Big data is like the pollution of the information age. There is an overwhelming amount of it—who manages it, where is it being stored, who is translating it, and what does it all mean?

The Big Data Struggle and Performance Reporting

Many larger organizations leverage teams of data scientists to manage, configure and analyze the data pulled into BI and dashboarding solutions like Datadog and Grafana in an effort to get a single view into their performance. And while such solutions deliver strong value for managing data across multiple services, they can be costly, hard to configure, and challenging to glean actionable insights from – particularly for mid-size companies.

Alternatively, a number of organizations have created their own internal home-grown systems for managing and distilling web performance and monitoring data. Something as simple as a dedicated spreadsheet can be used to pull key metrics from varying sources onto a single page. This solution requires a lot of manual work to keep the information fresh and accurate, but it’s also the least expensive and the easiest way to dip a toe into the dashboarding water.

Ideally, DevOps and performance professionals would have easy access to customizable executive dashboards and reports available right in the performance solution they know and trust, delivering the right metrics to the right stakeholders at the right time. No fuss, no muss. These dashboards should be customizable so they can deliver a high-level look at what a user determines to be the most essential metrics.

The Value of Performance Monitoring Dashboards

Gaining executive buy-in on performance improvement can be tricky. The process often requires professionals to go through arduous corporate campaigns to educate key stakeholders and business leaders about the impact performance has on the business.

The single most valuable asset to assist this process is a simple, elegant, visual representation of the key metrics and how they impact the business objectives that stakeholders care about.

Sharing this clear view into performance with the right person, at the right time, on a regular frequency can help improve transparency, gain support from other areas of the business, and establish a foundation from which to build a culture of performance.

6 Attributes of Effective Performance Monitoring Dashboards

A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives, consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance.” – Stephen Few, Dashboard Confusion

As the big data era brings in multiple options for visualization, it has become apparent that not all solutions are created equal. When looking for web performance monitoring dashboard functionality, look for options that deliver value by providing:

  1. Clear & Simple Visualizations.
  2. A clean, easy-to-understand, fully customizable interface is able to deliver data at a glance to busy team members who need information now – without having to squint or take more than a few seconds to read.

  3. Insights At Any Level.
  4. A dashboard should deliver the critical information right up front and then give quick access to further details as needed. By displaying high-level information first, users can dive deeper for a more granular look if they prefer or limit their view to just the facts.

  5. Customizable Performance Budgets.
  6. The ability to set performance budgets and thresholds that make sense for your business is essential – and table stakes – for any effective performance dashboard or report.

  7. Automatic Updates.
  8. Automatic updates with the ability to manually refresh keeps the data featured on the dashboard accurate at all times.

  9. Easy Shareability & Accessibility.
  10. Dashboards are only effective for those with access or easy to share exports and reports. Ensure your solution has a shareable dashboard view that does not require recipients to log in and limits platform access to make collaboration easy while also managing privacy concerns.

  11. A Single Source, Multiple Views.
  12. Allowing the ability to name and view multiple data subsets means users can see exactly what they want when they want it.

    Best Practices for Performance Monitoring Dashboards

    When implementing executive dashboards, it is wise to follow one simple philosophy: K-I-S-S.

    Keep it simple, stupid.

    Day in and day out, mountains of data surround us, some critical, some not, and our leadership teams are constantly inundated by facts and figures. When it comes to performance and monitoring dashboards, start small and avoid over-cluttering.

    First, showcase only the most critical performance metrics that align directly with business objectives

    Establish a routine of reporting and driving awareness about the reports. Get your teams involved and used to receiving notifications that reference the executive dashboards.

    Then as your program matures, or when you are ready, add a few more metrics to the dashboard.

    For example, Rigor’s executive dashboarding capability allows users to keep the most critical business information right at their fingertips. These dashboards can be quickly configured to showcase any combination of the 40+ performance and user experience metrics offered within the Rigor Platform.

    rigor monitoring dashboard prioritization

    Each metric can then easily be set to report on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis (or all three).

    Once you have selected the right combination of performance metrics for inclusion on the executive dashboard, you can leverage key features like conditional formatting to set the performance thresholds that are meaningful to your unique business goals.

    rigor monitoring dashboard custom settings

    This way, once a metric deviates from the desired range, it will display in a color that the user assigns (for example, red, yellow, or green) to provide a quick, visual way to review web performance at a glance.

    When setup is complete, the dashboard can be pulled up to see a live view of web performance, including where the most critical issues lie, to ensure that action is taken or to follow up as required

    At any time, the end user can share the customized dashboard with others inside or outside their organization via direct link. This link can be created for short or long-term use and can be disabled when necessary. The link recipient can view the dashboard without logging into the Rigor Platform and will not have access to additional metrics or monitoring from the screen.

    Additionally, the stakeholder can choose to view the dashboard in “Present Mode.” This option hides all menus and functional buttons from the screen, making it easy to include in a presentation. These two features allow for ease of collaboration using high-level data while keeping additional details private.

    Conclusion

    In today’s world of big data pollution – more data, more reports, more checks – it is more important than ever to ensure you can get the right information filtered to the right people. By carefully implementing a dashboard – either within a platform or by using a third-party tool – and customizing it for the appropriate audience, you can cut through the data clutter and deliver the necessary information to the end user, no matter their role.

    The Rigor Digital Performance Platform is designed to help you solve your performance concerns, providing all the data you need to communicate the issue and impact of performance while offering actionable, proactive insights into how to fix and remediate the issues you find. To learn more about the platform and our executive dashboarding capabilities, request a guided product tour today.

    What insights have you found to be essential to include within your performance monitoring dashboards and reporting?

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