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Igniting Innovation and Managing Change Through Data Visualization

Analytics are only useful when they have meaning to the person reading them. Data visualization capabilities enable change management dashboards that collect, merge, and present data in an understandable form while offering inquiry ability for better decision-making.
— By Esther Burt

Data, data everywhere, and not a drop to use. Ignoring the mixed metaphor, the reality is that many organizations struggle to find the value in big data. What kind of data can produce innovation or what data will help the organization open up new markets? Even after the data is collected, what then?

Data is only useful when it is presented in a form the user can make sense of, and that means it needs to fit the way the human brain works best. Data visualization is imagery in the form of charts and graphs, though that description does not convey the sophistication of its underlying technologies that can combine multiple databases, produce real-time analytics, and generate visualizations on the fly.

Change dashboards are business intelligence tools that present merged results and give users the ability to plan, prepare and monitor projects while utilizing data.

Understanding Data by Visualizing it
Data visualization uses parsed data to quickly transfer information from the computer to the viewer in an efficient and meaningful manner. As technology continues to advance, the most sophisticated data visualization enables the continuous changing of visualizations based on analytics produced from streaming data emanating from multiple sources. A change dashboard provides the meaningful analytics through visualization that a change manager needs to identify issues for the purpose of taking necessary action.

The change dashboard is not simply a set of colourful graphics on a screen. The dashboard is the end result of a process in which multiple data streams are merged and business intelligence analytics offer critical information.

Resource Strategic Change Facilitators change management dashboard provides an example of the sophisticated dashboards developed by software companies for strategic management of projects and change initiatives.

This company's change management dashboard is used to identify the critical issues that need addressing with the issues presented in a change complexity profile. The dashboard can present an analysis of organizational readiness for change and help with the identification of the appropriate leadership style by creating understanding of what leaders need to focus on through the change process. A review of economic vs. values helps leaders visualize the economic and financial success the change can bring while also visualizing how the change could potentially harm the organization, helping the business avoid unintended consequences. The dashboard can even present a visualization of the resistance to change and the key aspects of discontentment.

A variety of metrics are presented in graphs and charts, and they can be generated on demand based on the data selected for analyzation.

Developing Dashboards to Track and Meet Goals
As the above example shows, change dashboards go beyond simply visualizing results like benchmarks. They utilize merged data streams in graphical format to address problems as well as change status. The dashboards show trends, correlations and patterns, many of which are not obvious.

BMC developed a change management dashboard that presents critical data points and key metrics as graphics and numeric content.

The dashboard is used by executives and managers who are monitoring any of a variety of changes to ensure the organization stays on track to meet goals. Users can choose the statistics to view, select criteria, and specify the data timeline. The statistics include items like the history of unplanned and planned changes over the designated time range and the success rate of changes made.

The dashboard identifies trends and gives visual views of things like the overall health of specific changes (Were they supported and to what degree?); changes by impact to tract operational efficiency; cost variances; and changes by business justification.

Preparing for and Managing Changes
Managing change today is more difficult because businesses operate in a more complex and dynamic environment. A lot is written about continuous change, but focused change initiatives remain integral to business success.

The main impediments to successful organizational change are a lack of commitment, inadequate capability, lack of measurement that leaves problems undetected, and no verification of results. The change management dashboard is one of the first tools developed that can help business leaders avoid these pitfalls.

KPIs are embedded in the data analysation system, but KP dashboards as change management tools are transforming change management in numerous ways.

In "Tomorrow's KP Dashboard Will Be Your Boss," Michael Schrage discusses the many ways the dashboard is changing management approaches. KPI dashboards are making data-driven recommendations; identifying new KPI relationships previously undiscovered; and prompting new behaviours. The prompts or "nudges" can be important change agents that encourage employees to make choices that are in the best interests of the organization and themselves.

The KPI dashboards serving as change dashboards can be training tools (tap a KPI and a tutorial video pops up) or hold people accountable. KPIs can alert managers to problems and communicate organizational expectations and actions.

The main impediments to successful organizational change are a lack of commitment, inadequate capability, lack of measurement that leaves problems undetected, and no verification of results.
Discovering and Understanding Hidden Data Using Dashboards
Using visualization makes it easier for executives and managers to get the value hidden in data. Change management dashboards enable business leaders to get timely information for decision-making.

This is crucial for managing change.

The advantages of change management dashboards in any form begin with their ability to present data to people who do not have IT experience. They organize large volumes of data into visualizations and enable non-IT people to make inquiries of the data.