How long does it take to build a business dashboard?

How long does it take to build a business dashboard?  It’s a good question … a piece of string springs to mind.

But there is an answer.

It is dependent on the complexity of the dashboard that you’re trying to build and how many data sources that you’ve got.  It’s not that difficult to answer generally.

A worked example

Let’s say you’ve got finance data and timesheet data for all your consultants that work for you.  You also know that details on every customer and every job can be exported from these systems into Excel.  You can also export from your, finance package to Excel as well.

In this example you will want to see profitability of your business by work type or sector, as well as by office and perhaps by staff member.  All of what you need is in Excel.

So how would you build a dashboard and how long would it take?

Do you really know what you want?

Well the first thing to do is to understand what you need to see on your dashboard and why.  This can take anything between a couple of days, or maybe a week or so, of toing and froing, just to make sure everything is right.  Make sure this is clearly defined.

Do you have the right data?

The next stage is data review which can happen in parallel with the first stage but what we are trying to understand is what data you have access to, what limitations there are on your data as far as aggregations or how to connect jobs to people, and also how quickly or frequently you want to get your data out of the systems.

Is it daily, weekly or monthly or real time?

At about the three week mark this is all in place and at the same time business analysts will be talking to you about what dashboards you’d like to see, what information is really important to you because let’s face it everything usually boils down to three key metrics.

From that, understanding who is going to look at these dashboards because the audience is almost as important as the data. Or to be honest, more important.  Knowing how is going to look at these dashboards is the key influence behind what these dashboards will look like.

Getting closer

Once all those pieces of the puzzle are put together a bit of the heavy lifting can get going and within 2 to 3 weeks of that point to the first set of draft dashboards should be really to have a look at.

Now there might be some back and forth here as things are pushed around and data ingestion is checked and tweaked to make sure the numbers are as expected, or there might be some modifications where we realise, seeing a number of metrics on the page, that it makes sense to reorganise a certain structure decided upon.

Once in place it’s pretty straight forward to move the dashboards and the data pipelines over to your environment and give everyone access. Now let it run for a month or two to iron out any creases and your done.

Spoiler alert

How long does it take to build a business dashboard?  In the space of about four weeks to maybe six weeks a relatively robust business dashboard with a few data sources can be developed and delivered within our business.

Cost is dependent on who you engage to deliver the dashboard so costs will range.  Keep in mind that cost and quality are correlated and you will generally get what you pay for.  For this example, expect to pay between $11,000 and $25,000.