Veggie gardening has been an interesting road for the Cittadini clan, and in an odd way strangely represents the challenges our customers have in maintaining their analytics Dashboards.
We have a small piece of property within the city of Portland, Oregon, and make do with 3 garden beds. In early spring we enthusiastically set our planting plan into action. My wife and I head to the garden store, get our seed packs and starters, lug the 5-gallon bucket of tools out of the garage, and carefully plant each garden bed to ensure we have some sense of order. We always fool ourselves into thinking that this will be the year that we follow through right into the fall. Urban homesteader dreams, very Portland.
We have a good routine through early summer. Inevitably though, as activities get more frequent interest wanes. Watering is consistent, but the pruning and fine-tuning work takes a holiday. By September, the garden is unruly. Tomato plants start pulling away from their stakes. Wild greens go to seed. Squash and zucchini resemble tubular monsters unfit for hiding in bread, and are definitely not suitable to pawn off on neighbors. As fall rolls in, we scavenge, quietly miffed at our neglect. Somehow we embrace this as an inevitable part of the process each year.
Alright, so where does this fit into Dashboards maintenance?
This same problematic cycle can exist for our clients in their reporting world. Dashboards and specific report views continue to be added over time resulting in unwieldy views. Simplicity and extensibility become friction points that leave the end-user lost in the middle. Endless data points are available but incredibly hard to find. That doesn’t need to be the case though.
A good place to start is with reevaluating goals so the right story is told the right audience. Is your goal to track action? Show progress to upper management? Monitor KPIs? Many times goals get lost in reactionary requests that have no true alignment to the needs of the business.
Pull out that 5-gallon bucket of tools and get cracking on your Dashboards with these simple tips!
Weeding and Pruning
- Be bold! Cut away what’s not being used by sunsetting dashboards that no longer support key performance indicators and strategic goals. Eliminate extraneous tabs that aren’t being effectively used today. Your GreatVines team can assist here.
- Evaluate fields within the reports you will continue to maintain. Eliminate fields or selection criteria that have less relevance than previously thought.
- Simplify what different end-users see. Make sure functional roles only see dashboards relevant to their work.
- Your data dashboard should not be used to measure every single metric possible. Create views that track the essentials for your teams and place peripheral metrics in separate dashboards. Or leave them out altogether.
- Create a landing page with crucial topline metrics with supporting drill throughs to detailed dashboards. This allows users to make quick evaluations while giving them the ability to quickly dive in deeper if needed.
- Cluster your dashboards by types. It helps different groups access data quickly.
- Operational Dashboards – These dashboards help the user see what’s happening right now.
- Analytical Dashboards – These dashboards give the user a clear view of performance trends and potential problems.
- Strategic Dashboards – This type of dashboard lets the user track their main strategic goals via KPIs.
Share the Fruits of Your Labor
- Inspire – Use the updates as a chance to reinvigorate the team around the data available.
- Coach – Help establish new routines in 1:1’s where dashboards are reviewed to better understand individual challenges and help formulate new plans.
- Educate – Empower your team to be dashboard specialists.
This may feel like a big undertaking but feel don’t fret! Many times this is more about reducing what’s there, trimming back for clarity versus completely “turning the garden bed”. We’re here to help. Our Business Intelligence team can provide a free consultation and recommendations to help get you on your way. It’s as easy as submitting a ticket and we’ll schedule the first call.