The humble dashboard is limiting the potential of what businesses achieve with data and analytics.
The idea of a dashboard always sounds appealing, and of course they capture managements attention and look great in sales presentations, so we jump feet first into building them.
Once deployed however, dashboards rarely have genuine impact on the business or lead to any real behaviour change. The dashboards we see in the wild are infrequently consumed and only by a small group of managers who use them for strategic rather than operational decision making.
Rather than investing days into building yet-another-dashboard, data teams could spend their time on higher impact activities such as using data to automate processes, to optimise or personalise the user experience, or to inform employees of their next best action using operational analytics.
These would all likely to more lead to increased revenue and customer satisfaction than yet another high level dashboard that reports on the past.
Rather than jumping straight into an executive dashboard as the output of your analytics, consider the following:
- Rather than strategic dashboards, are we better to build operational business intelligence which can be used by team members on the ground to make the best decisions, before KPIs are even impacted?
- Can we use the data or analytics to actually improve the customer and employee experience at source in order to improve the KPI before it is ever reported on?
- Can we automate the actioning of insights and analytics so humans are totally removed from the decision making process?
- Should we disseminate the insights and analytics through another channel, perhaps through SMS, push notifications, or in-line within another application where it is most likely to be actioned.
Self service dashboards of course have their place, but they are really vanilla table-stakes and just one piece of the overall puzzle. To build a truly responsive, real time and intelligent organisation we really need to move beyond this to use data in an intelligent and automated way, and integrate the responses into the most appropriate channel.