The word “dashboard” or “data dashboard” has become commonplace in our work lexicon these days, but a dashboard is just a fancy term for a report. What makes dashboards more useful than a standard Excel pivot table or chart—or PowerPoint slide—is the ability for the user or presenter to interact with the dashboards and thus the data. Dashboards allow users to explore, select, sort, filter, and drill-down the data to whatever useful metrics are desired.
At WordCom, we have designed dashboards using Microsoft’s Power BI so that our clients can review their marketing campaign results or customer data easily and clearly, and with the intent for the discovery of patterns and insights within a marketing campaign’s results or within customer data.
One dashboard design that helps achieve this goal utilizes a map-based visualization. Visualization is defined by Microsoft as “a display of insights that have been discovered in the data.” Specifically, our clients can see their marketing campaign results mapped out within their branch footprints. What is also beneficial with this map-based visualization is the ability to filter or select a particular branch or market and the map will react by zooming into that area. Also, this visualization enables the user to hover over any point on the map and a “tooltip” will display information related to that point on the map.
With any reporting mechanism, providing too much information can become overwhelming and confusing to the end-user, which may lead to frustration and lack of use. The dashboards that have been designed here at WordCom keep it simple and organized for our users. For example, on our “demographics” page, they can jump from one metric to another just by clicking a button and the entire page adjusts to their selection. This will provide a clearer picture for them to pull insights from the data.
A final but important concept that can be built into the WordCom dashboards is what can be done with the campaign results or customer data. There’s an unlimited library of functions and expressions that can combine, group, and perform advanced calculations and queries. These advanced calculations and queries can be tailored for each client’s needs. One example of these functions is the “time intelligence” function, which enables you to manipulate data using time periods—including days, months, quarters, and years—and then build and compare calculations over those periods of time. A more simplified way of saying it is: comparing one month’s activity to the previous month’s activity and showing the percentage change over that time period.