Analytic Dashboard

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Analytic Dashboard

Real-time dashboards — the kinds that show up on a big screen in a call center — are an entirely different beast than your standard management dashboard. Their job is to support immediate decision-making. As a result, the information must be easy to interpret, alert users to problems, and make the next action obvious. In addition to key success metrics, real-time dashboards may show detailed data about the action “on the ground.”
A summary status that indicates how things stand overall. Users need to be able to tell at a glance whether they should worry or not.
Reflect a well-understood structure of the business. By the time you design a real-time dashboard, you should have a strong theory for how the pieces of the business fit together. For example, in the call center business, there are clearly defined success measures (e.g. wait time), a mathematical relationship between these measures and their underlying drivers (e.g. call volume), and known levers to address problems (e.g. staffing levels).
Support quick diagnosis of problems. The data presentation should point directly to the likely source of the problem. Real-time dashboards aren’t the place for deep analysis or introspection into the drivers of the business.
Getting time right on an operational dashboard is critical. If the measures and trends represent too long a time period, users may not react to changes quickly enough. On the other hand, very small time windows encourage frantic reactions to changes that may not represent real trends. Ideally, the dashboard should offer the ability to configure this time range and “freeze” a moment in time.
Naturally, alerting users to problems is a central mission for real-time dashboards. The challenge (as always with alerts) is to balance between “the sky is falling” hysteria and “don’t worry, be happy” apathy. Not all problems have the same impact on the business, and finding a way to communicate this relative importance is valuable.
If real-time dashboards are about identifying and responding to issues, the tool should point users to what they can do about a problem. This can be as simple as displaying the phone number of the right person to call.