Are dashboards backwards looking?

9 Feb 2013 - Kev Kirkland

Is it true that dashboards are only backwards looking, as someone suggested today?

Not necessarily. I’ve worked with clients (like a top UK building society) who want real time dashboards. They are interested in complaints as they come in so they can do something about them immediately rather than waiting for the next set of monthly reports to be compiled. The wait for monthly reports can mean the same mistake is repeated many times, making more people unhappy until it’s picked up at a later date. A dashboard can show this ‘present’ information by linking into real time feedback (like people answering a survey on an ATM).

Is it possible to have dashboards that are forward looking? I haven’t created one myself yet, but I can see the case for a dashboard which shows the results of a predictive model. You could have a warning flag if the trajectory of the data shows you are heading for a bad result. A simplistic example is that your model might show that dissatisfaction with your phone service leads users to abandon your service. To avert this possible future outcome your dashboard might show a warning when phone satisfaction figures nosedive (in anticipation of users leaving you). Of course the model won’t be perfect or fit all cases, but it might be a ‘heads up’ that you’d be glad to have.