(You can win my latest Excel Dashboard Training kit free, read this post to find out how.)
Over at Jorge‘s ExcelCharts blog, he started a very good discussion on Excel Dashboards: Who needs them anyway?.
Jorge has very good experience designing, working on and teaching about dashboards. So he uses all that skill to gaze in to a crystal ball, to understand who needs excel dashboards and why.
According to him, key features of dashboard users / makers are,
- You are inquisitive & analytical. You want your business to be ahead of others and you know that answers to several lingering questions can be found in data.
- You are oppressed with insight-less BI / DW systems that take 6 months create new reports and 1 year to show meaning. You are angry because your competitor is acting nimble and using data better.
- You find solace in Excel and its simple approach to analysis and discovery. You are forced to learn macros, advanced visualization skills so that you can make powerful dashboards and models.
- You are sensible enough to know that data analysis, visualization & communication skills are what you need to stay competitive in labor market.
While Jorge‘s points are all valid, they also paste a dull picture of Excel based Business Intelligence world. To me the world looks much more awesome. May be because I haven’t got the experience.
What Comes to mind when I think of dashboard users /makers
When I think of someone using Excel / Tableau / R / Access / or some other tool to communicate a story to change the world (world = their department or team or company or school or home), this is what comes to my mind.
- You are inquisitive. You question assumptions, data models and trends. You know that data cannot lie.
- You are analytical. You see some data, and you know what conclusions can be drawn, what hypothesis can be tested and what assumptions can be broken.
- You are realistic. While Tufte and Few might scream from the top of their homes about good data visualization, you know what is possible given your reality. You know that almost everyone hates big changes. So you bring change, one chart at a time.
- You know that selling your story is as important as having it.You know that your dashboards, analysis needs to be wrapped and presented in a great way to get them across.
- You are responsible. You know that it is not your job to make that new report / chart / dashboard. You know IT is paid millions to do it. But you will still do it because you care and feel responsible.
- You are fun. You know that at the end of day sulking will not get you anywhere. So you also relax and take everything with awesome attitude.
But it should not really matter what Jorge or I think of who you are.
So here is a big question.
If you make or use dashboards, please tell us who you are.
Describe your role, responsibility, why you use dashboards, what challenges you are facing and what awesome things you have achieved.
What you get in return
- Each commenter gets 20% discount on my latest Excel Dashboards training kit.
- One lucky commenter gets the dashboard training kit free.