Hints and Tips – Best practice for competitor dashboards

05 Jan 2017 | Research & Business Knowledge

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?