With the amount of data available to companies, there tends to be an overpopulation of reports and marketing dashboards at many companies. When done properly, dashboards are critical to successful company operations.
Do you dashboard right?
Do you know the difference between a dashboard and a report? Lots of companies don’t set their dashboards up for success. I bring you 5 things to avoid in your dashboard process. DON’T…
1. Create a dashboard without understanding its purpose
When someone requests a dashboard, it is critical to sit down with them to understand the purpose of the dashboard – is there a goal they are trying to monitor progress toward? This will help you determine the proper metrics and visual display. Also, how frequently will the dashboard be needed – daily, weekly, monthly?
2. Assume your data is in order
Too many companies embark on their reporting and dashboarding efforts only to find, after much time investment in building reports, that the architecture of their data won’t allow them to generate the reports they want OR that their data hygiene is not up to par. Having missing or incorrect data in critical reporting fields will render reports and dashboards useless. Before you invest time in designing your reports, check your structure and cleanliness of your data to make sure it is ripe for reporting.
3. Forget to baseline the metrics
When you begin your reporting efforts (or any new initiative), it is so important to capture “where you are today”. All the work you do from that point forward will show the progress, or areas to improve, this new effort brings to the company. So capture your metrics at the beginning so that you always have a point of reference for “where you once were”.
It is also helpful to compare to others in your industry, of your company size, etc. But be careful – not all benchmarks are created equally!
4. Email a dashboard and hope people will review it
People are busy! They like dashboards and they want to know the information communicated but they don’t always take time to sit and digest what you’ve sent them. Setup check-ins after sending the dashboard. Create an opportunity for you to present the data. The stakeholder will appreciate having the knowledge and having the time carved out to ensure they are tracking toward their goals.
5. Forget to analyze!
Dashboards are just numbers with pretty visuals if no context and analysis is provided. Don’t just send numbers made pretty. Take the time to put the metrics in context. Make recommendations and take the reader to the next level of processing what you’ve put together.
Avoid these all-too-common Dashboard Don’ts and your dashboards will obtain much higher adoption!