Remember that kid in school who got a 4.0 GPA without even trying? It’s great to be naturally smart, but education can be more valuable when you work for it. In many ways, data reporting is the same. Collecting information is one thing, but understanding it and apply the insight you learn is a completely different story. In other words, data reporting works best when it’s powered by your desire to find the truth behind it.
What We Learned from Francis Tuttle Technology Center
Report writer, Gayle E. Maxwell, and data analyst, Laura Manahan, of Francis Tuttle recently took a few minutes to share their data reporting experiences with us. During our chat, Gayle shared her personal journey from enrollment consultant to report writer, where she and Laura now tag-team the institution’s dashboard initiative.
“I would ask questions 10 years ago that no one asked before,” Gayle told us. “That’s why I believe Francis Tuttle has been so successful – because Laura and I are always seeking the truth of our data!”
So what does a data truth-seeker look like in your industry? There are many answers to this question, but here are a few tips to get you started on the right track:
Don’t Freak Out if You Got a B- in Computer Science
You don’t need a degree in Information Technology to run a dashboard – or even understand one. That’s the beauty of data visualization: it’s accessible, and not just because it’s on your smartphone. Instead, focus on the truth behind your data, as Gayle suggests. “The people who are successful with [dashboards] don’t necessarily need to have high IT degrees,” she said, “but a desire to get to the ‘truth’ out of data.”You don’t need a degree in #InformationTechnology to run a #dashboard. Click To Tweet
Join the Drama Department and Act
In the education data reporting world, the best kind of data is actionable data. In one word, actionable data is powerful. It’s also smart, effective, and points you toward a solution. In the same way a successful meeting produces action items, your data should be a springboard for your plan of attack.
Benefits of actionable information:
- It helps you make a business decision
- It is specific and accurate
- It doesn’t leave room for guesswork
The best thing about actionable data is it’s never out of reach. Consider this example: Your business is acquiring more customers than ever, and you want to keep the trend going. Simply knowing things are moving in the right direction is good, but it doesn’t provide any answers. But what if you could identify the things new customers had in common? With this data, you could build a profile of your ideal customer and find more people like him or her. By taking the information you found a step further, you’ve turned stagnant facts into actionable data.The best thing about actionable #data is it’s never out of reach. Click To Tweet
Read next: Reporting Sucks. Let’s Make It Better.
Save the Jumping For Track & Field (and Don’t Rush to Conclusions)
You spent the majority of your early years in school, and maybe continued your education as an adult. So you know education takes time. A lot of time. Learning doesn’t happen overnight – and neither do solutions. There’s a difference between getting your information quickly and running at hasty decisions. This is especially true in the early stages of your dashboard initiative.
In order to have successful data tracking and an effective decision-making plan you need to:
- Identify KPIs (key performance indicators) that produce actionable information
- Track these metrics (aka KPIs) and establish a baseline for each performance indicator
- Set milestones for your success, such as when you want to meet a quota, etc.
- At your first milestone, reassess your data and identify your improvement
- Build on your success and set another milestone from your new baseline
Data reporting never ends, and your dashboard initiative shouldn’t either. Uncover data that pushes your business forward and continue refining it as performance improves.
Digging for the Truth in Your Data Starts with Data Viz
Data visualization is at the heart of dashboard reporting. At iDashboards, we believe any company, business, or institution can take their reporting (and performance) to the next level. If you want to find the truth in your data, make it easy to interpret and easy to share with our dashboard software. To start your dashboard initiative, take the first step with our 30-day, free trial of iDashboards.#Dataviz is at the heart of dashboard #reporting. Click To Tweet
Like what you read here? See how leaders in the education industry are doing more with dashboards.