense Lead Generation

Example of a Sisense dashboard that monitors important KPIs regarding lead generation.

Sisense is a great pick for monitoring KPIs because its dashboards update in real-time and automatically notify users who have permissions of any changes. Users can choose which KPIs to track, from net profit and revenue growth to time spent onboarding each client. Sisense also provides a library of industry-specific KPIs to help businesses reach concrete insights targeted towards fields such as online marketing, finance, healthcare, HR and more. All KPIs can be monitored through Sisense’s dashboards.

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In Sisense, dashboards make it easy for users to obtain a snapshot of their performance at any given point so that they can adjust their strategy to stay on track. Interactivity makes dashboards dynamic, encouraging readers to dig deeper through AI-assisted exploration and automatic analysis. Its built-in collaboration tools enable users to work together to share reports and comment on them, making Sisense a platform that brings people, teams and departments together.

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Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a data-driven analytics SaaS platform that provides business insights through data visualization and reporting. Originally born from Excel as an add-on, it has since grown to stand on its own, fulfilling the needs of companies large and small. A leader in the field, it integrates with many other enterprise tools, notably seamlessly integrating with all Microsoft software. Power BI’s intuitive design and formatting options help users familiar with Microsoft technologies feel right at home, increasing user adoption and empowering everyone with the insights of self-service BI. Microsoft offers both free and paid plans, making it a relatively affordable solution that can scale with a business as it grows.

Power BI KPI

KPI visualization built in Power BI.

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Power BI has many strong dashboard and data visualization capabilities that help users track their KPIs. Its visualization tool has an icon that is dedicated to turning any visualization into a KPI monitoring aid by defining the base value, a time period and the target value to set thresholds for measuring performance. Users can also utilize custom visuals from marketplace templates or their own creation that can add additional functionality, such as dual KPIs, multi-lined charts, bullet charts and more. All of these kinds of visualizations help users track their progress towards goals, and can be placed on any pre-built or custom Power BI dashboard through the platform’s drag-and-drop canvas. With built-in mobile compatibility, the solution publishes reports optimized for mobile and also has a mobile app through which users can receive personalized alerts and access insights.

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Grow

Grow is a cloud-based data visualization BI solution. As their company name may suggest, the vendor designed the platform specifically to help growing small to mid-sized businesses access actionable insights on a comparable level to enterprise BI solutions. It provides native integrations to ad, social media and CRM platforms, and can import data from a wide variety of sources with over 140 data connectors so that users can get started quickly and analyze their data in real time. The system focuses on interactive pre-built or customizable dashboards that users can easily understand and share or display through web access. Its native mobile app ensures that dashboards can be viewed through mobile iOS and Android devices. The pricing plans offer different levels of connectivity and functionality. All three allow an unlimited number of users so that entire teams can utilize the solution, maximizing return on investment.

Grow COVID Dashboard

A Grow dashboard that tracks KPIs relating to the impact of COVID on business.

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Grow comes with many KPIs that target actionable metrics, categorized by the type of change they aim to bring about. For example, customer engagement KPIs include acquisition cost, conversion rate and churn, while financial performance KPIs look at metrics such as gross profit margin, revenue forecasts and return on assets. Users can explore their data through custom views, filtering by dashboard metrics or individual metrics, drilling, slicing, date range comparisons and other means, finding the exact information they need to make decisions. The vendor also provides resources on best practices for KPI monitoring and KPI examples for small businesses, specifically aiming to drive results for growing companies.

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Company Size Suitability: S M L

Klipfolio

Klipfolio is a visual analytics SaaS platform that empowers users to build visually appealing dashboards that track KPIs and monitor trends. With out-of-the-box connectivity and pre-built templates, it can get a dashboard or report up and running in minutes. Users can drag-and-drop to create data visualizations and dashboards. The platform encourages data exploration through a variety of views and filters. The solution supports multiple channels of sharing, including email, links, Slack messaging, embedding and more. With its native mobile app, it supports mobile dashboarding and KPI monitoring on-the-go.

Klipfolio Executive KPI Dashboard

This Klipfolio dashboard, targeted towards an executive, provides an easily discernible overview of business performance.

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Klipfolio takes a KPI-first approach to data analysis and visualization. PowerMetrics, a dashboarding tool that puts KPIs first, powers faster decision making by automating manual tasks associated with monitoring KPIs, like consolidating and visualizing marketing data. It can import and merge data from over 300 data sources, creating a reliable, single source of truth. It automatically syncs data and tracks its history. Additionally, the Klip Gallery supports more than 400 individual metrics and visualizations. Klips, which track KPIs, can be directly added to dashboards for easy viewing and sharing. Through MetricsHQ on Klipfolio’s website, users can research more than 135 metrics and KPIs, getting valuable insight and examples.

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Company Size Suitability: S M L

Final Thoughts

Which KPI software matches your needs best will depend on your company and what problems you’re looking to solve with your BI solution. Perhaps you’re interested in solutions that make KPI reporting a priority, or perhaps it’s less important to your company. Maybe you need a solution with industry-targeted KPI tracking. Regardless, the best way to start your software search is to figure out what features you need with a requirements template and then begin looking at different products to compare your needs with the features each offers.

What do you think about KPI software? Did we leave out your favorite, or do you disagree with one of the products listed here? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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Hsing TsengThe Best KPI Software for Better Business Intelligence

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  • Julissa - July 29, 2019 reply

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