Dashboards and Data Viz

A note to the Senior Executives – your “product” is the delivery of information and needs to be updated.

In a recent US Today article entitled “How CEOs are Nearly Illiterate about Technology”, Michael Wolff noted that politicians talking about the introduction of the healthcare.gov web site stated the “product” was good, just the “process” was troubled. Wolff noted that for most people “the process is the product.” On a more general note he later wrote “there are few CEOs who can get their heads around the notion that their main value added and distinguishing products are not the cars they manufacture, or credit they supply, or hotel rooms they offer, or merchandise they stock, but the process by which consumers interact with what is being sold.

If you’re a Senior Manager, isn’t part of your “product” the ability to communicate relevant information that improves performance, creates positive change, or helps increase profitability?  If so, are you still reporting results to your stakeholders, employees, or customers the same way results were reported back in the early 1990’s when Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States?  In other words, are you still using Excel as your reporting tool?

Read next: What Makes An Effective Executive Dashboard?

As we approach 2014 we need to realize that “the process is the product” and if the numbers are difficult to understand, or if those receiving your reports can’t see the story behind the numbers because the story is hidden in rows and columns, you need a better process.

Dashboards provide visibility. Visibility creates accountability, and accountability creates positive change. Recently a manufacturer put together a dashboard based on Excel data they had looked at every week and noticed a trend that maybe should have been obvious to them but wasn’t until they saw the numbers in a picture. By making minor scheduling changes they almost completely stopped the need for overnight shipping and are now saving $10,000 a week in shipping costs.  After updating their “process” their employees were able to make immediate changes, and they added $500,000/year to the bottom line.  Take the rows and columns of data in your current Excel files and turn them into insight that will have a positive impact on your business.  Isn’t it time you improved your process?

Tim Barr – Director, Cloud Sales, iDashboards


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