Is all information are equally important for running your business smoothly? Or one is more desirable than others? Do you need to see detailed data on the first page of your report and devote precious time to analyze and interpret them? Or maybe it’s better to look at a carefully selected information with additional colour, which guides you through electrifying insights?
Often, when I talk to clients, I find out that most of them still live in the world of long charts and tables. As if a true report should be very detailed, very extensive and covers large areas of the subject.
My approach, which I offer, is slightly different. If we would like to craft an insightful dashboard, it’s good to follow several rules:
1. Select information, which is relevant and depicts the business condition.
2. Design indicators that will change daily and alarming colour coding can be easily applied.
3. Keep it simple. Don’t overload it.
4. The rest of the information is saved for sub-pages.
We aiming in designing a tool, which helps to make a data-driven decision for business decision-makers. Very often, they just have a blink of an eye to see a complex situation.
Let’s check an example. Let’s imagine that you are the Sales Director. What information you would like to check sipping morning coffee?
On below two approaches, we present exactly the same information:
– current sales,
– change over time,
However, the difference is huge when we take into account the speed of digesting the information, the making sense of it, and perhaps actions, which we are going to take.
The analytical approach doesn’t provide quick insights. Some time must be involved to understand what a graph presents, then find out the number for current year sales, then to compare bars, then to estimate how large gap is between current and last year sales and budget.
On the KPI approach (Key Performance Indicators) desirable information is presented at glance. KPIs are selected to tell a story and facilitate to understand the situation. No additional effort is needed. You as the Sales Director can easily conclude and act. You just see it.