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Free Excel Dashboards » IT

The battle of the Three – War of the Social Networks

The number “3″ is a very significant number. People are accustomed of hearing the “The top 3″, “The three best ways” and so on. People expect to hear about only the “top three 3″ If you tell them the “Top 5″ they will get the top 3 among the 5 and the tend to ignore [...]

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Will Your Company Replace Excel with a Dedicated Budgeting Program?

A recent post in a public forum asked whether Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) ever will drop their spreadsheets in favor of a dedicated budgeting application. I think the answer to this question is NO. Most SMEs will continue with Excel for budgeting and forecasting, for excellent reasons. Here are a few of them: 1. Excel [...]

For more information visit Will Your Company Replace Excel with a Dedicated Budgeting Program?

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Dashboard Wireframes online service

A new webservice to build dashboard prototypes in the cloud is now available at Wireframes (.org)

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How to End Jaggies in Large Excel Headlines

Have you ever griped about an Excel limitation and then suddenly realized there’s a simple solution? That just happened to me. For a long time, I’ve wished that Excel would anti-alias large font sizes. Without anti-aliasing, Excel’s large fonts have jaggies, as this section of a large letter “B illustrates. Fonts don’t need to be [...]

For more information visit How to End Jaggies in Large Excel Headlines

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School District Dashboard

This performance dashboard example features metrics and key performance indicators relevant to the measurement of school district performance. As you can see from the screenshot of the dashboard example, it shows student achievement in the areas of State Performance, National Performance, ACT Test Performance, Graduation Rate, Academic Rigor and AP Class Enrollments.

The “Climate” metrics measure job satisfaction, learning environment, safety, respect, internal communication, discipline, professional development and diversity. The other major buckets addressed by this school dashboard revolve around the concepts of Parent and Community Relations (e.g. would be Overall Quality of Education, Board of Education, Community Awareness, Parent Involvement, Parent Communication, and Fiscal Responsibility) and Finance and Resources (Example shows Fund Balance, but there are other categories such as Operating Expense per Student, Tax Rate, Pupil/Teacher Ratio, Teachers Credentials and Teacher Retention).

Take a look:

school district dashboards

This school dashboard is live and available for your review here at

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Groupsite Enterprise Dashboard

Dashboard Spies love it when I show them business intelligence dashboard project artifacts. Here’s a look at a high fidelity mockup of the recently developed enterprise dashboard for Groupsite. It allows an enterprise to have a bird’s eye view of the digital communities spread across an organization.

Groupsite Enterprise Dashboard

This description is from the internal document that was leaked to me:

With the coming release of Groupsite’s Enterprise Dashboard, organizations are now empowered to gain actionable insights from all communities across their enterprise to spot trends, opportunities and potential problems. With Groupsite’s Enterprise Dashboard, marketing units now have the data at their fingertips to shape offerings and increase sales and brand engagement.

Groupsite is the industry’s leading SaaS platform for engaging external stakeholders of any organization. Leading companies, educational institutions, associations and government agencies have deployed more than 50,000 Groupsites to date. Groupsites leverage social collaboration to increase engagement in extranets, communities of interest, membership communities, supplier communities, customer communities and more.

Groupsite’s Enterprise Dashboard is comprised of the following:

Summary section:

The Summary section of the dashboard contains an at-a-glance overview of daily, weekly and monthly activity across a given selection of Groupsites associated with the entire organization or a select division within.
Additionally, the summary section includes trending and popular topics as well as a snap shot of the activity of select keywords and tagged users.

Statistics section:
The Statistics section of the dashboard contains a rollup of all statistics data including usage & pageviews, demographics & member stats, and email & invitation stats of Groupsites associated with the entire organization or a select division within.

Members section:
The Members section of the dashboard provides full profile data on each individual member that participates in any Groupsite community. From the dashboard, members can be suspended, or removed from all Groupsites in which they are associated. Members can also be tagged so that dashboard managers can easily track their Groupsite activity.

Groupsites section:
The Groupsites section provides detailed information on any Groupsite within the enterprise or division within. These details include member counts, branding, creation date, feature usage and more.

Syndicate Content section:
The Syndicate content section of the dashboard empowers dashboard managers at the enterprise or division level to add content directly to one or many Groupsites across the enterprise from the dashboard. Content can include the insertion of videos, system messages, blog posts, calendar events, surveys and more.

Here is a look at the details:

Groupsite Enterprise Dashboard Components

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A Look At Dashboard Reporting Time Frames

Our friends at Klipfolio provided the following look at Dashboard Reporting Time Frames

An essay on time frame comparison metrics.

We take an close, in-depth examination of 3 common ways of applying time frames and comparative values with an organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs). Once your organization has adopted a KPI dashboard, the next steps – to truly make the metrics work for you – may not be as obvious. A great starting point is our article on the anatomy of a KPI, where we look at how consciously designing your KPIs can influence the way you interact and act on them.

The next item to consider is what type of time frame paradigm you want to use when tracking your Key Performance Indicators. This article will examine 3 important models: historic, X-to-Date, and moving/rolling metrics.

Historic metrics

Historic business metrics or KPIs have a fixed start and end date with a full data set – for example, last year, last quarter, or last month. This metric is locked-in and must be compared to other historic metrics.

Although this type of measure might compare values from yesterday to the previous day, scenarios typically look at monthly, quarterly, and yearly time frames. That generally means that the operative word describing historic business metrics is “strategic.” Since this type of metric lends itself to longer time frames, you will spot trends and patterns that are less granular. Historic metrics tend to answer fairly broad or strategic questions, such as the following: what is the state of my business based on this metric compared to last year/quarter/month?

X-to-Date metrics

X-to-Date measures have a fixed start date with a moving end date – for example, this year to date, this quarter to date, or this month to date. As such, you will be working with a partial data set that provides you with a story that unfolds before your eyes. This type of measure is very common, and is the traditional way of reporting sales and financial metrics.

X-to-Date metrics or measurements tend to be more tactical than historic reports. Again, this has to do with the fact that they tend to be more operational in nature simply because the last set of values generally is today (or yesterday depending on how frequently the date is refreshed). A unique, and sometimes challenging, aspect of X-to-Date metrics is that at the beginning of the period (ie: 2 days into the Quarter), the numbers can be very volatile, or even misleading. There is just not enough data there to be statistically relevant.

As is the case when comparing any metric or KPI, use Past X-to-Date, or Last Year X-to-Date, so that you’re comparing apples to apples.

Moving or rolling metrics

Moving or rolling business metrics have a fluid start and end date – for example, the past 24hrs, or the past 7/30/60 days. The data set used for this metric is complete and grants tactical insights into the operations of your business. This type of business metric can be utilized by front-line workers as well as managers and executives.

Consider the use case of a call center using a rolling metric such as Average Service Level for the past hour (taken from our KPI Examples-Call Center Metrics article). As the metric changes, say to indicate that the center is not meeting its current Service Level Agreement, agents and managers can respond to the situation accordingly. Again, rolling metrics are compared with past rolling metrics – for example, Past 30-60 days, or Last Year past 30 days.

Recap – reporting time frames

This summary chart will provide you a breakdown of the distinctions between the three time frames we’ve just discussed.





Last Month (May)
Last Year (2010)
Jan 1,’11 to June 30,’11
(full data set, specified start and end date)
July 1,’10 to Dec 31,’10
Sales of $12.6M FY10 vs $11.4M FY09 Sales. Variance of $1.2M, or +10.5% (full year comparisons)


(partial data set, specified start date to moving end date)
LY-QTD (Last Year)
PY-YDT (Prior Year)
Production of 2,353kg MTD vs 2,532kg PastMTD. Variance of -179kg, or -7.1% (both MTD are only partial data sets)

Moving or Rolling

Past 24 hours
Past 7 days
(full data set, moving start and end date)
Past 24-48 hours
LQ-Past 7 days (Last Quarter)
Leads of 482 past 30 days, vs 325 PY 30 days. Variance of 157, or +48% (full 30 day comparisons)


Notes on acronyms:
- Prev, Prior, Past: All seem to be the same and can be shortened to PY or PriorMTD for example
- Last: Used the same as prev, prior, and past. Can be shortened to LY or LQ for example

Parting shots

Developing a comprehensive and useful KPI monitoring strategy requires considering what types of business metrics you need to monitor as well what time frame paradigm you should apply. Knowing who in your organization needs what information harkens back to the old writing rule, “know your audience!” Once you know this, rolling out metrics tailor made to suit their needs – such as a historic metric showing percentage YoY of sales growth for an executive – becomes much easier and much more effective.

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Dashboard Whitepaper on Agile BI

Here’s an interesting white paper on “self-service” business intelligence. Here’s the link: “Agile BI: Power to the People

About 175 IT leaders were surveyed about their business intelligence agility and implementations. It defined the 20 percent of users as best-in-class, 50 percent as average, and the remaining as “laggards.” The authors, White and Castellina, suggested that avenues toward self-service functionality show the clearest path toward agile BI. On that front, BI endeavors returned the most rewards when they moved beyond the traditional static reports and into collaboration between business and IT.

Sixty-five percent of BI users across best-in-class enterprises reported that data sources were understood and documented, compared with 33 percent of other enterprises that shared that same comprehension, according to the Aberdeen report. An even wider difference was found in the development of BI skills among management, with 53 percent of best-in-class users following through on this development and only 23 percent under development from the rest of enterprises.

Agile BI: Power to the People” prepared by David White, Senior Research Analyst in Aberdeen’s Business Intelligence practice, examines how the growth in data volume and data sources, combined with the increasing demand for timely management information, are driving organizations to seek a more agile and flexible approach to business intelligence. Business intelligence is being used to support tactical decision-making at the line of business level. For this to be successful, a flexible solution is required that can easily be adapted to meet rapidly changing business needs through a self-service BI solution. This document examines some of the key criteria required for self-service BI to be successful.

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The Selling Out of Infographics

For quite a while now, Dashboard Spy readers know that I’ve been warning people about the “dark side” of infographics. I had a long conversation with someone who took me to task for being so cynical. Here’s basically how the conversation went.

This person LOVES INFOGRAPHICS. I asked him to show me the kinds of infographics he loved – and I ABSOLUTELY AGREE. These were real, legitimate information visualizations with lots of care and effort put into it. When done right, and with respect to the very real principles behind information visualization, there is nothing like an infographic to turn on that light bulb over the viewer’s head.

However, my side of the story was that the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) industry has found that infographics are awesome traffic magnets. The presence of an infographic allows a webpage to be easily promoted via social media, blogging and other means. From the point of view of many hard-core SEO practitioners, any infographic will do – regardless of quality. The result is a TON of cheap, poorly created infographics that are not “real”.

Whenever I try to warn people about this, however, I am always not believed.

Well, I finally have my proof of infographics being used as an SEO tool. Take a look at this infographic:

Christmas Cash Infographic

This is called the Christmas Cash Infographic. So what, you may say.

Well, take a look at the yellow button at the bottom. It’s being sold for a couple of bucks as an SEO traffic device on a web marketing forum. Click on this link to see the pitch and read the “inside discussions”:

Christmas Cash Infographic for SEO

I just noticed that the “buy button” was pulled down and that the offer is being withdrawn. Perhaps I’ve shed too much light on this sort of thing? Hmmmm.

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Add Economic Data to Your Excel Dashboards

All Excel users should take note of this new product. It’s really, really cool. You can easily add data and calculations from more than 40 million data series about the economy and public companies.

Use this link to learn more: KydWeb

Watch this video to see how.

KydWeb represents several firsts…

It’s the first Excel add-in that powers Excel formulas to return web data for business analysis, forecasting, and reporting. Within minutes after a user discovers a web page with useful data, her KydWeb functions can display the data in a report. And when the data updates, so will the report the next time it’s loaded. (For performance reasons, web data is cached during a session of Excel.)

It’s the first product Charley Kyd created that directly addresses our “crazy economy.” As he says, “Since the economy causes so many business problems, why do your spreadsheets ignore it?” KydWeb exposes users to tens of millions of data series that could help their managers find solutions to business problems.

This product is an easy way to enhance Excel dashboards. Now it’s easy to create dashboards that show public data. One of the bonuses includes an IncSight DB report that’s been upgraded to display the revenue of public companies, key economic trends, and cost indexes for key expenses of a company.

Use this link to learn more: KydWeb

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