Essential Budgeting & Planning System Components – Part 5: Tactical Planning Dashboards with Visualizationsby Dwight deVera
For my final post in this series, I’ll cover tactical planning dashboards as a component that shows planners where they can make the changes that have the biggest impact on the plan.
Data visualization has struck a chord with many executive decision-makers as a way to condense large amounts of information, format it in a way that’s easy to digest and understand, and most importantly, reveal vital business insights that can help them make better decisions. Thankfully, visualizations are not reserved for executive decision-makers; similar types of visualizations can be beneficial for planning managers too.
Planning dashboards allow planners to see the whole picture at a glance, determine whether their plans are favorable or not, and provide guidance for where to direct their attention. When budgets are out of alignment or plans are going astray as the year progresses, the visualizations on a planning dashboard say, “look exactly here – this is your problem – this is where you can make an adjustment that will have a real impact – the other changes you’re going to make are a waste of time.”
The Future of Dashboards
Speaker: Dwight deVera, SVP of Professional Services at arcplan
There’s something wrong with dashboards – they’re stuck in the past. They’re designed for functional areas or departments, but as a modern decision-maker, you might need to view cross-functional KPIs from finance, sales, operations, marketing, and HR to make good decisions. So how do you reconcile the dashboards you have with the views you actually need to be effective?
In this webinar, we demonstrate:
- Why dashboards need to reflect the matrix-style way decision-makers are working today
- The “31 flavors problem” and how dashboard users can distinguish the signal from the noise when it comes to thousands of potential KPIs
- How our internet-fueled, “zero attention span” lives must influence dashboard design
- A simple way to make dashboards more effective by empowering users to develop their own “Pinterest-style” dashboards
It’s time to rethink what dashboards should be. Peek into the future with us in this webinar!
Advice for using business intelligence to keep winning
I like to channel surf, and one day I got sucked into the game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” I never watched it when it originally aired, but now I’m addicted! The show is set up like a school quiz, with contestants earning money when they answer questions correctly. The kicker is that the questions are based on things we learn in elementary school…things that are quickly forgotten since they’re not tested in everyday life. Once I really got into the show, I realized there are business intelligence lessons to be learned from it.
On stage with the contestant are a few 5th grade students who can help if the person chooses to “cheat” as they pursue the $1,000,000 prize. Let’s examine how each of the available cheats tells us something about BI dashboards.
Peeking is encouraged. If a contestant is unable to answer a question on their own, a “peek” allows them to glance at a 5th grader’s answer and decide whether or not they would like to use it. How does that relate to BI you wonder? Think about the predictive nature of BI – it allows you to peek into what may happen in the future so you can take corrective action today. Especially valuable for businesses whose markets are volatile and sales growth may change from one quarter to the next, or for businesses whose production costs fluctuate depending on circumstances – predictive analytics, what-if scenarios, and break-even analysis eliminate some of the randomness from your decision-making. Luckily with solutions like arcplan, it’s easy to add predictive elements like regression analysis and Monte Carlo simulation to your dashboards. So really, peeking on “5th Grader” isn’t that different from modern BI.
Copying is expected.
One of our blog authors, Dwight deVera – arcplan’s Senior VP of Solutions Delivery – was interviewed recently by Forbes. This week, the feature piece was published and I thought I’d share it with our readers.
arcplan Makes Chaos Comprehensible
With its promise to deliver order – or at least orderly reports – from the chaos of heterogeneous systems, and provide results including live data updates to mobile devices, arcplan has opportunity for continued growth.
The article highlights arcplan’s flexibility and independence, which allow us to consolidate Excel spreadsheets and dispersed data into reports, scorecards, and dashboards that simply work on any device. It also comments on some of the new features in arcplan 7.5, like drag-and-drop from arcplan to Excel, Live Screenshot widgets, and more.
Dwight also shares his opinions on the popularity of Excel, the iPad as an executive tool, and how he expects Microsoft’s Surface tablet to perform.