Creating a Digital Dashboard – Part 3

Home / Creating a Digital Dashboard – Part 3

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, there are several key requirements for implementing a digital dashboard successfully in your company.  In addition to displaying actionable data that has a valid context, another important point that is often ignored is that a dashboard should display its information on one page.

The reason this is often ignored in organizations is because there is a strong temptation to load a dashboard up with all kinds of information that applies to different divisions of the company, and naturally, it makes sense to most users that each of those divisions should have a way to filter the information so they only see what applies to them.  Additionally, the simple fact that there are a lot of metrics that management would like to display means that often dashboards end up having tabs at the top that allow a user to view pages such as “Production”, “Support”, and “Quality Control”.

The problem with this approach is that if you hide your actionable data metrics on sub-pages or behind filter controls, your users will never look at these metrics.  As discussed previously, a dashboard needs to contain data that users can see “at a glance” and act on.  When the data is buried behind filters, tabs, dropdowns or other “drill-down” controls, the data will not be able to be seen at a glance, and therefore it will not be acted on, and much of the value of the dashboard will be lost.

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So how can we provide users with only the data they want to see, and the ability to only see the data that applies to them?  There are two approaches I would suggest.

Firstly, in order to keep different departments from seeing data they don’t need to see, instead of forcing them to select dropdowns and tabs, it is much preferable to simply create a “view” of the dashboard for that particular user’s profile.  That way, when they come to the page, they see a one-page dashboard that shows all the pertinent information to them, without being distracted by other departments’ metrics.

Secondly, if, instead of departmental data, your data is separated by some other grouping – for instance geographical region – another approach is to just show “problem items”.  So instead of having a dial that shows the profitability for each region – which must be filtered via dropdown in order for a different region to be selected – just show the region with the worst profitability rate, and don’t show any of the others.  In general, as long as a region isn’t at the bottom of the list, they probably aren’t going to act on the data immediately anyway, so its not worth potentially hiding the problem region by forcing them to “drill down”.

So, in summary, if you want to have a successful dashboard that improves the effectiveness of your business, you need to make sure that:

1. The Metrics are Actionable

2. The Metrics have a Context

3. The Metrics are on One Page

If you would like to learn more about how these rules can be applied to your organization, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

Sam Schutte
Sam Schutte

Sam is the founder of Unstoppable Software, and has his hands in all aspects of its operations and growth. He loves architecting software solutions to fit a specific business need and helping CIOs and other technology managers figure out their software development strategies.

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