Creating Your IWMS Dashboard: 13 Questions To Ask

by James McDonald on May 26, 2020
The Next Generation of IWMS: iXMS

A well-designed IWMS dashboard should be as addictive as a FitBit—so clear and easy to understand that you can’t resist checking it frequently.

Dashboards help you track key performance indicators, unite organizational objectives, and drive more informed decision making. Despite the multitude of benefits, however, this business tool is often not properly defined and developed to accomplish the intended objectives.

Once your enterprise has implemented IWMS software, you need to ensure your IWMS dashboard is tracking the right data and truly simplifying it. Asking these questions will help.

IWMS Dashboard FAQs

1. What are my objectives for this dashboard?

An IWMS collects many different forms of workplace data, such as:

  • Total square footage
  • Cost per square foot of space
  • Space occupancy by building, floor and room type
  • Space utilization (measured by sensor integrations)
  • Conference room utilization
  • Maintenance tasks completed on time

Before you can be successful, you need to define what success looks like for your IWMS. What outcomes do you hope to achieve? What metrics will tell you you’re on the right track?

2. Who is my audience?

Your IWMS data runs the risk of being lost in translation if your delivery isn’t up to par.

That’s why it’s important to consider who will need to see your IWMS dashboard. What are their professional responsibilities, and what interest do they have in the data you are presenting? What information will be most valuable to them, and how will they prefer to see it?

If your audience is a busy CEO or CFO, they might only want a high-level overview of how your facility management costs are trending.  If it’s a maintenance manager who wants to better understand their team’s efficiency in handling requests, you might want to consider presenting more detailed IWMS data, like the average number of tasks completed per team member each week.

3. What questions does my audience need answered?

Before creating your dashboard, take a moment to answer a few questions about the interests of your audience. Your dashboard should not only tell the user what is happening within the business, it should help them answer why. Depending on your audience, you may even need to create multiple versions of a report highlighting each individual’s critical questions.

4. How much time will they have to review the numbers?

How long will your audience spend reviewing the numbers? If the dashboard is being created for a brief, end-of-the-day meeting, you’ll want to limit the data to just a few reports. If it’s being designed for a lengthy board meeting, you’ll want to include more detail.

5. Am I speaking their “language”?

Don’t assume every user has an in-depth understanding of the IWMS data being presented. Ask the person if it will be truly meaningful to them. If not, what can you do to make it more clear?

It might be as simple as changing the way you label your facility management dashboards and reports.

Or, it might be an opportunity to educate them on how metrics are evolving to meet the needs of your changing workforce. For instance, they might be accustomed to looking purely at occupancy and vacancy rates  to determine whether a building is being utilized to its full potential. As more workplaces shift away from assigned seats and toward a more agile work environment, your metrics need to evolve.

It’s no longer enough to look at how many desks are occupied. You’ll need more sophisticated ways of measuring space utilization, such as using sensors.

The coronavirus pandemic will likely have a lingering impact on office space density as well. Many offices will be operating at a reduced capacity for at least the next few months. They will need to adjust their floor plans for safe distancing. This could change the metrics you want to prioritize.

6. Which metrics should be included in my dashboard?

You’ve already answered the question of why. Now you need to determine what metrics are necessary to meet your dashboard objectives. What data is necessary to offer a clear, full picture, as opposed to a snapshot of your organization’s situation? Be sure to incorporate data from disparate sources, so that it fully supports your overall goal and a higher level of quality decision making. This should help you prioritize your metrics, eliminating the details unnecessary for this specific project.

7. Am I presenting the data in the best possible way?

As a rule, you want your dashboard to be visual in nature. But too much clutter will simply confuse your end user, and your message will be lost in translation. Be sure your dashboard is simple, clean, easy to follow and includes the most intuitive types of graphs for the information being presented.

And avoid these common mistakes when setting up your IWMS dashboard.

8. How often should your IWMS dashboard be refreshed?

The answer to this question is dependent upon the type of information you’re presenting. For example, if you’re measuring customer service response times, you’ll want to update your IWMS dashboard more frequently than financial data, which could be monitored on a monthly or quarterly basis.

9. Am I acknowledging all performance measures?

It’s human nature to want to avoid the negative, particularly when you’re analyzing your business’ performance. Don’t make the mistake, however, of glossing over poor performance data. All this will do is raise more questions and cast doubt on your efforts. Acknowledge all negative performance indicators in your report and dashboard, but put some thought into identifying a pattern as to why they are occurring.

After all, the purpose of analyzing workplace data isn’t to pat each other on the back for a job well-done. It’s to identify any holes in your strategy and determine how to adjust it in the coming months.

10. Should the dashboard be segmented?

If your enterprise has five offices spread out across the globe, creating one dashboard that includes data from every office doesn’t tell the full story. You’ll need to break it down into segments so that each location’s unique data is presented appropriately.

11. How do I make my workplace data actionable?

Generating data isn’t helpful if you aren’t sure what to do with it. Your IWMS dashboards should give you enough insight to make recommendations for continual improvement.

For instance, if you notice a particular floor in your building appears to be underutilized, you might want to consider moving some employees from a more populated floor to get more use from the space. This will also show you that there’s room to grow when you decide it’s time to hire more employees. A quick glance at your IWMS dashboard should tell you whether you have enough space to accommodate your growing workforce.

12. Does my IWMS dashboard tell the full story?

Before writing your summary, consider the data you’ve provided and the picture you’re trying to paint. Does the data back up your summary, and vice versa? If the two don’t sync up, it might be time to trim some of the fat. Just make sure you don’t trim too much, leaving holes in the final story. Your final test is whether you can discernibly explain how each IWMS dashboard metric connects to your organization’s objectives.

13. Can I build an ongoing data strategy based on these metrics?

While you may occasionally have the need for a one-off report, you should review your IWMS dashboards on a regular basis. Spend a little extra time now to develop a well thought-out IWMS dashboard that delivers consistent, concise, and practical data, and you’ll save yourself countless hours in the long run.

Unlock Deeper Insights From Your IWMS

The mark of a data-driven dashboard is the ability to see and understand business-critical data at a glance. Key decision makers utilize dashboards to gain business intelligence regarding what happens behind the scenes, gleaning insights that turn ideas into action. Although there can be a slight learning curve when getting started, creating an IWMS dashboard shouldn’t be a long process. Rather, it’s an iterative one.

Start with the metrics you need to track now. You can always make adjustments later.


James McDonald

James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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