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Dashboard your Organization

Dashboard your Organization

Imagine you driving your car without Dashboard? Yes, Dashboard won’t stop you from driving your car but it will restrict you from understanding the current scenario of your vehicle or your trip. Dashboard helps you judge many parameters directly or indirectly which will eventually help you understand your position in order to reach the destination.

Lets understand with an example: You need to reach a location say “A” which is 600 KMs from your source location within 6 hours. Now when you have this data you will guestimate that you need to drive at speed of 100KM/Hour consistently to reach “A”. Dashboard is the only report which will help you monitor the speed at regular intervals in order to reach the destination within the said time. Now a days; with enhancements there are many additional features added in a Vehicle dashboard like Mileage your Car is giving, Car & Environment Temperature and in some car they also provide information if your Car is being driven in “Eco” mode or not. These piece of information helps us take lot of instantaneous decisions which helps in improving our driving experience or trip goal.

So now that you have a basic understanding of Dashboard lets take you to a different horizon. Let imagine a Passenger Aircraft’s Cockpit without their Dashboard? As a pilot do you really want to take 250 passengers on-board and fly them to your favorite destination without Cockpit Dashboard? Would you like to do a Mangalyaan Project (Mars Orbiter Mission) as project leader which is worth close to INR 450 Crore without a monitoring system (Dashboard) and without tracking the activities of space shuttle? I am sure you have understood what I am trying to portray. There is a tremendous risk involved in the activities/tasks mentioned above without the Dashboard or you can say continuous monitoring system.

Unfortunately, the reality in the Indian SME space is dangerous. There are many promoters who are driving the car (Organization) without continuous monitoring system. Cruel reality to it is there are quite a few promoters in India who are actually executing a Mangalyaan project or flying an aircraft without the dashboard which eventually leads an Organization to no direction or feeling of un-accomplishment after running the organization for quite a few years.

So what should Promoters do? Let’s split the understanding on Dashboard in four simple sections:

Understand

Dashboard is a simple reporting methodology of various parameters of your organization which is assumed to be automated and regularly monitored by key stakeholders of the Organization including the promoter/s. Dashboard can be basic reports or visualized reports which will simplify complex data sets to provide stakeholders at a glance, the current business performance awareness.

There are hundreds of moving parts in your business that impact your overall performance. A business dashboard summarizes these events with easy-to-understand, real-time data visuals. It important to understand the Dashboard is the first place where warning or future failure will be detected which could help key stakeholder to resolve the issue as soon as possible. The function of a dashboard is to provide real-time results by aggregating and extracting value from all the data you collect and simplify your data into more manageable chunks of visual reports that allows you to see what you are doing right and where you need to improve. When utilized properly, dashboards can be used to help you make informed decisions that dramatically impact business performance – which in turn effects your financial standing.

Dashboard is built with lowest possible level of data available with the organization. Lowest level data here means operational data. Lets take an example:

Manufacturing – Lowest level of data would be how much “XYZ” was manufactured in a shift? To produce XYZ in a shift, how much raw material and other consumables were consumed in KGs or Units? Regular or Live monitoring of such parameters would help key stakeholders take quick decisions in order to improve the overall numbers which would impact financial performance of Organization too. Also, Comparing the actual production capacity per shift with Capacity production per shift would probably help derive the efficiency percentage of the factory/line/shop floor and accordingly can be monitored regularly.

Service – Lowest level of data would be how much “man hours” were utilized to complete certain task or project in total or No of “Jobs completed” by the resource in a day or week depending on the kind of service organization is providing. Parameters associated can also be monitored for improving the overall efficiency of the Organization.

For any other kind of industries who are not able to relate yet; can imagine the most important parameter/s which they would like to know on daily basis. Probably that parameter is the one which could be the anchor lowest level data which you are searching for and accordingly associated datapoints can be identified one by one.

 

Analyze

So now lets deep dive into your Organization. Let’s try to find that one parameter which you as key stakeholder would like to know on daily basis. While discussing this with multiple Organization, I have felt that there is always one set of parameter which promoters like to focus the most – Financial parameters like Net Profit, Gross Profit, Margins, Ratio’s etc. Financial parameter, I agree is important and should be monitored but it cannot be your anchor data point which will lead you to identify and build other parameters of Dashboard unless you are a BANK or NBFC where your raw material or output is Money!
The best dashboards answer important questions about your Organization. Dashboards are designed for quick analysis and continuous information awareness. Dashboards are typically designed for decision makers and for executives to understand their performance and how they can improve the same. Before building any kind of Dashboard it is important to understand what are those questions of promoters whose answers are required on regular basis.

Once you are ready with set of questions (parameters) which can be used in developing dashboard then note down the source of data from where these parameters can be answered. Sources can be following:

      1. System / Operational Software / ERP
      2. Hardcopy / Daily Register Note Books / Physical Documents
      3. Data is not monitored at all

You should consider yourself in safer zone when all your desired parameters to be monitored fall either in option a or b. There are chances few of your parameters till date are not at all monitored. At such times it is important to first build some data collection source in the Organization for such parameters either by making provision in your

System / Operational Software / ERP or initiate maintaining data Physically in hard copy form at least on regular interval. Collection of Data should be first stepping stone towards dashboard building.
Post analyzing the source of data for Dashboard building; the bigger question arises where should we build the Dashboard?

      1. Check for Provision of building Visual Reports or Dashboard in your on-going System / ERP / Software?
      2. Build an offline Dashboard on MS Office (Preferably Excel) or on any other tool

Most of the modern Systems / ERP / Software’s do have multiple provisions to build a Dashboard. Nevertheless, even if it is not possible to build on your current system, you can always start off to understand the effectiveness of Dashboard by building it on MS Excel and maintaining data on it on regular basis.

 

Implement

    1. ERP / Software / System: You can always ask your internal IT personnel/Team or IT Vendor to help you build a Visual Data report of the selected parameters on your current system. This will help you monitor things seamlessly and effectively. Reports created are based on Lowest level of data (discussed earlier) which will be displayed in summarized format for a quick read through which can be drilled down further if required for further analysis purpose.Sample Dashboard – Oracle 

      +
      Sample Dashboard – SAP

       

    2. Excel based Dashboard: From the system you can regularly download data and accordingly get the relevant data entered in the Excel sheet on which Dashboard can be created. Within Excel there are options to create multiple charts of different kind and types which change as per data updates. Many SME’s prefer building Excel based dashboards initially and check its effectiveness in decision making before making an investment in building dashboard in system / ERP.
      Sample – Excel Dashboard

 

Enhance

Just like Dashboard monitoring is a regular process; updating and enhancing the same dashboard in terms of Data and Front-End Display (System and Excel) is a continuous process. Once a Dashboard is made there are chances in future you would feel the need to update the Dashboard with related parameters or parameters you have missed initially and feel its important to track the same.

Enhancing a Dashboard and maintaining the same is not only a logic to track and monitor your organization but also an art which will further help you slice and dice the required information and ask right questions to your team with regards any kind of inefficiency in any departments or areas or processes.

Its about time, Indian SME’s realize that in order to unleash their potential and have competitive advantage dashboarding their Organization is crucial. This will eventually give promoters complete visibility of business, proactively solve issues & make effective decisions, track growth in numbers, ask relevant questions to team, identifying the problems to its core and finally get to the root cause of any issue by drilling down to the problem center.

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4 Comments
Shailesh Ashok Yeole

Want to learn Dashboard

Nikesh Solanki

Dear Mr Yeole,

Please connect on +91 7045689864 to understand further.

Rohit Arora

Prashant has spoken to him

Rohit Arora

Hi Hope Prashant has spoken to you on this.

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