Driving business impact with your Data

When your Audience couldn't sleep last night, it wasn't because they wanted another Dashboard

We deliver insights through data reporting and dashboards, our users want their pains addressed through easier access to relevant information. Find out what kept them awake last night and allow them to sleep better by providing that information.

Advanced analytics capabilities are constantly growing and becoming increasingly accessible through business intelligence and data visualization tools. The difference between a dashboard that drives critical insights and one that ends up forgotten is a strong focus on business needs.

You know the business and your data team knows the technology. Key is working together with your analysts to help you stay on track and ensure your reporting provides valuable business insights that will move your business forward.

1. Identify your audience

A key in building a good tool is determining who the audience is and what they care about.

Here are some great questions to ask to make your dashboard relevant:

  • Which distinct audience(s) needs to drive what business decisions?
  • What specific pain points does that audience have related to the topic?
  • What information will they need and what could they do without?
  • Is there overlap with the needs of the various members of your audience and how much is unique?
  • Which audience(s) should I prioritize?

This is critical to success. Technically impressive dashboards have failed because their creators didn’t keep in mind what their audiences truly needed to see.

2. Determine the views

Creating “views” is about identify the few topics that summarize the audience needs.

Do you have one audience, this is simple. If you have multiple audiences, you need multiple views. Review their pain points to look for the broader areas of the business that will help address their needs.

If you’re creating a dashboard for the CEO, you can create multiple views she needs to run the company: HR, operations, marketing, and sales. If you’re building a dashboard for a Account Executive: the needs may be: sales rep productivity, customer buying behavior, and all-up sales. By identifying these topics, you can develop a view that tells a cohesive story.

3. Choose the metrics

Determining which metrics to use is about telling a connected story.

Come up with as many metric ideas as you can, then work to narrow the list.

Here is some help....

  • Total sums of individual pieces of information. Frequently it is the total number of employees or the total revenue; it is the aggregate of the data. For instance, 'The total revenue in the US is $888M'
  • Look for patterns that suggest general movement and tendencies. A rate of change over time, which can be a growth rate. These patterns can lead to a items such as a downward trend in sales leading to the issuance of new product sales incentives. “North America revenue is growing at an average rate of 14% YoY in the last three years and 18% QoQ this year”
  • Triggers are reactions to defined business thresholds being met. When a sales person hits a threshold, things like bonuses or additional benefits are triggered. For instance, 'The GreatLakes sales team hit their quota in H1, so in H2 an additional 8% bonus kicks in'
  • Targets are what is trying to be achieved. Often, a target may be a total, pattern, or trigger. It could be the number of customers who purchased (total), the sold product mix (pattern), the number of times an action is completed (Trigger). “While Canada is growing at 8%, Canada may miss their target revenue number of $800M”

Consider the following questions on each proposed data point:

  • Is it realistic? Is it possible to get the data and utilize the data with the desired audience?
  • Is it accurate? Is it based on reliable information?
  • Is it measuring what we think it measures? Is the metric truly related to the point you’re making?
  • Does it contribute audiences decision making? If the target audience member didn’t have this information, would it change their action?

Combining it all together

When done, look at everything holistically. If you’re building a single executive scorecard, the goal should be to get things down to 4 or less views that have 12-16 metrics total. If you’re building a more robust set of dashboards, the goal is to understand how to group views and metrics into logical categories that support insights for different audiences.

Folks will walk away with a deeper understanding of their business and have the information they need to drive the business forward.

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