If a Business Intelligence (BI) dashboard is published without follow up strategy, future support, and continuing education… was it even published? Without implementing these important measures, organizations fall into the ever-present trap of weak dashboard utilization, which can lead to missed opportunity when driving business decisions and the fundamental success of measurable analytics.
Within this piece we’ll walk through the most common challenges seen when rolling out either a new or updated dashboard and how you can mitigate those challenges at the organizational level. Making sure your business is not only building quality dashboards within the data & analytics space, but also implementing the support your teams need in order to maintain and grow those dashboards in the future.
Addressing some of the biggest challenges’ boils down to a few areas;
Too many times organizations start out on a project without clear and concise goals to anchor them in their development. Not taking the time to address key questions such as “How many people are you expecting to roll out to?” or “Is licensing going to be an issue?” causes businesses to back track or lose their way. When building a BI dashboard, make sure you are outlining attainable and concrete goals, not only for you stakeholders, but also for your internal teams. Whether the dashboard is meant to replace or advance an existing dashboard, or even increase adoption, make sure to have set a definable course for your teams, easing future missteps and providing a strong foundation for growth and development.
Before publishing a dashboard, clearly identify what goals the organization would like to achieve. Much like personal goals, these can be separated into several categories, such as minimum goals, stretch goals, or by a specific business area. For example, a minimum goal for an Operations department could be “monthly breakdown of charges and payments by organizational area” and a stretch goal for IT leadership would look like “increase adoption of new tool by 10% within the next quarter”.
Oftentimes after developing and rolling out a dashboard, organizations forget a key element needed for success – ongoing support and training materials. With constant updates and changes within businesses, dashboard support and maintenance could arguably be considered more important than the dashboard rollout itself. With confusing terminology and intricate step-by-step processes, the lack of training materials could be a huge pitfall that leads to the failure of analytics organizations.
One additional stumbling block seen is when multiple reports are released that have similar definitions, but vary in some specific ways or methodologies. This causes distrust in the accuracy of the reporting and additional churn to clarify these terms to new operational leads. For example, a ‘Scheduling Dashboard for planned work’ versus an “Operation Dashboard for completed work’ may contain similar terms that are defined using different methodologies. Our recommendation in these cases is to continually review and update definitions as dashboards are created and include in part of the release planning process.
Support cannot and should not be a side project. There should be dedicated resources and bandwidth committed to supporting the organizational goals with the dashboard. This doesn’t always have to be in the form of an increase in headcount, but should, at the very least, be time that is set aside as dedicated issue resolution or as part of a resource’s schedule.
Strive worked with a large healthcare client to build out dedicated support within their organization and saw tremendous success. The team maintained a daily meeting after a broad dashboard release, giving individuals specific time to review and resolve any issues that arose, while also deciding on follow up actions and reviewing feedback they had received.
Sometimes, when dashboards are being created, the intent behind a set of visuals is clear to developers, but not initially clear to end users. Additionally, in the lifecycle of a dashboard, once it is released into the wild, some organizations tend to move onto the next priority without considering updating the current dashboard. This mostly manifests itself within businesses that have many dashboards that have outlived their usefulness.
In the world of business intelligence, documentation really does matter, specifically around any sort of dashboard release. Make sure you are archiving all documentation and diversifying forms such as training documents, business definitions, or videos to help the learning and development of resources. The business or product of a dashboard should be continually gathering feedback and improving throughout the lifecycle. This could take the form of functional changes or additions or just tweaks so that a visual is operating with is desired intent. Ensure that updates, changes, and development are properly communicated and tracked for all stakeholders and end users, ensuring that all team members are kept in the loop.
Businesses will come across multiple challenges throughout the dashboard development process, but building successful dashboards is only one part of the puzzle. Making sure to clearly and consistently update, communicate, and develop all functional training and support elements can help organizations navigate those challenges when the arise. Here at Strive Consulting, our subject matter experts’ team up with you to understand your core business needs, while taking a deeper dive into your organization’s growth strategy. Whether you are interested in BI dashboard implementation or an overall data and analytics assessment, Strive Consulting is dedicated to being your partner and committed to success.