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The Days of the Dashboard Are Here

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A Dashboard Means More Than the One in Your Car

What is the reason for a dashboard? I like to think of a dashboard the way many would think of a car dashboard. A car dashboard has so many data points that are projected right in your face that tell you what is going on in your car. Imagine not knowing your mileage, gas, oil life, what gear you are in, or how fast you’re going. Scary, huh?

In the digital world, a dashboard provides companies with a snapshot into digital performance. Think of it as an executive summary. In the one page dashboard, the business leaders have a clear view of the high level performance of their website and digital marketing activities. The one page dashboard includes visuals that, while informative, are also very easy to understand. There are many ways to build these dashboards, ranging from the simplistic, such as a Google Analytics shared dashboard to a slightly more difficult, such as a Tableau web-based dashboard.

How do clients use dashboards?

 At AMP Agency, we created a multi-view web based dashboard showcasing a client’s data for 230+ multiple language websites worldwide. The dashboard enables the client to view high level data or filter by specific brand by site visits, average time on site, spend, paid search campaign performance and much more. With this quick access to multiple sites data, the Management Team can view their data in seconds rather than hours or days.

A sample client dashboard: 

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How does the City of Boston use a dashboard?

Recently, Boston’s Mayor Martin Walsh requested ‘a dashboard like Mayor Bloomberg (NYC) has’? from his staff. The data on these dashboards varies from Public Safety to Human & Basic Services, such as trash collection, street light outages or even number of potholes filled. These dashboards provide a quick glimpse into tracking daily operations and progress on more major strategic purposes. Compared to taking the time and effort of manually locating this data and putting it into an executive summary report for Boston’s leadership, this dashboard provides a view that’s more frequently updated and easier to digest.

How can you create a dashboard?

You can easily set up a dashboard for a website that has Google Analytics (GA) as its tracking tool, whether in GA itself, or through another medium such as Tableau or Spotfire.

How do you integrate offline data?

If this is so easy to do then why are we taking the time to write a blog post about it? The reason is simple ‘ the Mayor’s dashboards are not reflecting any website analytics or EASY to collect data but actual live human interaction data, which first has to be made digital instead of analog.

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How can you translate offline activity to an online portal? Here’s an example provided by the City of Boston:

Old Way: You are building an addition on your house in 2007 and you need the proper building permits, followed by a proper inspection. After the inspection was requested, two weeks later the various inspectors arrive at the home, perform the inspection and fill out a form to hand off to the city hall.

The problem is that this form will then enter the netherworld of data as if it never were.

New Way: Same scenario, only the inspector comes with an electronic form built into his tablet to submit the pass/fail electronically to Google Sheets.

Through a Google Sheets API, this valuable data can be showcased using Tableau to display a real time dashboard.

These dashboards give the city’s leaders the best understanding of how well government employees are servicing the community. The Mayor and his team use pretty simple tools to collect this data and display it with Tableau software. The change from paper-based forms to electronic data collection was the foundation for the change and puts the city’s leadership’s ability to view data into hyper-drive.

More information on the Boston dashboard can be viewed here:

http://www.cityofboston.gov/mayorsdashboard/