We live in the age of the dashboard. We’re not talking about the kind in your car, we’re talking about the organizational dashboards many businesses, schools, labs and other places use as data visualizations.

If you take a broad view of what a dashboard is, key performance indicators displayed via charts and graphs relating to the performance of that particular metric (usually over a certain period of time), you’ll start to see dashboards everywhere. They can come in many shapes and sizes- from a widget that sits on your desktop measuring a couple different factors to an entire wall of printed sheets that someone has to update every morning (yeah, we’ve seen it.)

There’s just one problem: dashboards can’t give you the whole story. They can only give you one very broad, general description of what’s actually going on.

We need a change.

All Rolled Up with Nowhere to Go

Traditional Dashboards

So what really happens in a dashboard. Rows and columns of data feed a graph or chart around a particular key performance indicator. You then put all those together and there’s your dashboard. The best ones usually have a few master graphs that roll up the data even farther.

This is a great system when everything is going well. You can look at your dashboard and get a really high-level view that answers some basic questions.

“We sold $10 million worth of tickets last year.”

“Our trucks cost $2.5 million to maintain this quarter.”

“We expect to see an increase of $600k in sales this year.”

Delivering strategic-level, broad-stroke data is a specialty of the dashboard.

But what happens when something goes wrong? Suppose the numbers aren’t exactly what you’d like to see, you’ve spotted a worrying trend, or just want more details about something. You’re going to have very different questions that your dashboard isn’t equipped to answer. Questions like

“Who were our worst-performing agents last year? In what ways?”

“What exactly was holding up the maintenance on our trucks this quarter?”

“Why was our supply chain moving faster this year than last year? What changed?”

The answers to those questions exist in the data that’s feeding your dashboard. It’s a story waiting to be told, and if you could only read it then you’d know exactly where you should be spending your time to improve. And that’s where the problem comes.

Drill Down Disasters

When you drill down from a dashboard what do you see? The rows and columns that feed the graphs and charts. Usually these spreadsheets and database tables are machine-fed, constantly churning out information. It’s a whole world of volume (lots of data), variety (there’s lots of different data feeds) and velocity (it’s constantly coming).

The problem is this: how are you supposed to find the handful of people, processes or assets you’re supposed to work on in order to improve? By the time you’ve read through all of those rows and columns to find your actionable intelligence (if you happen to be a data scientist) it’s too late to improve and you’ve missed an opportunity.

Welcome to the Action-Board

The VisualCue Platform

VisualCue is a data visualization solution that works with your dashboard. We turn the key performance indicators for every person, process or asset in your organization into iconic pictures while conditional thresholds (so you can set customized goals for your business) turn the pictures into colors that are easy to understand. We call it a Tile- it’s every metric important to your operations in one place.

VisualCue Legend
Different visual cues track different KPIs

Tiles are an operational intelligence tool that everyone can understand. From upper management to the entry-level employee, VisualCue replaces rows and columns with an intuitive visualization that harnesses the natural speed and power of your eyes and mind to instantly recognize exactly what you need to work on to improve those trends you saw in your dashboard.

That’s why we say it’s time to think beyond the dashboard. When you pair it with VisualCue you can spot the larger trends and then drill down into something that will give you actionable intelligence at a glance.

VisualCue is, essentially, the world’s first action-board: a data visualization tool that makes large data sets easily understandable so everyone can react and respond in the moment and make better decisions to improve performance.

See how it works >

Until next time,

The VisualCrew