Salesforce.com Mobile Dashboards for the iPad

Mobile dashboards for the iPad have steadily grown in popularity. Here’s a quick look at Salesforce.com’s mobile dashboards. The sales force, of course, is constantly on the run and, subsequently, being able to pull up relevant dashboards quickly on mobile devices is a big need. The salesforce.com app saves time by using “recent” and “followed” dashboard views as a key navigation style.

Take a look at this screenshot from an iPad. It shows recently viewed dashboards.

When you click on one, it comes up like this Sales Activity dashboard:

And this screenshot shows the dashboard being configured. Note the styling details.

Here is a video explaining these dashboards in more detail.

Dashboard Overload

Hello, my name is the Dashboard Spy and I’m a dashboard-aholic. Yes, I’ve looked at thousands of dashboards and I think they’re all wonderful. And, if you’re like most of my readers and involved in the design, implementation or management of business dashboards, I bet you also think that they are the best thing since the pie chart. 

BUT, if you are a dashboard USER, there may be times when you think that you’re getting too much of a good thing. It may be that you are getting overwhelmed by all the enthusiastic dashboarders in your company.

Horrors! I’ve said it. Dashboards are too much of a good thing? But, Mr. Dashboard Spy, have you lost your mind?

Take a look at the wonderful post titled The Great Dashboard Cleanup Project on the blog Force Monkey by JP Seabury.

salesforce.com dashboard

JP Seabury tells the tale of how he downloaded the Salesforce.com AppExchange Dashboard Pack and created a snowballing dashboard phenomenon at his company. A good thing, right? His regret now, however, is that these dashboards have taken over and that there is a misplaced emphasis on the dashboard as a tool rather than the business intelligence they should provide.

Very early in our implementation of Salesforce.com, I wanted to show the power of Dashboards to my users. I downloaded AppExchange Dashboard Pack 1.0. The application is free, and installs all of the many dashboards published by Salesforce Labs. The package had dashboards for every conceivable use: lead flow, marketing campaign metrics, sales forecasting, support KPI, sales / support rep performance tracking, document tab tracking, user adoption, data quality analytics … everything.

I downloaded the app, did a little tweaking (very little), and then published the dashboards to my users. When Summer’08 Release gave us the ability to email dashboards (as an HTML page) directly to users, I enabled that functionality for a few key managers and user groups, too.

Soon after, I saw copies of dashboards distributed at various meetings and screenshots of dashboard components included in PowerPoint presentations. Managers and executives looked forward to their daily, weekly and/or monthly Dashboard emails, and talked animatedly about them in the halls or at company meetings. I felt good.

Yet something was wrong. I couldn’t quite place my finger on what it was, but the monster was there, elusive. The users asked for more dashboards, more pretty graphs, charts, tables, and I appeased them. Today, we have more than 50 different dashboards and hundreds of reports feeding those dashboards. It’s an absolute glut of information. And this monster I created now has a name: Data Admiration.

They come to the CRM tool, very excited about the volumes of data and information captured in our Salesforce Dashboards. They drink deep from the kool-aid. But none of these dashboards seem to drive any real change in the organization. Why not?

Check out his post to read his reflection on why this mass dashboard adoption seemed hollow.

Interestingly, one of his readers provided a comment on the proliferation of dashboards and the required Dashboard Cleanup Project done at his company:

I’m not really in to reports and dashboards, but I’d just like to share some horrifying numbers with you: Before our large cleanup project started 6 months ago we had roughly 6000 reports feeding little over 1000 dashboards, all thrown out in folders without any naming convention of any kind.

Now we’re a bit better off, especially because the folders have been organized by area and we have a central team handling everything that has to do with reports.

1,000 dashboards at his company? Wow.

Please share any stories regarding dashboards running amok at your company.

PS. The above screenshot shows a sales performance dashboard. For an interesting look at how to deploy sales metric dashboads using the PC Desktop Widget approach, see: Salesforce dashboard

Regards Hubert Lee The Dashboard Spy

Tags: Dashboard Adoption, Dashboard Implementation

Dashboard Desktop Business Widgets for the Salesforce

Enterprise Dashboard Topic: Where to place the executive dashboard – in the browser (rich internet application), in a fat client (.NET windows software) or on the PC desktop itself (Desktop Widget)?

In a recent Dashboard Spy discussion, we looked at some BI Desktop Widgets from the dashboarding lab over at Business Objects. This is a very exciting idea that effectively addresses one of the 3 Rules of Dashboarding – The Rule of Placement. Both Business Objects and Oracle have been experimenting with placing dashboards closer to the user, that is, right on their PC desktops. The idea is that you don’t even have to launch an application to monitor your KPIs and metrics.

Here is a further look at what Business Objects is doing with widgets. Over at their development site, they have launched a beta of Crystal Xcelsius Business Widgets for Salesforce.com.

Take a look at these dashboard widgets on the desktop:

Enterprise dashboard - Business Widgets Beta screenshot of desktop dashboards

As they explain in this pdf on the Business Widgets Beta, a business widget for salesforce.com is a mini-application that allows you to access data from salesforce.com without logging in and navigating to various metrics pages.

There are 10 business widgets for the salesforce.com CRM. Let’s take a closer look at the individual dashboard widgets:

The first is the Sales Revenue Tracker. Use it to track expected revenue, pipeline statistics and quarterly revenues achieved to date.

Business widget sales revenue

Click for the next business widget:

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Salesforce.com Dashboard for Sales Performance and Commission Metrics

Dashboard Example: Sales Force Dashboards. Nothing allows an at-a-glance understanding of the sales performance of your sales team lika Salesforce Dashboard.

Salesforce.com has evolved from a CRM application service to an application platform that can host third party provided functionality. AppExchange is where external developers can create add-on applications that link into the main system. This has become a popular way for users to extend the functionality. There are over 600 apps available, many of which take the form of dashboards. Today we look at a couple of dashboard screenshots that focus on sales performance and sales commission measurement.

To start off, here is a screenshot of Lucidic’s Sales Performance Manager Dashboard:
Saleforce.com Sales Performance Dashboard
You can see that it is very straight-forward from the excel-style dashboard school.
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Secret Salesforce Management Dashboard

Sorry – I can’t divulge anything about this salesforce management dashboard. Excuse the censorship in the graphic. Note the quote from a happy user – “It deserves to win a Nobel Prize!”. Talk about a happy user. Thanks to the Dashboard Spy who smuggled me this screenshot:

Secret Sales Management Dashboard

For more information on managing sales forces and teams with business dashboards, please see:

Salesforce Dashboard: Using the PC Desktop as a Deployment Platform for Salesforce Dashboards.

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of business dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books.