A Couple of Thoughts on Dashboards
This year I have had a couple of clients implement dashboards into their programs. Dashboards are amazing! They can be expensive, but when you think about the time they will save you, they are quite worth it.
A well thought out dashboard can provide a wealth of information in a snap. That can help you make strategic real-time decisions that can increase the impact of your program.
We have used dashboards for a couple of things this year:
- Comparisons of performance between years. (Which helped us answer, ‘How are we doing this year’?)
- Footprint traffic by hour. (Helped us answer, ‘When are the best times to activate?’)
- Create KPI and monitor them on an event-by-event basis. (Helped us answer, ‘Should we come back to this event last year?’)
- Monitor changes in performance on a weekly basis and provide the client with explanations for shifts.
- Identify possible trends in activation types that should be monitored
I could go on about what can be done with dashboards, but I think you get the idea. They are a valuable tool. Their uses are infinite.
Tips for getting the most out of a dashboard
Helping clients launch their dashboards this year have taught me a couple of lessons I would like to share:
1. Before you start building a dashboard, have a clear idea of what you want to do with it.
Both clients did a great job with this. They aligned their dashboard with the measurable goals of their programs so they could track their performance against these goals.
2. A dashboard analysis is only as good as the data that goes in.
If the data that goes in is wrong, the data that comes out will be wrong. You run the risk of making big decisions that could be counterproductive to your program. It’s as simple as that. Be diligent monitoring the inputs and KNOW your program. That way you can spot potentially erroneous data input.
3. A dashboard is a work in progress. Don’t expect to get it 100% perfect in the first version.
Heeding my first suggestion is a must. It can help you get off to a good start. But the best way to know what you want your dashboard to do is to work with it.
Dashboards can be expensive to build. However, if you set up your dashboard host on a retainer, you can have updates made to your dashboard without entering a long negotiation process. Using the retainer model can be cheaper in the long run, as well.
I am excited about working with dashboards. As I gain more experience with them, I will be sure to share.
Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/intelfreepress/