Monthly Archives: October 2011

Best Practices for Dashboards

The dashboard is a quick and visual way of capturing and presenting the current status of the operations/sales/production/logistics in an organization. The dashboards should stimulate discussions, warn if status, trends, and exceptions have potential negative effect on the key stakeholder measurements. To be effective, dashboards have to satisfy the following best practices.

-There are different layers of dashboards (CEO/board related, Sales/customer engagement, Finance/HR/Production/logistics) and variations of this depending on the vertical and the company
-Dashboards are not just reports of an analytical work nor a SQL output from IT department; it is a one screen shot capturing trends, exceptions, warnings and alerts, opportunities, and reasons and insights for divergence from goals metrics, that would communicate critical aspects of a particular layer in few bullet points on a frequent basis (at least daily).
-Most of the coverage in single screen shot dashboards are visuals of KPIs
-Well understood KPIs that are critical for the operations are used and full disclosure regarding the data quality, source, and updates
-The current trend is to have Dashboards updated daily if not in real time – now imagine what kind of metrics and how it should not be a long list of uninventive series of numbers that will kill interest in the dashboard. Gone are the days of quarterly and monthly updates
-Current trend is for Dashboard to have space for real time feeds from twitter/facebook and other relevant social network for customer input and challenges.
-Dashboards affords drill downs where we can have more detailed metric specific reports
-Every day summary message has to be in bullet points for actions and follow-ups, that is consistently evolving smoothed for randomness
-Dashboard goes beyond analytics at the hand of a top notch analyst’s input to the organization connecting the trends, exceptions, warnings, alerts, opportunities, and distills in few sentences the expected actions and follow-ups for the Sr. Management on a daily basis using KPIs, with some of the input points coming not only from competitive actions, consumer experience, production, logistics, marketing, finance, HR, and facility management, but also weather impacts, health trends, national security, and macro economic trends, so that the management is fully aware of what is going on and how to keep the metrics for the goals under control.

Some aspects of reasonable dashboards:  Some are designer versions
http://www.enterprise-dashboard.com
http://www.birt-exchange.com/be/download/Actuate-BIRT-Report-Designer-Professional.pdf
How to use Excel to create Dashboards
which is shown here as a video:

From Data Monster & Insight Monster