Adding value to intranets using dashboards

I'm a big fan of the articles Step Two write and one of their latest articles by Steve Bynghall provides some very interesting insights into the latest thinking around how intranets can provide value through the use of dashboards.

I've talked on a number of occassions about how intranets can support the display of analytics and increasingly big-data through the use of dashboards and this article looks in detail at the value and some of the challenges associated with doing so.

Whilst it would be nice to think you could just create a dashboard on an intranet homepage or other page and it will work perfectly, there are a number of issues intranet managers need to bear in mind. These are outlined by Steve in his article as follows:

  • presenting a large quantity of data so it clear and not overwhelming
  • presenting different types of data in a consistent way
  • choosing appropriate data visualisations for the right impact
  • delivering a beautiful and attractive user experience
  • prioritising which data to display
  • dealing with sometimes sensitive data which needs to be permission-based
  • integrating different systems in the back end
  • addressing information management challenges
  • presenting views for mobile devices

The article then look at some of examples of how organisations are using dashboards on their intranets and some of them are very impressive. For example the IPC Hospitalist Company has created a metrics dashboard, this has been made interactive so users can create reports on the fly.

Another impressive dashboard is the HR portal built by Telstra, their "Me Page" provides employees with a personalised dashboard of key HR information pulled from different systems. As Steve says, the challenge here was not only making it look nice, but the technical challeneg of integrating content from multiple systems.

There are other examples within the article, but I thought these two were particularly impressive. I believe the use of dashboards, especially those that can be personalised as in the IPC Hospitalist Company example are going to become more ubiquitious as organisations looks to push more of the analytical information they're gathering to intranet homepages.