Strategic executive dashboard reporting to steer informed actions

Optivia case study executive dashboards

Deliverables

One of Australia’s leading telecommunications companies wanted to track how they were progressing towards their company goals after recently moving to a mission-based approach. However, there was a lack of consistency in measuring the performance of hundreds of different initiatives across the company – or even within the same channels – which created complexities.

Without a single source of truth to assess which tactics were succeeding and which were failing, the company wasn’t confident that they were investing in the right projects to optimise their business processes. Their current way of working was also highly manual, inefficient and lacked consolidation at the executive level.

To rectify this, the company engaged Optivia to create an executive dashboard that would consolidate data from a range of sources to provide essential visibility and insight into the overall performance of their digital transformation projects.

The challenge

The company’s complex data landscape presented an immediate challenge to reliable reporting in an executive dashboard. Critical business data was stored across a number of different organisational channels in siloed systems of varying data maturity – from messy excel spreadsheets to data warehouses, to real-time data streams.

The Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in each channel also used different methods to reach their digital transformation objectives, as well as different measures of success. This created issues for them in tracking performance and success across these initiatives due to sheer number of missions. Each of these SMEs needed to be engaged to help Optivia understand and define common reporting metrics that could apply to the whole business.

“Sometimes goals had been created that weren’t even quantifiable. So as a developer, you have to find the sweet spot of making the metrics generic enough that they can apply to all the different teams and channels, while still remaining meaningful,” says Karen Canlas, one of Optivia’s managers in the BI space.

The solution

Optivia was engaged to develop a framework for executive reporting and create a centralised view of KPIs and present holistic approach in determining business success. In order to create the framework for executive reporting, Optivia started by helping the organisation define their strategic requirements and identify relevant metrics. Critical to this was Optivia’s ability to leverage both their technical expertise, as well as their contextual business knowledge.

“At Optivia, one of our strengths is that we not only have technical expertise, but we also understand how businesses work and the unique context of each of our clients. This enables us to ask smarter questions to help elicit the business requirements for a project,” explains Karen.

“We can then translate these requirements into quantifiable measures and milestones that indicate whether the goals of a project are being met.”

After the metrics were determined, Optivia helped the client to develop data pipelines to consolidate information across the organisation into a comprehensive and accurate dataset. This data was then used to create the executive dashboard that provided a centralised view of the company’s performance across its digital transformation initiatives.

“One of the most important things at this stage was how the data was structured in the dashboard – the storytelling,” says Karen.

“At Optivia, one of our strengths is that we not only have technical expertise, but we also understand how businesses work and the unique context of each of our clients.”

“When we create a dashboard, we’re always asking ourselves how the data will tell the story when we’re not there to explain it. That means using structured storytelling and design principles to ensure that even the one-page view reads well and communicates clearly what it needs to.”

In practice, this can include using plenty of white space to ensure a clean, easy-to-read layout, displaying previous performance metrics to provide greater context to real-time data, and creating multiple views of the same metric to enable users to consider the data from different angles.

As part of the design process, the Optivia team also worked closely with the SMEs to ensure the visualisations would help them understand how they were tracking against their goals.

“A dashboard should encourage exploration and help the user to draw out insights that can inform decision-making. So when someone can read a dashboard and understand it easily without us there to explain it, we know that we’ve done our job well,” Karen says.

The outcome

Thanks to Optivia’s help, the client is now able to assess the performance of their various digital transformation initiatives against company-wide milestones and KPIs. More than that, they can do this from a single view within their new executive dashboard.

Due to the success of the project, the client has seen a high adoption of executive-level reporting within their team. Users are able to leverage the analytics tools within the dashboard to process information more rapidly and draw out new insights that can inform decision-making.

“A dashboard should encourage exploration and help the user to draw out insights that can inform decision-making.”

Karen and the rest of the Optivia team have also been helping to upskill their internal team by training them on the framework she uses to design dashboards, enabling them with a foundation to build their own capability to develop new reports and dashboards.

“When someone can read a dashboard and understand it easily without us there to explain it, we know that we’ve done our job well.”

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