Effective KPI reports govern how employees do their jobs, so they play a key role in business analytics. Anything that doesn't get measured ends up being a pipe dream. To keep your business goals from going up in smoke, measure your progress with effective data. Anything else is simply flying blind. KPI reports are your eyes for what's truly happening in your business. In fact, the quality of your business analytics comes down to your KPI report. Consider these tips to creating honest KPI reports that your business can rely upon.

First, realize that crafting effective KPI reports is really more art than science. Sure, there are guidelines, just like all business analytics, but really no hard and fast rules for success. That's because all businesses are unique, and therefore their analytics solutions need to be customizable. The truth is you need to be flexible in the solution. In fact, KPI teams can really get only 80 percent of the way to creating effective KPI reports. The rest needs to come from tweaking, personally seeing what works from what doesn't and what ultimately proves the most effective for that particular business.

Most business analytics use key performance indicators that measure how well an organization performs against predefined goals or targets. These are generally measured in two ways - leading and lagging indicators. Leading activities measure units that have significant effect on future performance, while lagging indicators measure past activity. While leading indicators are powerful indicators, they can be difficult to define and take a customized approach to the unique concerns of the company. Now two companies are alike, therefore their own business analytics should never be exactly the same. Take the personalized approach.

In the end, effective KPI reports tend to be aligned with the company's unique corporate structure. It's important that the company own the KPI report and not just be working from a generic format. Business analytics need to be predictive and accurate, based on actionable data that's sound. They also need to be comprehensive and stable.

Of course, KPI reports also have to look good, and that means grabbing the attention of executives from the beginning. Essentially, reports on business analytics need to shine on the page to be effective. Data should be compiled in a visually enticing manner that's also effective. Like a good business suit, an attractive KPI report puts a fresh face forward with accurate data that's understandable and visual.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Toland is the author of this article on KPI reports and business analytics.