Do You Know How to Create a Dashboard?

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Do You Know How to Create a Dashboard?

Posted by Cancan Gunadi on April 25, 2017  /   Posted in Uncategorized

Chalk Board
Image by Travis Wise via flickr (https://flic.kr/p/MiM8yL)

What a question.

Of course, anyone can create a dashboard for their business, right? If I don’t have the time, my IT folks could whip up some for me in a matter of hours, right?

Even more tragically, some read the above question and thought it was “Do you know how to create a chart?” which is a different question entirely.

The truth is, not everyone can create a useful and always up-to-date business dashboard. And to those who think they have the best IT department in the whole industry, here is one little surprise: They may not have the necessary experience to build one for you either.

Really? Is it that difficult to create a business dashboard?

Everyone seems to have one or five displayed on LCD screens in their hallways or conference room nowadays, how can it be that hard to create?

In truth, it is not the creation of the dashboard that is difficult, but the useful and always up-to-date part.

Useful How?

Smart companies (such as our clients) who have LCD screens throughout their office use the information broadcasted within the screen to disseminate important numbers that show the health of the company. By doing this, they engage all employees to think constantly on how their day-to-day tasks affect those numbers. (My last article discussed one of the benefits of this approach)

Therefore the numbers (and figures, and visualization) on the screen better be useful for everyone in the company to know about.

Here is the problem: These numbers usually are hiding inside multiple systems, several spreadsheets, and inside the head of some key personnel.

And, they regularly — if not constantly — change.

So They Need to be Always Up-to-date?

Bingo.

Now you start to see that to design, build, maintain, and keep up with the changes even for a single dashboard is quite a bit of work. Are you sure now that your IT department has the bandwidth (not to mention the required skills and experience)?

It is really a full-time job for a qualified personnel; actually in a lot of cases, a single person is not enough, it requires a team.

Okay, Mr. Smartypants, What do you suggest then?

Let’s start by answering these questions:

  1. Why do I need a dashboard? What purpose does it serve in my company at the moment? One good answer: “I need a lot of visibility into what can give my company the best chance to not only survive, but excel in a fiercely-competitive industry.”
  2. What do I want on the dashboard? Do I know enough about the metrics (ok, KPI if you have to use a buzzword) that affects the bottom line, also the ones that show me the pulse — or even more useful: Problem areas — within the company? If you don’t already have a project to find these metrics, now would be a good time to start one, because most likely your competitors are working on it as well.
  3. Who can help me design, build, and maintain these dashboards? Can my existing personnel do it? Or is this time to chat with folks whose day-to-day business is to design, build, and maintain other companies dashboards?

But Didn’t We Just Bought that BI Tools?

Maybe, but a BI suite of tools cannot automagically design, build, and maintain your dashboards, someone still have to gather, clean up, and prepare the data so the tools can be used on them, and keep doing this as changes come and go.

One of the fallacy in the BI Tool industry is the lack of mentioning the crucial part: Without a well-designed and well-maintained data warehouse underneath, even the most sophisticated analytic and visualization tool is useless.

Why a company like nextCoder exists?

Because we are very useful to our clients. It matters not if they already paid for BI Tools such as Power BI, Tableau, Domo, Birst, etc. because we actually help them to design useful dashboards based on existing data, existing tools, and our experience from working on dashboards across different industries. Therefore accelerating the process of making data analytic part of the company’s program to grow and to compete in the industry.

“What if we don’t have a tool yet?” Then consider DW Digest(TM), which is designed to work seamlessly with our data warehouse designs and implementations. It is also competitively priced against the tools I mentioned above.

Our online platform are designed to keep these useful dashboards up-to-date and be able to cope with changes. Using our services, our clients can concentrate to iron out kinks, discover more opportunities, and save time and ultimately cost throughout the company and across departments. All without worrying how to maintain those dashboards.

Last question

You may indeed be able to create a useful and always up-to-date dashboards. But since your business is probably not making dashboards, is it the best use of your time? Your team’s time?

If you have any questions on how to achieve measured acceleration for your business using dashboards, send them to: will.gunadi@dwdigest.com or call me at 214.436.3232.


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