Judah Phillips on “dashboarding”
“Dashboarding is a type of reporting; however, it is different enough from traditional reporting to outline it as its own analytics activity. Although there is no rule of thumb, you may have 100 reports but only one dashboard. Or you may have 10 reports and only one dashboard. The relationship is always that you have fewer dashboards than reports. RASTA-reporting principles can also be applied to dashboards. Dashboarding requires special handling and treatment so that the most relevant, useful KPIs and data are presented in such a way that the data can be explored. The high-level KPIs can be drilled into and explored. The concept of LIVES dashboarding presents an easy-to-remember mnemonic for creating useful dashboards:
• Linked: Dashboards may be delivered in hard copy, but it is more common to view dashboards via a browser or application. Hyperlinking then becomes key to dashboarding because linking can be used to link to other relevant artifacts, such as detail reports and written analysis about the business condition expressed in the dashboard. It is becoming more frequent to see mobile dashboards and even apps for reporting data analysis and dashboarding.
• Interactive: Although it is common to see dashboards that do not enable the exploration of the data within them, the best and most useful dashboards enable drilling down and filtering into the data from the charts and graphs. Often these drilldowns are into detailed data or secondary KPIs.
• Visually driven: Whereas reports are mainly composed of columns and rows of data, dashboards communicate data through charts and graphs. A strong visual narrative using data visualization best practices and clear information design and user experience is always helpful for dashboarding.
• Echeloned: Organize information and data presented in dashboards by relevance and priority to the audience. Put KPIs and other visualizations on your dashboard in the best position for the culture. For example, English speakers look up to the top left on a page, but Hebrew speakers look up and to the right.
• Strategic: Dashboards are not supposed to simply include total counts of this or that metric or data point. Instead, they are supposed to quickly communicate important numbers, KPIs, trends, and data visualizations to the business. These KPIs and data visualizations must be tied to business strategy. The tactics of the business, thus, influence the movement of the data on dashboards. And the movement of data in one direction or another should indicate tactical success or failure to help pinpoint the outcomes of current strategy”
From “Building a Digital Analytics Organization. Create Value by Integrating Analytical Processes, Technology, and People into Business Operations (by Judah Phillips, p.162-163)