Office 2007 Dashboard – Review of Excel 12 as a tool for dashboards

May 30th, 2006

Much thanks goes to our Dashboard Spy in the field, Alex Kerin, for giving us this detailed rundown of the upcoming Excel 12 (part of the new Office 2007) as a dashboarding product. Alex decided to give the Office 12 beta a shakedown by creating a sales dashboard. As he tells it,

"This is a partial recreation of a mock sales dashboard as shown in Stephen Few's book, Information Dashboard Design. It was created in Office 12 Beta – I thought I'd share some experiences. While Excel is not at all the best choice for deploying a dashboard, the realism is that some people are happiest here, and that MSFT will push this as an interface, even if it's through Office Web Components.

Anyway, firstly the sparklines – these are all small graphs – Office 12 does a pretty good job with these as the series line is now anti-aliased leading to a much more professional look. In general charting is nicer – the defaults at least are clearer and nicer than older versions of Office. Second, there are new conditional formatting options that allow you to add bars or threshold indicators directly to cells. These are pretty good, but definitely conceived with more thought to looks than usability. For example, in Few's book he points out that you should only highlight problem areas – i.e. a green symbol is unnecessary to show things are okay – just a red blip should show. To get just a red symbol to show I had to jump through a few hoops, including writing formulas.

There's another example of the conditional formatting in the bar chart at the bottom – it's okay, but you're forced to use a gradient as the fill – this gradient always fades to white which makes comparing similar values difficult – this hopefully will change after beta. This could function as a dashboard by using OLAP links to a datamart etc. expect to see more of these as MSFT increases its BI charge."

Thanks, Alex, for the insight into this new version. Not everyone is willing to go through the hassle of trying this beta – you've done a great service to the executive dashboard community by detailing your observations. As I've mentioned before when discussing the future of enterprise dashboards, I believe that the launch of Excel 12 will start a new "look" in digital dashboards. It is simple – the sheer size of the installed user base will mean that you will start seeing everywhere things like the gradient bars.

Excel Dashboard Screenshot

Homework: It's still early but if you want a head start, keep an eye on these upcoming books on Office 2007.

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books.

Excel Dashboarding Spreadsheet Download – nice presentation of dashboard KPIs

May 26th, 2006

Update: If you need a fast, low-cost path to Microsoft Excel dashboards, consider using ready-to-go Excel Dashboard Templates from ExcelUser. They are plug and play, pure Excel worksheets. Just point them to your data source. They look great and are inspired by magazine-style dashboards.

Microsoft Excel is very popular for quick business dashboards. The best way to create one for yourself is to find a sample and customize it for your own business. If you don’t want the typical green/red/yellow cells and want it to look a little slicker, we have some nice examples for you to download and study.

Dashboards speak an international language, right? In that case, you’ll have lots of fun figuring out these italian excel-based dashboards. Take a look at these MS Excel dashboard screenshots. The first shows the portlet-style presentation of the dashboard KPIs. The second shows the regular input view of the excel spreadsheet. Here is a link to a generic xls file. This link is to the production kpi dashboard and this link is the one to the marketing KPI version. Have fun with these excel dashboards.

Also, as a Dashboard Spy reader points out: “If you take the time to look over the dashboard, there’s some pretty cool things – unprotect the sheet with the charts and look how they did the gauge – It’s a pie chart with fancy formatting. It also fits very nicely on a single screen when you view it full-screen. In all, a very good job considering the tool used.”

Update: This just in from the Italian Dashboard team!:

Hi,
I have seen some nice traffic coming from dashboardspy, so we translated the Italian page into english. There could be some errors (sorry for this!), but please have a look at the page: www.excelling.it/excel/dashboard_en.asp

I will keep you posted on updates, but you can count on the fact that there will be a lot of new cool excel dashboards. I you have suggestion, please tell us :)

Best Regards,
GF
____________________________
Gianclaudio Floria
____________________________
Excelling.it
President & Founding Partner

Excel Dashboard

Excel input view

Tags: Excel Dashboarding, Sample Dashboard Download 

Homework: If you need to review graphing using excel, check out these books on excel charts .

PS: If you find yourself part of an enterprise dashboard effort, you must study Enterprise Dashboards: Design and Best Practices for IT, the only book on actually implementing enterprise dashboards.

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books listed on this site.

Excel Dashboarding Spreadsheet Download – nice presentation of dashboard KPIs

May 26th, 2006

Update: If you need a fast, low-cost path to Microsoft Excel dashboards, consider using ready-to-go Excel Dashboard Templates from ExcelUser. They are plug and play, pure Excel worksheets. Just point them to your data source. They look great and are inspired by magazine-style dashboards.

Microsoft Excel is very popular for quick business dashboards. The best way to create one for yourself is to find a sample and customize it for your own business. If you don’t want the typical green/red/yellow cells and want it to look a little slicker, we have some nice examples for you to download and study.

Dashboards speak an international language, right? In that case, you’ll have lots of fun figuring out these italian excel-based dashboards. Take a look at these MS Excel dashboard screenshots. The first shows the portlet-style presentation of the dashboard KPIs. The second shows the regular input view of the excel spreadsheet. Here is a link to a generic xls file. This link is to the production kpi dashboard and this link is the one to the marketing KPI version. Have fun with these excel dashboards.

Also, as a Dashboard Spy reader points out: “If you take the time to look over the dashboard, there’s some pretty cool things – unprotect the sheet with the charts and look how they did the gauge – It’s a pie chart with fancy formatting. It also fits very nicely on a single screen when you view it full-screen. In all, a very good job considering the tool used.”

Update: This just in from the Italian Dashboard team!:

Hi,
I have seen some nice traffic coming from dashboardspy, so we translated the Italian page into english. There could be some errors (sorry for this!), but please have a look at the page: www.excelling.it/excel/dashboard_en.asp

I will keep you posted on updates, but you can count on the fact that there will be a lot of new cool excel dashboards. I you have suggestion, please tell us :)

Best Regards,
GF
____________________________
Gianclaudio Floria
____________________________
Excelling.it
President & Founding Partner

Excel Dashboard

Excel input view

Tags: Excel Dashboarding, Sample Dashboard Download 

Homework: If you need to review graphing using excel, check out these books on excel charts .

PS: If you find yourself part of an enterprise dashboard effort, you must study Enterprise Dashboards: Design and Best Practices for IT, the only book on actually implementing enterprise dashboards.

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books listed on this site.

Drive-thru Dashboard – Fast food chains using dashboards to lessen error rates and increase throughput

May 25th, 2006

Dashboards at drive through lanes? I'm told that at multi-lane fast food drive-throughs, it creates a big hassle when one car jumps in front of others after placing their orders. The problem comes when you try to match the right food order with the car and driver. The systems by a Point of Sale vendor named Exit41 (see exit41.com) have embraced dashboarding and are really making strides towards handling such problems. As you see from the screenshots below, the system takes a picture of the car and the driver as you order. The car then pulls up to the delivery window (in possibly a different order from the food request order) where the server looks at the car and driver, consults the dashboard, touches the matching picture and drills down to the food order. Once the order is identified, the correct items are handed to the driver.

This is the way to really optimize the speed of the drive-thru lanes. Sounds like overkill? Not if you really want to get things cranking. Look at the last photo in this series. You'll see a centralized order taking service in action. You can have the drivers speaking to a group of order takers anywhere (Even in a call center in India? For fast food? Gasp!). 

Fast Food Enterprise Dashboard

Dashboard Screenshot

Order taking

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books.

Drive-thru Dashboard – Fast food chains using dashboards to lessen error rates and increase throughput

May 25th, 2006

Dashboards at drive through lanes? I'm told that at multi-lane fast food drive-throughs, it creates a big hassle when one car jumps in front of others after placing their orders. The problem comes when you try to match the right food order with the car and driver. The systems by a Point of Sale vendor named Exit41 (see exit41.com) have embraced dashboarding and are really making strides towards handling such problems. As you see from the screenshots below, the system takes a picture of the car and the driver as you order. The car then pulls up to the delivery window (in possibly a different order from the food request order) where the server looks at the car and driver, consults the dashboard, touches the matching picture and drills down to the food order. Once the order is identified, the correct items are handed to the driver.

This is the way to really optimize the speed of the drive-thru lanes. Sounds like overkill? Not if you really want to get things cranking. Look at the last photo in this series. You'll see a centralized order taking service in action. You can have the drivers speaking to a group of order takers anywhere (Even in a call center in India? For fast food? Gasp!). 

Fast Food Enterprise Dashboard

Dashboard Screenshot

Order taking

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books.

CAPA Management Dashboard Screenshots – Corrective And Preventive Action for Quality Control

May 24th, 2006

Here is a rare glimpse at a CAPA dashboard. What is CAPA, you ask? Not widely known to the general business public, CAPA stands for Corrective And Preventive Action and is a core element in quality management. It's the part of the quality control loop that takes the necessary action to correct defects. Industries where quality control is necessarily a religion (such as pharmaceuticals), have whole departments dedicated to CAPA management.

This first enterprise dashboard screenshot shows CAPAs filtered by types such as Open CAPAs, Past Due CAPAs, Critical CAPAs, CAPAs Assigned to me, etc.:

CAPA Dashboard Screenshot

Take a look at the tabs across this application and you'll get a sense of the areas involved in the exacting science of quality management. Tabs include Deviations, Audits and Observations, Change Control, QMS, CAPA, and Complaints. Here is a higher level look from the project perspective:

Project Enterprise Dashboard Screenshot

Homework: Quality control is a deep subject to study. CAPA is a critical component to understand. Start with the book, Correct! Prevent! Improve: Driving Improvement Through Problem Solving and Corrective and Preventive Action. As the review states: "This book will be a helpful to anyone who needs to lead or facilitate problem-solving teams or those who need to implement and maintain corrective and preventive action systems whether you are a quality manager, quality technician, or an ISO coordinator. Examples included in this book can be applied to various industry segments including service, health care and education."

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books.

CAPA Management Dashboard Screenshots – Corrective And Preventive Action for Quality Control

May 24th, 2006

Here is a rare glimpse at a CAPA dashboard. What is CAPA, you ask? Not widely known to the general business public, CAPA stands for Corrective And Preventive Action and is a core element in quality management. It's the part of the quality control loop that takes the necessary action to correct defects. Industries where quality control is necessarily a religion (such as pharmaceuticals), have whole departments dedicated to CAPA management.

This first enterprise dashboard screenshot shows CAPAs filtered by types such as Open CAPAs, Past Due CAPAs, Critical CAPAs, CAPAs Assigned to me, etc.:

CAPA Dashboard Screenshot

Take a look at the tabs across this application and you'll get a sense of the areas involved in the exacting science of quality management. Tabs include Deviations, Audits and Observations, Change Control, QMS, CAPA, and Complaints. Here is a higher level look from the project perspective:

Project Enterprise Dashboard Screenshot

Homework: Quality control is a deep subject to study. CAPA is a critical component to understand. Start with the book, Correct! Prevent! Improve: Driving Improvement Through Problem Solving and Corrective and Preventive Action. As the review states: "This book will be a helpful to anyone who needs to lead or facilitate problem-solving teams or those who need to implement and maintain corrective and preventive action systems whether you are a quality manager, quality technician, or an ISO coordinator. Examples included in this book can be applied to various industry segments including service, health care and education."

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books.

Transit System Dashboard Screenshot – Railroad on-time performance KPI

May 23rd, 2006

Here's a performance dashboard for a railroad. Performance monitoring of transit systems is a popular municipal sport these days. I am a heavy train commuter and every month I find on the seat a nice glossy pamphlet with the latest on-time and late train statistics. I didn't know that the rail road can monitor the same statistics with an enterprise dashboard. Here's the screenshot:

Transit Performance Dashboard

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books.

Transit System Dashboard Screenshot – Railroad on-time performance KPI

May 23rd, 2006

Here's a performance dashboard for a railroad. Performance monitoring of transit systems is a popular municipal sport these days. I am a heavy train commuter and every month I find on the seat a nice glossy pamphlet with the latest on-time and late train statistics. I didn't know that the rail road can monitor the same statistics with an enterprise dashboard. Here's the screenshot:

Transit Performance Dashboard

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books.

Facilities Management Dashboard Screenshot – tracking work orders, materials, project management for a parks department

May 22nd, 2006

Work Order Analysis is the objective of this enterprise dashboard. Even municipal parks and recreation departments have been implementing enterprise dashboards to track their KPIs. Thanks to a Dashboard Spy who sent me this dashboard screenshot, we have a peek at a work management system. This dashboard shows metrics on work orders. They track the number of work orders opened and completed. Also, they break out the number of labor hours and the material costs. The comparison to last year’s numbers seem to be very important.

Executive Dashboard

Homework: We are seeing the application of the enterprise dashboard in more and more areas. Think about this and look for dashboards in unexpected areas. Here is what author Malik says in terms of the natural move toward dashboarding :

In hindsight, dashboarding seems to reflect the natural course of progression in the quest for improved information and better decision making.Almost every organization has experienced an exponential growth in com-puting power and data volumes during the past years. This growth drives theorganizational management to create more enlightened decision-making pro-cesses in an information-rich environment

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ dashboardspy.com. Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books.