Make Better Decisions with the Standard Management Dashboard

By Tara Squitiro

The LMG Project partnered with PEPFAR to develop a Standard Management Dashboard that any organization could use to improve its financial, programmatic, and management performance. We did this by creating custom dashboards for four complex and differently-structured local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Kenya and Uganda and then taking the best parts of each to create a Standard Dashboard.

Why might you want a Dashboard at your organization?

Managers, board members, and donors are often overloaded with information presented in a format (Excel, Word, etc.) that does not clearly present current conditions. Without absorbing the right information, important decisions cannot be made in a timely manner and the performance of the projects and ultimately the organization can suffer. With the Standard Management Dashboard, managers, board members, and donors can view key programmatic, financial, and management information in a concise, easily accessible and very visual format that allows for quick decision making.

Could your organization benefit from our Standard Dashboard?

A dashboard offers visual signals for key indicators, much like the dashboard of a car, showing both current and historical performance to allow the user to:

  • Investigate a warning sign;
  • Respond to a changed situation; and
  • Maintain activities knowing that basic functions are being carried out in a satisfactory way.

What are the financial and time commitments to implementing a Dashboard?

One SAP Crystal Dashboard Software license is enough for most organizations, since the Standard Dashboard is almost entirely Excel-driven. The 2013 edition is privately produced and available from commercial retail outlets for $495, and it can be purchased online and then downloaded onto any Microsoft computer. Along with staff time, that is the only financial commitment needed to implement the Standard Dashboard.

Implementing the Standard Dashboard includes several steps that are time-consuming if done thoroughly – selecting the key indicators to report on quarterly, mapping the Dashboard reporting process to existing reporting processes, etc. The implementation process should take between three to five weeks (access the complete implementation package on the LMG Project website). After the Standard Dashboard has been implemented, however, each staff member contributing to the Dashboard will likely spend only about a half a day each quarter to generate the Dashboard, a savings that outweighs the initial investment costs and time.

In summary, what might you gain by using the Standard Dashboard?

  • Enhanced reporting processes and management for an overall improvement in organizational performance;
  • Reduced volume of data information targeted at an overwhelmed manager; and
  • More timely decision-making.