I am going to use the following story as a reference and it is a true story that happened to one of my Friend at work.
My Friend Mathew (changed name for privacy) works as Business Intelligence consultant and he does free-lancing. With all the down-sizing and budget cuts, his job was on the line to get chopped up since consultants and un-necessary expenses are first to go. When such things happen, companies often do not realize that sometimes these actions do not repair anything.
He was hired to implement Oracle BI software but due to budget constraints the company decided to cut back on the plan and hence get rid of all consultants. The only way he could stay on the job was if the client decided to implement the existing BI software that they already owned. (Yep lot of big ticket BI software often go un-used).
Talking to me, it became apparent that the client should be made aware of the benefits of BI software that they already own but the Oracle BI software being a beast in itself requires dedicated time from the DBA to put in the Development box and some configurations so his hands were completely tied. I offered him to use InfoCaptor to build a quick dashboard that would solve the client’s major pain. But it was upto him to decide on what pain to solve.
Now Mathew is a smart fellow and what he did later was truly genius. He approached the lady who prepares weekly reports on the status of project, tasks, open tickets and some performance metrics. He got multiple raw excel dumps from the different applications and build a common dashboard view. He exported the dashboard output to PDF and emailed it to this lady (Rosy). Rosy was completely blown away with the quaility of the PDF output and the dashboard format. Mathew showed her how easy it is to refresh the dashboard every week. Rosy sent the report to the PMO meeting.
The management got extremely excited. Mathew then presented his case that how Rosy is able to save 2 days of her time every week by automating the dashboard report generation. So if they go ahead with the BI software implementation they could similarly boost the productivity at all department level. Long story short, his contract has been extended for another 6 months and he is now a regular in the PMO meeting. Yes, they are now implementing Oracle BI software.
Clearly, Mathew did provide extreme value to his client but on top of that he demonstrated it by being Proactive and doing something different that nobody had thought of.
If you think your job is in danger or feel like demonstrating more work and value to your boss then follow the steps and you will be guaranteed more visibility and a stronger job security.
Building and demonstrating a Dashboard report is very new and trendy and the beautiful Gauges and Charts surely catches lot of eyeballs. So make it a mission to create something that is attractive and extremely valuable.
Create Something Attractive and Extremely Valuable
1. Identify the content that you want to present to your boss
Make a list of things that is routinely done such as daily, weekly or monthly. There must be someone who is creating those summarized reports and sending to upper management on regular basis. This could be weekly sales figures, profit loss measures. Get access to this raw data. If you can get direct access to the underlying database then it is perfect, if not then get the data dump into Excel.
2. Decide on the presentation layout
Remember, you want to create something attractive and eye catching that delivers Valuable information. Kind of Sexy and intelligent woman
Try to summarize the information like total product count by category, total sales by region, average order quantity, total revenue by month etc.
Create the Bar charts and Pie charts for the above summarized information. Throw in a couple of Gauges such as Dials and Thermometers. Remember, you want your boss to call you and ask questions about. So be prepared to answer and justify why you presented the data in certain format. You don’t have to be perfect, you want your boss to suggest improvements. He might say, “Well this data should be better represented by a Pie chart rather than a line chart” and so on. That is true engagement and a silent approval of the work and effort you have put in.
3. Export your Dashboard to PDF
Assemble all your charts and dashboard portlets in a nice format, resize them and align properly. Export the dashboard output to PDF and email it to your boss or the person whom you are working with.
4. Meet your Boss
Your boss is definitely going to call you and arrange a meeting to discuss the PDF that you sent. He is going to discuss important stuff about the business and things he may have never discussed with you before. You are suddenly now on his/her side because you have provided something that was never asked from you. When you meet, make sure that this is a prototype and it should be refined further to suit the business. Admit what your assumptions were and be open for suggestions. This is your chance to be a permanent member of the strategy team for your business.
5. Step Up
Educate your workmates and help them build the dashboards themselves. Learning and sharing is key for leadership roles. Don’t be secretive. Share your knowledge and everybody will be talking the same language. This is the only way you will get noticed and become indispensable.