Following an enquiry from a client, I recently appealed to the ICG Member Forum for advice on establishing and using competitor dashboards to communicate research and other relevant data to a broad client audience.
It quickly became clear that there are three broad approaches that could be adopted:
- Using commercially available dashboard software. Examples include Clicdata, Zoho, Cyfe, Power BI, Qliksense, Alteryx.
- Adapting software normally used as a survey tool to allow input from other sources.
- Using Excel. An example forwarded from a member showed that this could achieve very professional-looking results for someone with the right skills.
Useful advice was also forthcoming on the contents of any dashboard:
- Make it easy to digest at a glance (e.g. use a traffic light system).
- Try to avoid mixing up too many different units of measurement, or at least cluster them together (e.g. percentages together, 5 point scales together).
- Be careful you don't end up encouraging meaningless comparisons of data.
I was subsequently able to provide a range of options to my client. I suggested the following questions as a way of clarifying their specific needs from the dashboard, which may be useful to anyone planning a similar project:
- How many people would need to have access to the data?
- How do you want that data to be accessed (via an intranet, document emailed round etc)?
- What metrics should/could be included?
- What format do these metrics come in?
- How frequently will the data need to be updated?
- Is any analysis ability required (e.g. by subgroups, comparing competitors on a single measure etc.)?
- How much interpretation do you want to include with the data (i.e. is the data itself sufficient, or is commentary needed)?
- How smartly do you want the data to be presented?
- How much are you prepared to invest?