Dashboards Aren't Dead....But Most of Them Are Zombies 🧟‍♀️

If you came here to build dashboards all day…

Then you’ve come to the wrong place.

SaaS sales people have done an amazing job haven’t they?!

They’ve convinced data peeps and business leaders alike that brilliant data visualisations are the pinnacle of data capability.

They’ve allowed us to believe that there’s positive correlation between the number of beautiful dashboards you have and how “data-driven” the organisation is!

A few people have asked me if dashboards dead.

No, they aren’t. But most of them ARE Zombies! 🧟‍♂️

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🗑 75% of Dashboards Are Wasted

In my experience working with data leaders I often hear them speak of the challenges they have building and maintaining a large number of dashboards.

Their biggest gripe us that they feel their teams put a lot of effort into creating them for the end users to barely access them at all.

Just the other day one data leader told me that out of 100 dashboards his teams had created only 2 were regularly used by the business.

Other leaders have given me similar, though slightly less dramatic stats.

💔 Why Are Dashboards Not Adopted As Expected?

Dashboards rarely solve problems. They are usually just information radiators that more-often-than-not tell us basic, high level information we very seldom need - hence the low uptake rates from stakeholders.

As well, data analysts are terrible at partnering with business stakeholders to determine what information is actually needed to solve business problems. They will build and iterate on dashboards in isolation only to find that the end users’ needs have not been taken into account.

📉 What Is The Alternative To Dashboards?

Don’t get me wrong - dashboards can and do serve a valuable purpose. It is when they are overdone that their value as an asset diminished and they become a data team liability.

You may have heard the assertion that “dashboards are dead”. I would treat this with caution. It’s usually being said by another SaaS sales person with something else to sell you.

Dashboards have their place in businesses, but they are a means to an end - not the end itself.

The alternative to dashboards is good old fashioned data analysis, insight generation and stakeholder engagement. We need to be there in the room with them guiding the decision making process and ensure our leaders and making data-informed calculations.

We simply cannot outsource this important work to a pretty dashboard.

How do you feel about the “dashboards are dead” debate?

👋 Hi There

For those who are new here, my name is Tristan (Tris) Burns.

My mission in life is to help data leaders develop strategies to become more influential so that they can transform the data culture within their organisations whilst growing in their careers.

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