If you are working within any unit of analytics at your company, this post is written in your purpose. As you probably already know, analytics och Business Intelligence is about to successfully managing the analytic value cycle in your organization that helps you drive greater results. The value of self-service analytic over outsourced methods cannot be overstated. Today analytic solutions creates a cultural shift and BI done right produces $10 of return for every $1 spent says Nucleus Research.

Whether you’re building dashboards for the executive team or an operational team, do your dashboards tell the story you want to get across or does the insight get lost in a sea of reporting the KPIs (Key Performance Indicator)?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when designing and building great dashboards with Data Storytelling Technique, or as we like call it “Smart Dashboard Design”.
How do analytics deliver value?
By enabling better business decisions
By providing information and access to information, see examples below:

Example 1
This report blends summary and detail information in one large, hard-to-read, color-coded table from the world most used BI-tool: Excel.

Over time, all commonly asked questions get baked into the report, making it harder to read, analyze and draw conclusions, but the user “have the information”. Usually, these are produced in simple BI tools like Excel and are emailed each week to the management to examine. Conclusion: There are only one person that can take better decision from this and it will not work when sharing insights in your organisation.

Example 2
The report in this example is designed to work at the lowest level of detail and large sets of filters allow the user to narrow or broaden the information displayed.

The user is responsible for finding the interesting information – the report provides the “access to the information”
This is typical of Cognos, SAS, Microsoft Reporting Services, Business Objects, Oracle etc. Conclusion: It is in this example also hard to find out what to do and what to take action on. The report only shows data in a point of time not the trend.

Be an analytic Super Sherpa
Today analytical professionals, like yourself, need to guide users with Dashboard Design, just like the Sherpas are guiding mountaineers to success.

Dashboard Design drives success

This is not just about the next report or even metric, it is about solving business problems or providing business value in a data-driven way.

The Dashboard Design approach is based on a simple analytical application outcome, the Key Performance Indicator and what drives that specific measure. The purpose is to start at a high-level and drill down to dashboards that are actionable but first we will need to sort out the back-end design/implementation components into:

Descriptive value – Identify what you get hired and fired on (the main KPI)
The first landing analytic page have to display the most important KPI. This KPI is the top-level metric used to measure primary business performance for a department or business unit, e.g. if you are building a dashboard to the Sales Director, the most important KPI is the revenue.

Diagnostic analytics – Think of what influences the main KPI (The KPI Drivers)
This is the next dashboard level, it is the first drill to the selected KPI driver: What is causing the improvement, stagnation, or decrease in your KPI performance? This is generally more of a business performance analysis, which can be pre-wired for casual users or seeded for power users who may move into a more ad-hoc/visualization mode.

Business action insight – Think of who influences your KPI drivers. Who you can call when something are wrong (Action Points)
The last level (2nd or 3rd drill to selected actions): this is the page where most analysis ends up – with a list of specific items on which to take action on as filtered by the analysis performed on the Diagnosis pages. Questions that could be answered at this page are: what can I do to improve my desired outcome? Who/what department do I ask for help?

Read our eGuide Smart Dashboard Design
Learn more about how to develop analytic solutions that deliver business value for your organization based on best practices from hundreds of customers like you. Download your guide by filling in your contacts below!

Book a workshop with us, you will learn:

  • How to develop a high-level value map and value plan for your organization
  • How to identify key areas of focus and business drivers that can impact your business
  • Best practices in designing role-based dashboards that enable better decision-making and results
  • How splitting the three types of Dashboards: Display, Diagnose, and Decide into a user-story.

To book a workshop contact us at info@lincube.se

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