Technology September 2, 2016 Last updated September 1st, 2016 2,243 Reads share

The Secrets to Building Effective Business Dashboards

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The hallmark of market/data-driven dashboards lies in the ability to see, comprehend, and propel concerned parties into action at a speed of thought. Usually, a well-planned dashboard allows both business leaders and employees alike to pose real-time questions, transform insight into action, as well as instigate true innovation.

But, before you take a dive into this exciting world of building business dashboards, take a step back to learn the basics.

Market research is important. But, if you just conduct market research without letting anyone know about the data, you’re not doing enough. Gone are the days when companies would only rely on research. Previously, organizations would fork out large sums of money conducting market research and unfortunately, would let research reports lie on the shelves; because of the incompressibility of the research finding, making it difficult to share them with the stakeholders.

However, since then, much has changed. You now enter the era of new and improved interactive dashboards. With the advent of customized marketing dashboards, you can easily report on your research findings and business metrics, making it easier for concerned parties to undertake an actionable plan.

Still, unless you build your dashboard using the best practices, your research might not get to the right people for action. If you want to build a better marketing dashboard, then consider the following as pillars to an effective, interactive, and well-designed dashboard. Keep reading!

Get to understand data consumption

Figure out how your data is going to be used. And, most importantly, get a better understanding of all the available data sources so that you can effectively determine which one suits your dashboard.

A dashboard is not a baseball cap

In order to meet individual needs, you need to tailor your numbers. For instance, your sales VP, as well as CFD, might want a different approach in terms of information presentation, and at times, they may have some preferences regarding the technique used in presenting the information in question. Therefore, you might have to consider putting in place different filters.

Infographics are important

Use it wisely. Do not use a dashboard that is full of boring charts. Instead, use a dashboard that leverage infographics to make it more engaging as well as driving more usage. It is important to note that overflowing your dashboard with lots of infographics is not going to do you any good. Therefore, never overdo it. However, at the same time factor in diversity as well. Make an interactive dashboard that can instantly communicate your key results versus benchmarks to all stakeholders.

Consider perspective 

The incorporation of conditional formatting when designing a dashboard is very important. Therefore, you should focus on a well-designed dashboard by accurately incorporating conditional formatting. Conditional formatting is responsible for turning a displayed figure to green when the sum exceeds the target/reaches the threshold, or clearly indicate the bench target. For the marketer, it is important to always make a comparison between the actual versus target benchmark to help you quickly evaluate how it’s impacting on your business.

Utilize multiple data sources

Pull in brand health measures, advertising, the number of sales, satisfaction, the launch of new products, your website traffic, and social measures so that all dashboard viewer can effectively understand what’s going on with your company’s brand. Though pure research might be of the view that they aren’t perfectly aligned, but the truth is that it helps the data consumer in understanding what is really going on in terms of your brand. Besides, the senior management might ask questions regarding on what impacts really the business.

Evaluate what you expect

Directly tying your dashboard to your firm’s objectives such as sales services, quality services, and efficiency is central to designing a very effective dashboard. For instance, you can craft a sales portal which makes it possible for a sales person and his supervisor to view what’s going on a single platform. This pulls in syndicated data and the goals for the business, therefore, promoting the business and sharing it in the process.

You can also focus on pulling in actual sales performance versus the goals and tie it directly to remuneration. This helps a salesperson to view his/her commission payout on the basis of the current status and what is required from him/her to qualify for a higher level of payout. Linking compensation to remuneration can go a long way in capturing your salespeople’s attention in addition to achieving your long-term objectives.

Design an iterative process

To get a great dashboard, you need good planning. And good planning starts from the basics. But also you need to consider changes in business plus the data sources that may occur at any stage. Ideally, you can make these changes from within the business according to the emergent needs.

Build the business

The introduction of advanced features in today’s dashboards has made it easy for people to send alerts and instantly request follow up. For instance, if the performance of a certain region flats beyond the threshold, the concerned manager will receive an alert with the necessary metrics in addition to a request to submit his/her action plan. When you build dashboards at the sales rep level, it is important that you report on central drivers of your business. Some of the key drivers you should take into consideration include:

  • Display coverage
  • New product distribution
  • Shelf space
  • Core product distribution.

Therefore, if you want an interactive dashboard that can effectively communicate your business goals, incorporate the above key drivers into your dashboard design.

Deal with bigger data

There’s a lot of data out there today that you can improve on how you consume it and act on it. Shop around for tools that will enable you to interrogate large data sets so that you are able
to aim for crisp and clean dashboards to show results. In so doing, all unusable data will be turned into useful information that you can distribute to relevant parties in the company for immediate action.

Image: Businessman Working Dashboard Strategy Research Concept

Rahis Saifi

Rahis Saifi

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