Think Dashboards are only for Executives and Businesses?
Well, think again.
Today, even school districts are doing it. First, let me be clear, it should come to no surprise that organizations within the education sector, especially the ones focusing on educating our children, should take advantage of any information technologies available today.
What really surprised me is how they use the Dashboard. Have a look here:
The Plano Independent School District (PISD) put up a dashboard which compares them with the neighboring cities’ ISD. The above image is just one of the elements on the Dashboard, by the way. The rest of it looks just as impressive, as they seem to use every bells-and-whistles available in the charting world (not necessarily the best approach, but at least it is out there serving some purpose).
But while the Dashboard is put-together well, what impressed me the most is that the ISD gets it. They know that in order to get ahead of their peers, they not only have to perform, but also take the time to showcase their achievements.
This realization puts them — quite sadly — ahead of how most business owners think today.
Where does the data come from?
Or more importantly, how hard or how easy it is to put up the Dashboard, given the limitation of resources and information. And this is what makes the situation even more ironic. We are living in the golden era of publicly accessible information. What is not available from within the organization, could easily be obtained either through some governing bodies or data collected independently.
And if a business owner still think that it is impossible for them to get the data about their competitors or customers or vendors/suppliers or everything else, that’s an outdated view and should be discarded.
What is it really for?
To make it easier for interested parties to make decisions. In this particular case, the interested parties are parents of students or young people who are looking for a place to move into or to start their lives. By utilizing the Dashboard to serve relevant information in various dimension, the Plano ISD has make it that much easier for people to consider their options.
The same case can be made strongly for almost every businesses out there. When people are considering your products and businesses, the more ways you can showcase your distinguishing features, the more you can grab the mind of interested parties (read: potential customers).
With today’s technologies, and the accessibility of potentially relevant external data, for example the General Society Survey, or The Gapminder site, and many more, it is a crime not to have your own Business Dashboards. As the ISD’s have shown, an effort to present relevant up-to-date and relevant information is not limited to a one-shot deal, it is a continuous, planned, and deliberate program that should be included in your day-to-day business operations.