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Business analysts are often asked to create an "Excel operational dashboard report" for a group of managers. The request for the dashboard report comes from the head of the group of managers. Typically, the Excel dashboard report will contain operations data from each manager's unit or department. It will be distributed to the managers through an email. Usually, the "dashboard" becomes an unwieldy report that is many screens long -- too clumsy to serve its purpose.
These projects can be doomed because they try to satisfy a whole group of people with different needs, with just one dashboard. What should be a one-screen dashboard with the critical data that a manager needs, becomes a 3-sheets, 11-screenfuls “dashboard”. It grows to that size because each region, unit, or department needs to have its data on the dashboard.
A real dashboard is supposed to show all the critical information that the reader needs on a single screen, so he only has to glance at it to be informed. Once you try to satisfy different groups of people by cramming more data than can fit on one screen, it stops being a dashboard.
In addition, every manager has his own data priorities. Some might be concerned with total shipments. Others will be more concerned with on-time deliveries. Others may want to focus on production data. And higher-level managers may be more interested in deviations from their forecasts, than they are in the raw numbers.
As each manager adds his pet performance indicator to the spreadsheet, the size of the dashboard report grows. This is especially true if the report is broken down by region, branch, or other such unit. Then, each additional indicator is added to each of the managers' sections.
The key to preventing this common type of project failure is to allow each manager to create his own “personal Excel dashboard” from the generic "dashboard report" that a business analyst creates. Each manager should be able to select just the section of the spreadsheet that concerns him. He should be able to trim the number of indicators posted on his dashboard to include only those he really wants to focus on.
One way to create personal Excel dashboards is to write a lot of custom Excel macros to create individual spreadsheets for each manager. But, that will be a huge maintenance nightmare. And, there would be no “single version of the truth”, since each manager will have his own, separate copy of the data in his spreadsheet.
Xcelential ™ is a very low-cost program designed precisely to allow managers to create their personal dashboards from any Excel spreadsheet. It has a “copy from Excel, paste to dashboard” interface that is easily mastered by managers, freeing IT or business analysts from having to generate each individual's dashboard. Managers (or their assistants) implement and maintain their own dashboards.
Xcelential ™ fetches new Excel reports as they arrive, and updates the dashboards. The managers don’t even have to search through their emails to look for the latest versions of the spreadsheets.
With Xcelential ™, managers see the overall status of their operations immediately. And when they needed to look at the detailed data behind the big picture, they just click on the appropriate dashboard object, and the full, detailed spreadsheet appears.
MORE DETAILS: Pro V.S. Standard Edition | Fight information overload from Excel spreadsheets | Enhancing Job Security with an Excel Dashboard? | BI dashboards and Xcelential are complementary technology and products | Why Managers Need a Personal Excel Dashboard | Xcelential Quick Visual Demo
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