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Visualizing Your Data Through Dashboards


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By Idealware—Your senior staff and board of directors can benefit from the ability to view high level metrics for your organization, but it’s not obvious how to easily pull such a thing together. We'll outline what has worked for other organizations to define the metrics that should be tracked, strategies for compiling data from different systems, and then possibilities for putting it all together into a visual dashboard.

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Visualizing Your Data Through Dashboards

  1. 1. Creating and Building a Legal Aid Dashboard November 2014
  2. 2. Laura Quinn Idealware, Founder and Executive Director
  3. 3. Introductions
  4. 4. What We’ll Cover Today –What is a Dashboard? –Seven Steps to Your Own Dashboard 1. Define Who and What It’s For 2. Understand What Your Users Want 3. Map Metrics to Your Needs 4. Choose Your Dashboard Platform 5. Design Charts and Displays 6. Implement and Roll Out 7. Plan to Iterate –Some Dashboard Case Studies
  5. 5. Dashboards consolidate information to help measure, monitor, and manage the way you work.
  6. 6. What Data Does A Dashboard Track? It depends greatly on the organization, but it could include: • Operational data • Program spend and budget • Program impact Or all of these things!
  7. 7. Operational Data They can show day-to-day data, like the number of open cases assigned to each attorney. LSNTAP, built on Basecamp
  8. 8. More Specific Metrics Some provide more specific, calculated metrics like the average time that a case is open or the time spent per program. Atlanta Legal Aid Society, built in LegalServer
  9. 9. Program Impact While it’s difficult, a few have created dashboards to track program impact. If you can collect the right metrics, this can be a valuable tool —the ability to see organizational impact in one view. Blue Ridge Legal Services, built in Excel
  10. 10. What Software Should You Use? There is, unfortunately, no magical “dashboard software.” You might use anything from Excel to your grants management system to more complex reporting tools.
  11. 11. Where Do I Start? Let’s look at the seven steps to dashboard success!
  12. 12. Define Who and What Your Dashboard is For 1.
  13. 13. Who Will Be the Highest Priority Users? Who are you designing the dashboard for? Will there be additional types of users?
  14. 14. Is Your Goal to Centralize Key Metrics? Do you want everyone to be able to see the same set of metrics, to help keep everyone on the same page? Maybe the board? Or the public?
  15. 15. Or Will Staff Choose Their Metrics? Customized metrics will help people with their own job… ..but don’t necessarily help get everyone on the same page.
  16. 16. Is Data Self-Service A Goal? Do you want to allow staff to look up data themselves rather than requesting it from your grants team?
  17. 17. Define What Success Looks Like Resist the urge to make something that’s all things to all people.
  18. 18. Understand What Your Users Want From the Dashboard 2 .
  19. 19. Find Out What They Currently Do Convene staff members and talk about their current processes. Pay more attention to gaps and workarounds than to what they say they’d use.
  20. 20. Consider The “Magical Dashboard” Asking people to draw out the information they’d like to have can be useful—often desires are surprisingly simple.
  21. 21. Define What They Really Need • Simple summary of key data? • More complex indicators? • Ability to tailor to their own needs? • To be able to drill into details? • To do scenario planning?
  22. 22. 3 . Map Metrics to Your Needs
  23. 23. Find Your Sweet Spot
  24. 24. What Data Will Help You Make Decisions? Defining the right metrics might take a conversation—or a two year strategic process.
  25. 25. Where Will The Data Come From? • Do you have the data? • How easy will it be to pull it for your dashboard? • What kind of transformation will it need?
  26. 26. Don’t Underestimate This Process For many organizations, designing the right metrics— those that are both useful and practical—is the hardest part of a dashboard process.
  27. 27. 4 . Choose Your Dashboard Platform
  28. 28. What Platform Will Work Best? What can pull together all the data you need and support the features your users want?
  29. 29. Your Existing Legal Case Management System
  30. 30. An Excel Spreadsheet Also consider Google Docs/ Google Charts
  31. 31. A Plug-In Reporting or Dashboard Tool… LegalServer with additional modules
  32. 32. …Such As Tableau Tableau
  33. 33. …Specific Dashboard Tools iDashboards
  34. 34. …Or An External Reporting Tool Crystal Reports
  35. 35. A Custom-Built Dashboard Custom Kellogg Dashboard
  36. 36. 5 . Design Charts and Displays
  37. 37. Match Your Metrics to Visuals Let the data itself take center stage. Bar Charts Line Charts Plotted Chart Pie Chart
  38. 38. Beware the Glitzy Graphic How much room are you taking up with glitz rather than information?
  39. 39. Implement and Roll Out Your Dashboard 6 .
  40. 40. Make the Dashboard Magic Happen Bring the data together with your visuals and platform to let the magic happen! Obviously, the effort and process will depend hugely on what you’re doing.
  41. 41. Roll it Out Thoughtfully Don’t forget about training and the process of getting people on board—it doesn’t matter how great it is if no one uses it.
  42. 42. 7. Plan to Iterate
  43. 43. It Makes Sense to Start Small Start with baby steps. It’s much easier to figure out what’s needed by iterating than through a huge design process.
  44. 44. Plan to Refine Over Time Features Implement
  45. 45. Refine Your Data as Well Your dashboard is only as good as your data—but making it more visible can often inspire improvements in data quality.
  46. 46. Some Dashboard Case Studies: Atlanta Legal Aid Society
  47. 47. Atlanta Legal Aid Society Awarded a TIG in 2012 to develop an Executive Dashboard in their existing case management system, LegalServer.
  48. 48. Atlanta Legal Aid Society The dynamic reports allow the executive team to both see a high-level overview of programs and services, and drill down to see outcomes for a specific program or individual.
  49. 49. Some Dashboard Case Studies: Blue Ridge Legal Services
  50. 50. Blue Ridge Legal Services Static charts and graphs built in Microsoft Excel, displaying performance metrics to compare individual offices, programs, and case handlers. Used for : • individual performance reports for staff or offices • displaying results in case work and client satisfaction surveys
  51. 51. Blue Ridge Legal Services Long-term goal is to create a template file in Excel, allowing staff to quickly create dashboards from custom reports or queries.
  52. 52. Some Dashboard Case Studies: Utah Legal Services
  53. 53. Utah Legal Services Awarded a TIG in 2010 to develop dashboards in Kemp’s Case Works to provide a clearer and more user-friendly version of their quarterly performance reports.
  54. 54. Utah Legal Services Reports are sent quarterly to advocates, comparing their work to other staff in similar areas focused on: • Performance Metrics • Electronic Time Reports • Electronic Expense/ FSA Claims
  55. 55. Questions?