Dashboard - The Novel Tool in Responsive Decision Making
Updated: Jan 25
16 January 2023 – Best view with desktop
The day-to-day decision making at every level of organisation
Data visualisation is a digital dashboard that displays data and important information to provide an overview of organisation’s performance. Some of the organisations showcase dashboards publicly for example are Bursa Malaysia, one of the largest bourses in South East Asia, for assessing the maturity of 101 Public Listed Companies (PLCs) in transformation programme. Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) describes the economic performance, a supply and use table depicting the relationship between producers and consumers as well as interdependence among industries. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) provided a snapshot of the Malaysia Employment analysis from 2010 until 2019.
A dashboard can help organisation at all levels, be it management or operation team, to enable decision making from evidence-based fact in real time transparently as part of organisation governance. This can be done by viewing key metrics as value metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) through visualisation tools.
Organisation can customised a productivity or balanced score card (BSC) to display the specific data and information to identify trends, benchmark performance, and from business intelligence to make an informed decision before implementing right action plan. Otherwise, without supporting data, the risk could be making uninformed decision which may be detrimental to organisation’s productivity and profitability.
The dashboard shall have its title to describe what kind of data that user or organisation wants to present and deliver to people. After that, the dashboard will show indicators as KPI, time series, location, and table. Normally, the indicators will present first due to the dashboard having to deliver the snapshot of the data. Time series will present the following to let people know the changes over time and location present the main location should target by user or organisation. After the present snapshot of overall data, the independent data showing by using graph, and the table will be the last because the table has all of the information and details.
The benefits of having dashboard are:
Transparency and centralised accessibility
Up-to-date and fast progress evaluation
Interactive with drill down
Reduce time to ad-hoc reporting and decision making
Data analytics and automation is key to dashboard design
Data sourcing be it from existing spreadsheet local computer or output of your app (i.e. accounting software) to public domain data from internet is widely available. The key is data automation to consolidate these datapoints and display them as data visualisation that is useful to organisation. This requires the whole of organisation (WOO) to work together to define and design this fit-for-purpose dashboard.
In some cases, automation with Artificial Intelligence (AI) features can be added such as context search, and sentiment analysis based on human emotion articulated from social media is important to organisation compared. These tools are not farfetched and available today.
Users or organisations can make a decision and take action easily based on drilling down the important information to implement a real-time dashboard (i.e. set important measures and capacity to drill down information to the data level in a time series manner dynamically). They can ascertain the strength and weaknesses of themselves, and competitors based on the real-time dashboard.
Extract, Transform, Load and Action (ETLA)
Consider a data warehouse with an ETLA process:
Extract - Datafile with data digitisation and automation from utilising tools such as Google Business Profile, Google Review, Apify Scraper, Google Form, Point of Sales (POS), corporate app
Transform – Analyse and queries data to build a data warehouse (i.e. Big Query)
Load - Report data from Microsoft (i.e. Excel with add-ins Meaning Cloud, Power BI), Google (i.e. Sheet, Data Studio)
Action - Provide a link to a common app or files and suggested action plans to dashboard user (i.e. Promote relevant offer at right time, upsell offer by increasing purchasing value or frequency or timing)
Begin with measures and determine data sources
A dashboard is the most efficient way to monitor and analyse the organisation’s data. Organisation can easily have a dashboard because there is no coding for the process from spreadsheet to analysis and visualisation.
One mock example of a housing foundation providing financial assistance to lower income groups on the approach of utilising data analytics and a dashboard to make decision
Collect data from the survey (or interviews or invoice data) into the spreadsheet (i.e. Microsoft Excel or Google sheet)
Analyse from the spreadsheet (i.e. calculating measures such as Disposable income, Debt to Service ratio, etc.)
Present in the dashboard with Visualisation tools (i.e. Google Looker / Data studio)
Affordable Housing Financial Assistance Dashboard
Transforming and loading data meaningfully with SQL base and Google BigQuery tool
One of the most useful tools in Transforming and loading data is Google BigQuery offered by Google Cloud Platform (GCP). GCP not only relatively ease to use but cost-effectively (and its free if organisation has low data usage or storage) implemented to individuals or organisation at large.
The brief BigQuery tool features are:
Strictly for the datatypes of data to avoid inaccurate datatypes of data shown in the dashboard.
Speed and scalability are suitable for use in processing huge datasets thus user or organisation can build their own data warehouse to store data.
Build your own data warehouse on the cloud platform and serverless architecture to have real-time analytics automatically.
High availability for multiple locations of storage
Backup and easy to restore
SQL base, the must know skillset for managing database
SQL base is a data-driven programming language that is primarily used to query and manipulate data in BigQuery. SQL is highly portable due to that can be embedded with programs based on the requirements and easily transferred from one device to another. SQL is a relational database query language that has been accepted by ISO (International Standards Organization) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute). Besides, SQL is also a domain language that is simple to learn and easy to understand because SQL is made up of English statements and does not need coding skills, which is understandable to non-programmers.
Everyone can do analysis and develop a dashboard by yourselves Dashboard are popular tools for visualising data and presenting information clearly and concisely for the user or ogranisation to make decisions easily and quickly. The user or organisation should set up a dashboard with meaningful metrics as the data and information that the user or organisation needs o know and look at every morning and before making a decision. For the sales manager or founder, the important data and information to know are whether the organisation’s actual revenue meets the target.
For the foundation case study that provides financial assistance to help B40 with home ownership considering the important data and information to know are bankruptcy, disposable income, debt to service ratio, etc. as part of quality decision making.