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6 Top Tips to ensure your dashboards and reports are read and used

Published on 30 August 2019

6 Top Tips to ensure your dashboards and reports are read and used

For many analysts a constant frustration is that we spend a lot of time creating reports and dashboards that can make a real difference to our organisations, only to find that nobody is reading them. This is not only a waste of our time but a wasted opportunity. An objective of many insight teams is to reduce waste in our organisations, so this is a great place to start.

In this article we look at some common reasons why reports and dashboards are ignored and share some tips to overcome these.

  1. There isn’t time. Let’s be honest we don’t have time to read everything in our inbox so why should we expect this of others. Many of our reports can contain a lot of information and it takes time to drill through, time that our audience doesn’t have. Tip:Design reports and dashboards where the key action can be seen at a glance, keep it simple and don’t over complicate.
  2. I don’t understand it. As analysts we are comfortable being presented with complex data and it is easy to forget that our audience may be different. Presenting data in the way we like can confuse some of our audience. Tip: Share actions and conclusions rather than data. Remember we are the analysts not our audience.
  3. There are too many reports. In many organisations there are so many reports being shared that it would be a full time job just to review these. Tip: Report by exception, only share reports where action is needed and only with those who need to take action.
  4. I don’t know how to improve. When we are creating dashboards these are generally to drive improvements in individual performance. However, many organisations fall into the trap of expecting the dashboards to make the difference on their own. For this to work we are assuming that our advisors know how to perform well but aren’t trying. And for the small minority where this is the case, we can see an uplift where this happens, however, for the majority it is just something to worry about. Tip: To drive behavioural change you need to use the dashboards to support effective coaching. Before producing a dashboard ensure the coaching capability is in place to use it effectively.
  5. It doesn’t relate to my objectives. We all need to prioritise our work. Things that don’t relate to our objectives are likely to be given a low priority. There is never enough time in the day and in reality low priority pieces of work may never happen. Tip: Take time to understand the priorities of your business and stakeholders and clearly relate the outcomes from your reports and dashboards to these. If they cannot be easily linked, ask yourself, is this something you should be focussing on.
  6. Nobody is checking. If there is no way of tracking usage and no pressure from above to use your reports and dashboards, then it is likely that they won’t be a high priority with your audience. Tip: Have usage reporting publicly available. Don’t target on this, target on the outcomes. If people aren’t delivering their results then conversations can be had around their usage.

Date Published: 30/08/2019

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