Accelerated pace of technological disruption has forced organizations to change. It has triggered leaders to think of the ways they must adopt to survive in these challenging times.
Organizations are confronting this scenario by embracing digital technologies. Traditionally, the focus of the organizations in these Transformation initiatives has remained on speed of change. To get the most out of their initiatives, they are making drastic changes, to include:
- Creating Agile Teams
- Introducing Mobile Apps
- Building Big Data and Analytics capabilities
- Experimenting with creative Digital Business Models.
Digital Transformation programs are launched with huge fanfare, see success early on, but fail to keep the momentum going. The issues that plague the sustainability of these initiatives are typically:
- Aging Technology Infrastructure
- Incompatible Operating Models
- Archaic ways of doing business
- Change-agnostic culture.
Drivers of change for the Digital Leadership have changed significantly over the years. There is an increased focus on building scale when executing Digital Transformation. Leaders have realized that quick Decision Making is not the only element required for successful Transformation. To achieve its full potential, they need to create differentiated offerings and scale the most viable initiatives across the organization to create value.
Traditional organizations have started following the footsteps of digital disrupters like Amazon and Tesla. They are implementing new digital services and adjusting their operations. However, typical hurdles—e.g., old enterprise systems, bureaucratic red tape, delayed decision making, and segregation between IT and business units—make them slip back into the outdated ways of doing things.
Sustainable Digital Transformation involves building not only the technology infrastructure but also revisiting the operating model. Successful Digital Transformations essentially involve embracing 4 key strategies to enable an ecosystem that encourages change to stick as well as scale:
- Create a strong Digital Foundation
- Integrate and consolidate the Digital Ecosystem
- Front-end to back-end approach
- Create a new Business Model
Let’s delve deeper into these strategies.
Create a Strong Digital Foundation
Manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries are the major sectors that employ this strategy. The typical state of affairs in organizations implementing this strategy is such that they are in need of developing new digital capabilities from scratch to tackle nimble rivals who are churning out novel value propositions using digital tech. These companies are burdened by dated tech infrastructure, sluggish decision making, and dated business models. The risk of disruption to these businesses is growing but it hasn’t challenged them to transform drastically.
To them, building a digital foundation warrants acquiring novel foundational capabilities. Their approach should be to start implementing and managing small changes one step at a time. For instance, building a smart technology architecture with advanced Big Data, Analytics, and predictive modeling capabilities. This should be followed by testing prototypes of the new model to prove their worth before implementing a full-blown execution.
Integrate and Consolidate the Digital Ecosystem
This strategy has gained traction most in organizations from the Consumer Products industry. These organizations are typically marred by scores of fragmented IT systems running in different parts of the organization. There is a general inability to prioritize the most viable projects and scale them. The need to reform and rapid deployment of Digital Infrastructure is critical for survival.
The approach to Digital Transformation in these organization should be to establish a central management position to manage the initiative and streamline dispersed technology landscape. This entails revising the technology infrastructure and operating model, deploying a unified IT platform for gathering and storing customer data, establishing a common data repository accessible to all units to recognize customers’ needs, and creating a culture that encourages innovation, acts on creative ideas, and refines them through experimentation and advanced tools.
Interested in learning more about the other strategies to enable Digital Transformation? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Sustainable Digital Transformation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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Business dashboards are important tools to measure key performance indicators and data pertaining to an organization or certain procedure. Just as a vehicle dashboard is powerful performance management tool in summarizing a performance of a multitude of processes, a business dashboard summarizes the performance or impact of a host of functions, teams, and activities; and assists in strategic planning and decision making.
Business dashboards simplify sharing and analysis of large data, and help users visualize complex performance data in simple yet visually aesthetic manner. Dashboards aid in simplifying complex processes into smaller more manageable information pieces for the organizational leadership to focus on everyday operations. They keep everyone on the same wavelength and prioritize display of facts based on their importance and potential impact. The information on a well-designed dashboard is clear, presentable to enhance meaning, readily accessible, and dynamic. A carefully-planned dashboard allows the leadership to identify and answer business challenges in real-time, develop plan of action based on insights, and inculcate innovation.
Proficient and capable dashboard designers and firms have taken the art of visualization of valuable indicators and insights through dashboards to the next level. They have devised specific guiding principles, dos and don’ts, and time-tested development routines to accomplish this. These guiding principles comprise 10 best practices, which can be segregated into 3 major implementation categories:
- Analyze your audience
- Contemplate display options
- Prompt application loading time
- Exploit eye-scanning patterns
- Restrict number of views & colors
- Let viewers filter data
- Ensure proper formatting
- Use Tooltips to reinforce story
- Eliminate redundancy
- Review the dashboard carefully
Let’s discuss the first 5 best practices for now.
Analyze your audience
A careful analysis and understanding of the business dashboard’s intended audience is the first important principle to consider before commencing the development of such a dashboard. For instance, a busy salesperson in need of quickly going through indicators, whereas senior management needing a deep-down review of quarterly sales results. This gives the developers a thorough idea of what the audience wants from a dashboard, what data they will visualize utilizing this, and let them know the audience’s technical capabilities in terms of data analysis, theme, issue, and business understanding.
Contemplate display options
The second principle to follow in designing a business dashboard is to research your users’ device and display preferences beforehand. Building a dashboard with desktop display options in mind when your audience prefers to use phones to view it could be a disaster. The designers should set the size of the dashboard properly—allowing the users to view it on a range of devices, by building in automatic sizing option for the dashboard to adopt to the dimensions of the browser window.
Prompt application loading time
Your audience and viewers are busy people who hate long waits. Therefore a stunningly designed dashboard would not get the right traction if it takes too much time to load. The dashboard author should facilitate prompt dashboard loading by deciding which filters to add in the dashboard and which ones to exclude. For instance, although filtering is useful in restricting the amount of data analyzed, it effects query performance. Some filters are quite slower than others as they load all of the data for a dimension instead of just what you want to keep. Knowing the Order of Operations is also beneficial in reducing the load times.
Exploit eye-scanning patterns
The dashboard authors should have a deep sense of the main purpose of the dashboard in mind when develop such a tool. They need to be aware of individuals’ eye tracking patterns—typically when most people look at a screen or content, they start scanning the upper left hand corner of the screen first by intuition—and make the best use of the screen space to display the most important content at the right place.
Restrict number of views & colors
The designers often get over enthusiastic during their application designs and try to stuff the dashboard with multiple relevant views. This is detrimental for the bigger picture. They must include not more than 2 to 3 views per dashboard and create more dashboards in case the scope creeps beyond the 2-3 views range. It is also crucial to ensure the content to be clearly visible to the viewer and to use colors correctly to facilitate analysis instead of cramming too many colors in the visuals, which creates a graphical overload for the viewers, slacken analysis (or may even prevent users to analyze data), and even blur the graphics.
Let viewers filter data
Allowing users to filter the data is another best practice to keep in mind while designing business dashboards. This added interactivity encourages data assessment and permits the users to have their most important view act as a filter for the other views in the dashboard. This helps in conducting side-by-side analysis, promotes involvement, and retains users’ interest.
Interested in learning more about the other best practices to aid in designing a robust business dashboard and knowing the most common mistakes to avoid in this process? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Business Dashboard Design here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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