What’s on your dashboard?
Image 1: i2 Dashboard Example A
In today’s world of infographics and visual content, we don’t need to tell you that “a picture paints a thousand words”. The stats tell us that we are more likely to click through to read content if it’s accompanied with an image. Plus, we will remember 55% more of the information when we add a picture. As a result, from i2 version 2.13 onwards, Paprika is becoming more graphical and we are gradually introducing dashboards.
The good news about dashboards is that you don’t have to be an accountant to quickly understand the numbers within your agency. Dashboards, a new business analytics tool, visually display your agency data in consolidated numbers, metrics and KPIs. For those excited by colourful graphs and pie charts, it’s a little like setting a sugar addict loose in a sweet shop. What’s more, the visuals are interactive and you can click through to view the data behind the graphs and counts.
The Paprika dashboard is completely user definable and is determined by what you configure in a browser view, therefore, the possibilities are endless. Which is great, but also technically challenging since each of you use our software differently and no two Paprika set-ups are the same. So why have we made it difficult for ourselves? Well, we could have easily made a standard set of graphs and enforced you all to see the same thing. But no, what makes Paprika so powerful is that it is unique to your agency. We wanted your dashboard to be customisable and configurable. Not everyone does timesheets, so a graph comparing estimated time to timesheet postings would be irrelevant for a number of agencies. Some of our clients bill based on fixed retainer fees, whilst others estimate for each job, and then there are those who do a combination of the two. The variances between you, our clients, are vast and as such Paprika dashboards must be too.
With the 2.13 dashboard, you have the opportunity to create meaningful and relevant visual representations of your data. It will take some time and effort to decide how you want to configure your dashboard. Although at a first glance it sounds like a challenge, we like to think it’s an exciting one. This is an opportunity to create a dashboard that is completely unique to your agency and flexible for the future. Your business is constantly changing and the key indicators to improve agency performance will change too. You will need to take your strategic objectives into account and decide what indicators your agency staff should be paying attention to. Thus, maintenance and re-evaluation of your agency dashboard will also become an ongoing exercise.
Image 2: i2 Dashboard Example B
So what should be on your dashboard? As you have probably come to realise, there’s no right or wrong answer to this. It really depends on what your current agency objectives are. What do you want your people to know and how do you want them to think after they know it? Pick benchmarks that help your people achieve your agency goals. If you’re a growing agency you may want to focus on sales indicators; the number of pitch jobs, profitability of pitch jobs and new client wins etc. If you’re looking to increase profitability then you would have more indicators that alert agency staff to job profitability, overspend on third party costs and efficiencies. Here are some suggestions:
Job budgets hitting limits (or about to)
Timelines, what’s overdue and what’s completed?
The number of jobs not yet billed
Measurement of under or over spend of 3rd party costs
Top 10 clients who spend the most money
Top 10 most profitable jobs
10 least profitable jobs
Number of new client wins
Although it's tempting to put all your data into a dashboard visual, we advise you to limit it to just your key strategic goals. Your Paprika dashboard will ideally consist of 5-8 metrics – anymore and you risk hitting information overload and it ceases to be useful. If this doesn’t seem like enough graphs and counts for your liking, then fear not dashboard enthusiasts, soon there will more opportunities to create individual job dashboards too. In the next i2 release, version 2.14, there’s a new program called the Job Tracker. Here, you will gain new tools and visuals that can be configured for each job and task. This is an advancement of the existing job enquiry program and graphs are configured in much the same way as the i2 dashboard.
Due to the new Dashboard and Job Tracker functionality, Paprika ran its first Dashboard seminar on Jan 25th at techUK. This seminar was an introduction to dashboards and aimed to train attendees on how to set up dashboard views for themselves, a team or the entire agency. This session was the first of its kind, and after some really positive feedback, we have refined it into a workshop format which will be repeated on the 14th June 2017. If you or a colleague are interested in attending then click here for more information and to book. Likewise if you want to find out more about the new Job Tracker and the upcoming release of i2 v 2.14, then follow this link.