Using Dashboards for Real Portfolio Analytics Access
February 17, 2022
So much data, so little time. How can you gain the insights you need into the performance of your capital project portfolio when there’s so much data to go through? The answer lies in how that data is presented to stakeholders.
This is where portfolio analytics dashboards shine, translating copious amounts of complicated data into visual formats that are easier to follow and understand. They convert your aggregated project data and serve it up as visual summaries. That’s why dashboards have emerged as a reliable tool to help contractors, owners, project teams and other key stakeholders receive and retain information they need, quickly and easily; understanding data before it’s acted upon.
Let’s look at why dashboard access to your portfolio analytics is so important, and the capabilities you’ll need to for your best experience.
Access to timely project data is problematic when it becomes a hunting expedition, with various pieces of information split among different computer programs or printed spreadsheets and reports that even then may be limited to only certain people. Not only is it more of a challenge to properly manage all your capital projects, but it makes timely, collaborative decisions and action steps rather difficult when not everyone can see or find the necessary data. Having a dashboard that surfaces key portfolio data front and center removes the question marks over where projects stand.
More than that, this online tool equalizes access for those who need it, when they need it. So, information that used to be out of reach to the broader team can now be viewed simultaneously. It essentially becomes its own single source of truth, offering users the ability to dig deeper into details as needed.
Data-driven decisions and risk management
With that real-time visibility comes a key advantage of portfolio analytics dashboards: being able to analyze risks through the lens of all your project data so you can make the right decisions at the right time. Want to get a glimpse into how well those projects are executing against their plans at any given moment? One of the most reliable ways to gauge how they’re doing is through at-a-glance performance metrics that measure project efficiency in terms of timeline and budget. These are the numbers that show where things are going according to plan and where there may be inefficiencies or potential issues requiring time-sensitive decisions or warranting risk mitigation strategies.
Among the most-monitored metrics are schedule performance index (SPI) and cost performance index (CPI), whose values rise and fall in response to internal and external risk factors. This is where the interactivity of your dashboard comes in handy, allowing you to go deeper into the data to find out what’s really going on when your SPI and/or CPI exhibit unusual behavior or trends. With so many decisions to make on a daily basis, it can help focus energy on what is most worthy of attention. So, for example, drilling further into those dashboard-displayed metrics can inform decisions about whether you can reallocate budget or resources from a stable project to one that is underperforming, or hire extra labor resources for a project at risk of missing a major milestone.
Contractors and stakeholders out on the jobsite and construction company employees in the back office analyzing project data share a common need: mobile access to that data. Because where portfolio analytics data is accessed is just as vital as the what, when and how. So those dashboards should still be accessible and rendered to fit on cloud-enabled mobile devices. The important thing to remember is that everything presented in the dashboard is the same real-time information accessed via desktop computer. No need to wait for reports. Flagged risk notifications can still get through to project team members who need to know.
What data can you see on a dashboard? It’s largely up to you. You can choose to show flagged risks, pending change orders, performance metrics, costs, forecasts — whatever you need to track to help you better manage your projects. But not all information is going to be of use to all users. Because when it comes to portfolio analytics dashboards, one size doesn’t fit all. Each person having visibility into the data will need different information for different reasons. Owners will be interested in different kinds of data than the accountants or the craftspeople. Find out what information each user group needs to do their job. How much detail do they need? How should it best be presented from a visual format standpoint? Having the flexibility to tailor the data each group can access as well as how it’s presented to them can make their jobs and decisions easier.
Did you know that not every portfolio analytics management system has a dashboard feature? And among those that do, not all dashboards or capabilities are alike. InEight offers a robust solution that delivers insights into all your projects, ensuring you can make sense of all their data so you can manage risks and outcomes effectively. See it in action by requesting a demo.