The Unavoidable Dashboard – Driving KPI Adoption and Performance Management from the Desktop

Dashboard Spy readers know that I have one particular worry that always keeps me up during a business intelligence dashboard project. What if I built a dashboard and no one cared? I mean that literally. What if the only ones who ever visited the dashboard, or clicked on the data drilldowns, or looked at the charts and graphs were the project sponsor, the programming team, the data analysts, the user interface designers and myself? No business users at all. The business dashboard itself might be a thing of absolute perfection with just the right nuances in the data visualizations, all the best factors in information architecture and usability, stunning graphic design and intuitive navigation, etc, etc. – But so what? In other words, we threw the best damn party in business intelligence reporting and no guests came at all. What a waste of money and talent that would be.

Others have been thinking about similar scenarios as well and trying to solve this challenge in innovative ways. Alan Wille, President and CEO of Serence Inc has been passionate about the idea of where to place business KPIs, dashboards, and reports so that users can’t avoid the message. As reported previously by The Dashboard Spy in the post titled The 3 Rules of Dashboards, Mr. Wille has vigorously promoted the idea of The Rule of Placement. As he likes to explain, the key to user adoption is location, location, location. Mr. Wille is advancing the bold idea that the user’s PC desktop is the right place to put KPIs because that way they are always automatically presented to a user, who may often be too busy to ask for the business metrics.

Allan has kindly submitted a great article on the subject for Dashboard Spy readers entitled “Drive Adoption and Performance from the Desktop: Innate awareness of performance hinges on unavoidable KPI reporting“. You can click on the “more” link below this dashboard screenshot to access the rest of this post for the content, or, if you prefer, click on the link to access the PDF version for printing.

unavoidable dashboard - desktop KPIs

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Communications Performance Management Dashboard – Using Xcelsius to display internal communication KPIs

In a recent post regarding internal communications and public relations enterprise dashboards, I showed some work by theleanagency.biz, a communications agency in London that is using Xcelsius dashboard technology to provide their clients with measurements of their communications programs. I focused on the relevant KPIs in that post but did not do justice to the actual dashboards. I snooped around, using typically sneaky Dashboard Spy techniques, and now have a large screenshot of their Internal Communications Dashboard and present it for your study here.

Note that while, this executive dashboard is done in Crystal Xcelsius (used most often for “what-if style dashboards”), it does so mostly using only the “view-only” modes. There is interactivity for the date selection dropdown and descriptive data mouseovers in the KPI charts, so Xcelsius is shown to be a fine choice for read-only dashboards as well.

Here is the executive dashboad screenshot. A listing of the relevant KPIs follow:

Communications KPI Dashboard

Internal Communications KPIs

For another approach to monitoring the performance of internal communications, take a look at this Klipfolio Dashboard for Internal Communications. Klipfolio dashboards reside on the user desktop (acting like desktop widgets) and present the metrics in a very immediate manner to users.

Klipfolio Dashboard for Internal Communications

Tags: Klipfolio Dashboard for Internal Communications

Homework: Usabilty is key when presenting to the end user through a dashboard. Study up on the discipline of usability. Start with these usability books. Also, as these dashboards are executed in the easy-to-use Xcelsius, take a look at the book, Crystal Xcelsius For Dummies .

So who is the Dashboard Spy? No one really knows, but his growing collection of enterprise dashboard screenshots has captured the imagination of the executive dashboarding community. From excel dashboards and custom-built business scorecards, to xcelsius and flex-based visualizations, the dashboard screenshots at dashboardspy.com serve both as nuggets of inspiration and warnings of what not to do on an enterprise dashboard. These hits and misses will enlighten and entertain. Technology-neutral, and always business-driven, the Dashboard Spy website is the place to go to learn about the latest enterprise dashboard packages. Check out the Dashboard Spy’s latest recommended book, Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data.