The Dashboard Spy

October 11, 2006

Communications Performance Management Dashboard – Using Xcelsius to display internal communication KPIs

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — Tags: , — dashboardspy @ 9:15 am

Update: Internal Communications Dashboard

In a recent post regarding communications and public relations enterprise dashboards, I showed some work by, a communications agency in London that is using Xcelsius dashboard technology to provide their clients with measurements of their communications programs. I focused on the relevant KPIs in that post but did not do justice to the actual dashboards. I snooped around, using typically sneaky Dashboard Spy techniques, and now have a large screenshot of their Internal Communications Dashboard and present it for your study here.

Note that while, this executive dashboard is done in Crystal Xcelsius (used most often for “what-if style dashboards”), it does so mostly using only the “view-only” modes. There is interactivity for the date selection dropdown and descriptive data mouseovers in the KPI charts, so Xcelsius is shown to be a fine choice for read-only dashboards as well.

Here is the executive dashboad screenshot. A listing of the relevant KPIs follow:

Communications KPI Dashboard

Internal Communications KPIs

FYI. There has been quite a bit of innovation in the area of using business dashboards for internal communications within enterprises. Of note has been the work of a company called Klipfolio. They’ve pioneered the use of desktop dashboards for various business intelligence uses. They have one desktop dashboard targeted specifically at internal communication. Metrics and other indicators help to measure the success of internal communications in the company.

Homework: Usabilty is key when presenting to the end user through a dashboard. Study up on the discipline of usability. Start with these usability books. Also, as these dashboards are executed in the easy-to-use Xcelsius, take a look at the book, Crystal Xcelsius For Dummies .

So who is the Dashboard Spy? No one really knows, but his growing collection of enterprise dashboard screenshots has captured the imagination of the executive dashboarding community. From excel dashboards and custom-built business scorecards, to xcelsius and flex-based visualizations, the dashboard screenshots at serve both as nuggets of inspiration and warnings of what not to do on an enterprise dashboard. These hits and misses will enlighten and entertain. Technology-neutral, and always business-driven, the Dashboard Spy website is the place to go to learn about the latest enterprise dashboard packages. Check out the Dashboard Spy’s latest recommended book, Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data.


  1. Has anyone real experience to report with the Xcelsius product? This appears to be more demo-ware than a spy shot of a functioning dashboard.

    It’s lovely to transform one-off Excel spreadsheets into pretty powerpoint “dashboards”, but it’s a whole different ballgame to take data feeds from different sources and combine them into real time dashboard.

    Comment by Efo3rd — October 16, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

  2. We are working with a client who started using Xcelsius for dashboards but found it a) too restrictive; b) too ugly (see the shiny 3-D above); c) too hard to get the data into Xcelsius-compliant format. In my opinion, one can replicate the Xcelsius functionality in Excel and avoid these issues.

    Comment by Zach — October 16, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

  3. I suggested these headings for this dummy ware about 4 or five years ago helping out Simon Quarenden who had the licence for the software. They owe a lot to Kirkpatrick – the authority on training evaluation.

    To be honest, my thinking has moved on a bit since then. Most of the people talking about the idea place more emphasis on how you keep it as simple as possible and focus attention on two or three metrics at most.

    The best applications I have seen seem to be simple word documents which have headings like:
    *feedback this month
    *comms activity this month
    *planned activity next month
    *upcoming business issues.

    This approach focuses attention on the question of what the business needs communications to deliver.


    Comment by Liam FitzPatrick — March 10, 2009 @ 3:36 am

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