This is bonus coverage from “Dashboard Builder” in the July issue of Credit Union Management magazine.
The primary advantage of dashboards is that they translate complex data into a visual format that is easy to comprehend and act on. “The visual presentation allows data to be depicted in a meaningful way that enhances decision-making capabilities,” explains Stephen Misajlovski, enterprise account manager for iDashboards, a provider of interactive dashboard software solutions.
Misajlovski adds that CU staff can deliver dashboards via email directly to board members’ inboxes on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, giving them the opportunity to think analytically.
“The board can access the dashboards all month long, which gives them the opportunity to get acclimated to the data. Rather than having to sift through pages of reports that need analysis, they can draw conclusions from the summaries and trends that are immediately visible in the dashboard while also having the ability to drill down to find details.”
“Rather than waiting until the end of the month, they are seeing the data immediately,” adds Jim Qussar, an iDashboards engineer. The advantage of this is that they can immediately spot trends, whether positive or negative, and react to those trends appropriately.
County Federal Credit Union, based in Presque Isle, Maine, uses iDashboards’ solution to help analyze data. “Having a visual depiction makes comparison and trend analysis easier to comprehend,” says Craig Sjoberg, AVP/information technology and compliance manager for the $213 million credit union. “It certainly helps our management and board utilize the data to make key decisions.”
Sjoberg has found two tools in the dashboard to be most useful. One is the “five key ratios” dashboard, which enables the credit union to look not only at its own return on assets, but also at a national peer group ROA. The second is a mortgage loan dashboard, which shows total real estate loans for the month and gives a visual breakdown of these loans by fixed rate or HELOC, as well as the volume and percentage of the whole portfolio.
“The charts and numbers will change as you move the mouse over the particular month,” says Sjoberg. “Beyond the ‘cool’ factor, the ability to show relationships, comparisons and trending patterns in a concise, visual setting allows for rapid understanding of correlations and possible causations.”
Sjoberg expects the impact of dashboards to become more important to the credit union in the future. “As we grow our dashboards, management and the board will digest the ‘big data’ with more speed and efficiency than in the past [when it was presented] with tabular data in a spreadsheet. This data representation is dynamic in nature, allowing for multiple layers of detail, yet in a manner that is easy to understand. I believe that the use of dashboards is a ‘must-have’ for a growing business in order to stay on top of trends and business analysis.”
Diane Franklin is a freelance writer based in Missouri.