Introducing Executive Dashboards
Kimble has launched a set of reporting dashboards designed to help busy executives keep their fingers on the pulse of their business. These dashboards present a forward-looking view, which can be used to inform strategic decision-making and support continuous improvement across the organization.
Answering Key Questions
Kimble Professional Services Automation supports services businesses from end-to-end, putting it in a unique position to be able to provide a suite of reports which show where the business is currently—and where it is going.
Kimble’s Executive Dashboards draw on real-time information created when users input and update data in the application—every new sales opportunity, assigned resource, raised change order, timesheet submission, and dispatched invoice impacts the reports.
The dashboards help business leaders answer some key questions:
- Where are obstacles likely to occur when it comes to achieving company goals?
- What are the areas in which performance needs to improve? Is it the sales process, recruitment, or resource management?
- Do we have areas of expertise which are seeing declining interest?
- Are we identifying other propositions we want to develop and current skills we want to train people in?
What Metrics do Executive Dashboards use?
Traditionally, the Key Performance Indicators that business managers rely on to run their businesses have been backward-looking. For example:
- How much money did we make last month?
- How many people have we got?
- What was their billable utilization rate last month?
- What were the levels of customer satisfaction on the projects we delivered last quarter?
Some of these more retrospective metrics are also featured on Kimble’s executive dashboards; they give context and help identify trends within the business. But the executive dashboards also focus on predictive and forward looking metrics, such as:
- How much money are we going to make?
- How much work have we got coming in?
- How many people with what skills will be needed to deliver it?
- Do we have any engagements that look likely to run into trouble?
Here is a description of the four Executive Dashboards as they are configured out of the box — each can be edited to fit specific business requirements.
The Customer Health dashboard gives an overview of customer engagements, showing their current status while providing predictive information about what’s likely to happen next. Reports call attention to projects which may be about to run into trouble, so they can be dealt with swiftly. This dashboard helps business leaders to answer questions like:
- What is the predicted margin variance against baseline?
- How much non-billable time is being booked against ongoing projects?
- What are the risk status updates?
- Where are revenue write-offs occurring?
Having identified the riskiest projects, managers can drill down to identify underlying issues like scope creep. Using this dashboard also encourages a stronger focus on managing risk within Kimble, making it part of the weekly cadence of project management.
A system focused on financials just wouldn’t have the necessary data required to provide the level of insight available in the Company Wealth dashboard. This gives an overview of revenue and cash – and shows a prediction of where the revenue is likely to come from in the future. It helps executives answer questions such as:
- How well is the business positioned to make future investments?
- What is the revenue position against target?
- What is the revenue position of each business unit?
- What is the bookings position against target?
This dashboard highlights all the opportunities in the pipeline, even projects which haven’t yet been won, showing their potential impact on the cash position. It looks at payment terms agreed, milestones, and the resource profile of each proposal—all these influence when cash is likely to come in to the business.
Growth and Value
The Growth and Value dashboard looks at where the contributions to growth are coming from. It shows the book-to-bill ratio – the amount of work currently being delivered and the future work that is being booked that month. If stable, it means enough work is being sold to keep everyone busy. If it is very high, then decisions will need to be made about recruiting new resources or employing contractors. This enables leaders to answer questions like:
- Which products and services are doing well?
- Which products and services look as if they are underperforming?
- Is the amount of work we are booking today too low?
- If we are selling more work than we currently deliver, what capacity do we need?
There may be reasons why a particular area appears to be underperforming – a big internal project for example – but this dashboard shows the impact on the business and can help surface trends. Having an early heads up about the need to increase capacity can also help to recruit people with in-demand skills.
The People dashboard looks at resourcing, offering measures of headcount, utilization, daily rates, and open assignments. It shows the work that is in the pipeline, and the resourcing requirements—revealing which assignments have resources allocated and which are “open.” This dashboard enables executives to answer questions like:
- Our overall headcount is stable, but what is the underlying ‘churn’ of leavers and joiners?
- What is the average utilization of resources? What about billable utilization?
- How many assignments are “open” (don’t have resources allocated to them)?
- What are the areas of recruitment or retraining we need to explore?
Using this view, executives can see the forthcoming demand for resources and at what point individuals are being softbooked against that demand. If a lot of assignments are “open,” they can drill down to find out if there is a problem with capacity and if recruitment is needed.
Continually checking progress and predictions in the areas of customer health, company wealth, growth and value, and people, against targets and plans is the basis for improving forecasting accuracy. That makes the business more predictable. Of course, the real business advantage lies in taking advantage of the opportunity to make better decisions, sooner. That is what drives improved business performance.