At the IFSUG conference this week in Cary, NC I met Stephen Harris from Bank of America. Stephen gave the talk "Manage Your Partners Before You Manage Your Dashboards: Designing Great Dashboards" covering the business aspects of successfully implementing dashboards. When you back up for a second to consider the requirements of the developers, outside of the tool functionalities, you realize that a dashboard reporter must have 5 specific skills.
- Investigator: Customers of new dashboards don't know what they don't know. You need to ask a wide variety of questions to determine what their needs are and what goals they are trying to fulfill.
- Creative: You must be creative enough in your design to fulfill the user's needs & make an intuitive user interface.
- Sales: Sometimes the recipient of the toolset isn't keen to learn the new tool or they do not see the benefit of moving to it. You need to sell them on the fact that this new tool will give them more timely & actionable information.
- Trainer: After you finally convince them to use the system, you have to patiently teach them how to use it.
- Project Manager: But throughout the entire process, you also need to continually communicate how the dashboard project development is going.
As the dashboard creator, if you have a weakness in a particular area add another person to your team to help ensure dashboard implementations are successful.
For more reading material about the business side of dashboard implementations, check out Dashboard Spy.