The benefits of combining executive and operational dashboards

The benefits of combining executive and operational dashboards

Dashboards play a critical role in communicating important data so evidence-based decisions can be made to steer businesses in the right direction. While executive dashboards and operational dashboards are usually created separately due to their different focal points, by combining them, companies can gain a holistic, integrated view of their data that delivers both short and long-term insights, which are actionable at all organisational levels.

Optivia is leading the way with this shift in thinking and many businesses have quickly come to appreciate the value of blending these two dashboards. Sharvil Shastri, one of Optivia’s senior consultants and the chief driver of this innovative approach, provides expert insight into how combined dashboards can optimise your whole business, not just parts. But first, let’s start by defining what the different dashboards do.

What are executive dashboards and operational dashboards?

Executive dashboards are used to display a range of datasets related to the current and predicted position of the company, such as trends and KPIs, the success of different initiatives and where operational improvements need to be made. The information must be easily understood and reliable so that C-suite executives can make decisions that affect the future of their organisation.

While executive dashboards illustrate a high-level overview of how the company is performing over time, they don’t provide the granular detail and insights that are necessary for day-to-day operations. That’s where operational dashboards take the stand, enabling users to drill down much further into the data or to consider the same information through multiple different views. This gives users the power to make informed decisions on a daily basis, such as identifying exactly where a bottleneck in a system is occurring and rectifying it.

Executive and operational dashboards working together

The purpose of combining executive and operational dashboards is to enable businesses to get more value from their data assets. Rather than narrowing the focus of your dashboard and potentially missing out on useful information – or investing in an expensive asset that only a few people can use – a combined approach creates a holistic, integrated view that helps drive informed decision-making at every level of the organisation.

“It’s about creating as many lenses of the same data as you can,” explains Sharvil.

“One of my pet hates with dashboards is when they take you almost all of the way to the answer you need, but just miss out on the last layer, which often has the insight one needs. With this approach, we’ve integrated as many layers of data as possible into the dashboard and then empowered our clients to control how deeply they dive into the data depending on their needs.”

This is good news for executives who increasingly want the ability to view both short and long-term performance metrics, as well as find more detailed answers to their questions at times, according to Sharvil.

“Executives want to know both parts of the equation – what’s happening in the here and now, and what happened over a longer period.”

But it’s not just the C-suite that benefits from the layered data provided in mixed executive and operational dashboards. It also helps those employees involved in the everyday operations that keep a company running – and improves integration between the two sides.

“We make sure that these combined dashboards work together to help organisations fill in the blanks and connect the two functions for better coverage,” says Sharvil.

“This gives them a data asset that is useful to multiple teams within an organisation, from operations and risk and compliance to marketing and product development.”

“Employees can visualise the data, drill down as far as they want to help with their operations – even extract sample raw data if need be – but all that information is still connected to the bigger picture of how the company is performing and the questions executives are asking.”

The result is more efficient, useful and reliable, providing more insights than an executive dashboard or operational dashboard can do on its own.

Mixed dashboards in action

Optivia first decided to combine executive and operational dashboards when working with an Australian telecommunications company that wanted to understand the reasons why customers called them. Instead of simply jumping into the technical solution, Optivia took the time to really understand the organisation and its needs.

“We worked hard to understand the business, the people involved and the problem statement. All these components are critical to achieving the best outcome with dashboards,” says Sharvil.

What became clear was that while executives were asking the question about customer calls, finding the answer and then taking action would be heavily reliant on operational employees. This led Optivia to suggest a strategic approach that would not only include the desired executive dashboard but would also cater to other business teams.

“From an asset acquisition perspective, it was a top-down approach – the executives were asking for it. But when it came to delivery, it was bottom-up, with operational employees helping drive the solution.”

The result has provided greater levels of visibility and transparency for the company, including clear insights into how their initiatives are tracking and if they are progressing towards their targets, as well as a tool that can be used more widely within the company.

“The organisation now understands why the calls occur in the first place. And the mapping logic that we have created for this particular client is being adopted by many other parts of the business that look at calls,” explains Sharvil.

“There are instances where we have shone a light on something which was previously hypothesised. Now it’s proven and repeatable, and there’s a logic that sits behind everything.”

The value of blended executive and operational dashboards means that all the information is available to employees at every level within the business, providing a self-service tool that can be used to drive data-driven decision-making across the whole company

“It’s about knowledge building and knowledge sharing. At Optivia, we’re big advocates of democratising data. Empowering companies with these types of dashboards can only help businesses improve,” says Sharvil.

To learn more about how we can help your organisation implement strategic dashboards tailored to your business needs, contact us today.

Optivia’s executive reporting capabilities give you fast, simple access to the data you need for meaningful decision-making and strategic growth. Our specialists have expertise in UX design and data modelling to deliver relevant and digestible dashboards. If you’re looking for a solution to your reporting problem, contact us today.