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Chapter 1

ADM1370 Chapter 1: Module 2 - Unit 3 Notes 2015-2017 - Umar Ruhi

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Umar Ruhi

Module 2 - Unit 3 Introducing Dashboards What are Dashboard and Reports? • There is a line between dashboards and reported • Many times both of these are confused with each other • Defining reports o This is the most common way to communicate business intelligence o This can be described as a document that contains data used for viewing and analysis o It’s a simple as a data table or as complex as a subtotalled view with interactive drill ng o A report doesn’t lead a reader to a predefined conclusion • Defining dashboards o This is a visual interface that provides at -a-glace views into key measures relevant to a par ticular objective o A dashboard has three key attributes • Display data graphically § Provide visuals that help focus attention on key trends • Display only data that is relevant to that goal of the dashboard • Contains predefined conclusions relevant to the goal of the dashboard § It also relieves the reader from having to preform the analysis Establish the User Requirements • The most important steps in building a dashboard are o Collecting user requirements • Like defining your audience, and collecting data • Define the message(s) o When getting a dashboard project, don’t be afraid to clarify what is the initial reques o Discuss the purpose • Establish the audience o Make sure you know who the end users will be • Talk to them about the das hboard • Define the performance measures o Most dashboard are designed around a set of measures call Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) • This is an indicator of the level of performance of a task deemed to be essential to daily operations • The idea behind this is to reveal the performance outside the norm o The measures that you use on a dashboard should support the initial goal of that dashboard o There is not need to be simply on dashboards • Its better to say "What is the overall revenue trend for the last two yea rs?" rather than just saying "Revenue" • List the required data sources o Its important to take a tally of the available database • Do you have access to the data sources necessary? • How often are those data sources updated? • Who owns and maintains those data sources? • What are the processes to get the data from those resources? • Does the data even exist? • Define the dimensions and filters o A dimension is a data category that you use to organize business data • Like region, market, branch o When defining a d imension you can determine how the measures should be grouped or distributed o Locking down the dimensions for a dashboard early in the process will save you headaches o Filters are mechanisms that allow you to narrow the scope of the data • Determine the need for drill-down details o Some dashboards comes with drill -down features that allow you to click through the details of a specific measure • This means the ability to get a raw data table supporting the measures shown on the dashboard • Establish the update sch edule o This refers to how often a dashboard is changed to reflect the latest information available o Its important to have a say in these schedules A Quick Look at Dashboard Design Principles • Excel users live in a world of numbers and tables o Not visual and designs • Most excel dashboards are given little visual design • A rule to improve your dashboards visual o Rule 1 - Keep it simple • Don’t turn your dashboard into a data mart • Forget about the fancy format • Simple tips to avoid overdoing § Avoid colours or backgrounds § De-emphasize borders § Don’t try to enhance your dashboard with clip art or pictures • Skip the unnecessary chart junk § Remove gridlines § Remove borders § Skip the trend lines § Avoid unnecessary data labels § Don’t show a legend if you don’t have to § Remove an axis that doesn’t add value • Limit each dashboard to one viewable page or screen • Use layout and placement to draw focus o Only include measures that support your dashboard's goal o Use locations to draw the user's attention • Readers have a natural tenden cy to go to a specific region of a document, use that to your advantage • This is a readers priority zone § 1 being the high prominence, attracting the most attention, and 3 with low prominence 1 1 2 3 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 • You can use these zones to your benefit • Format numbers effectively o Sort all your numbers in a table o Every piece of information should have a purpose o Here are guidelines to know when formatting the numbers • Always use commons to make numbers easier to read § i.e. 2345 -> 2,345 • Only use decimal places if that level of precision is required • Only use the dollar symbol when you need to clarify that you're referring to monetary values • Format large numbers to thousands or millions place § i.e. 16,906,714 -> 17M • Use titles and labels effectively o A customer should never have to ask what is a title doing there o Here are guidelines to know when labelling dashboards and reports • Always include a timestamp • Always include some text indicating when the data for the measures were retrieved • Use descriptive titles for each component Key Questions to Ask Before Distributing Your Dashboard • Before submitted your dashboard, its better to set back and measure it against some design principles • Does my dashboard present the right information? o Make sure that all the information presented meets the requirements o Ensure there is not useless data on the dashboard • Does everything on my dashboard have a purpose? o Make sure that everything presented is there for a reason, and is not just to be a filler • Does my dashboard prominently display the key message? o You want to ensure that the messages displayed are the right ones • Can I maintain this dashboard? o There is a big difference in updating a nd rebuilding a dashboard o You want to think about the frequency of updates and what processes you need to go through each one • Does my dashboard clearly display its scope and shelf life? o This should be specified in the dashboard o Anyone should be able to loo k at the information and say the time period its relevant to • Is my dashboard well documented? o Its important to document your dashboard and the data model behind it o A few simple things can help in documenting your dashboard • Add a Model Map tab to your data model • Use comments and labels liberally • Use colours to identify the ranges in your data model • Is my dashboard user-friendly? o Intuitive • Your dashboard should be intuitive to someone who has never seen it o Easy to navigate o Print properly • Is my dashboard accurate? o Nothing kills a dashboard faster than inaccurate information o Three factors that establish the perception that a dashboard is accurate • Consistency with authoritative sources • Internal consistency • Personal experience Using Excel Sparklines Understanding Sparklines • This enables you to see trends and patterns within your data at a glance using minimal space • Much of the reporting done in Excel is table -based o Sometimes you have too many columns to show your data properly o Sparklines allows you to add extra analysis in a concise visual within your table • Its not about making your table look nice, its about building the most effective message you can in the limited space you h
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