Before our clients hire us to build them a custom dashboard, they go through what we call the “dashboard buyer’s journey“. This is a “journey” because it involves many decision points, and there are lots of things to learn along the way.
The Dashboard Buyer’s Journey
These are the stages in the dashboard buyer’s journey:
- Loosening of Status Quo
- Committing to Change
- Exploring Possible Solutions
- Committing to a Solution
- Justifying the Decision
- Making a Selection
1. Loosening of Status Quo
Here the management team is feeling the inefficiency of the current manual process for monitoring key metrics. For some it is too much work to compile the numbers by running several reports for each property.
Besides, they are mostly looking at P&L and operational metrics that tell history. They are getting surprised by missed targets. They start thinking of a better way of staying on top of the metrics they need to be monitoring.
2. Committing to Change
Someone with influence tells the management team that there must be a better way of tracking metrics and being proactive at operating the business. There is a push to find a better way so that the team can spend time understanding and managing the metrics instead of manually compiling them.
3. Exploring Possible Solutions
Someone is given the task to explore options. They soon realize that there are many options, and many different price points.
This person uses search term such as “KPI Dashboard” or “Real Estate Dashboard”, “Property Management Metrics” and comes across many search results.
In fact, the information seems overwhelming. They also come across information that is very technical in nature and hard to understand.
They learn that they will have to decide on options such as:
- Off-the-shelf dashboards vs custom built dashboards (“build vs buy”)
- On-premise vs cloud
- Static metrics vs drill-down analytics
- Cloud BI such as Domo, Geckoboard, Grow, Sisense
- Data warehouses, data lakes, ETL
- Custom dashboard options such as Power BI, Tableau, Klipfolio
- Real estate specific players such as Rentlytics, Datex, LobbyCRE
They hear many different pricing options. It gets confusing. But this exploration sparks many good ideas and this keeps the momentum alive.
4. Committing to a Solution
The plethora of options is scoped down by setting boundaries such as:
- We will go-live with our new dashboard by x date
- We will spend no more than $y for replacing the existing manual process
- We will limit scope to the metrics already being utilized
- We will select a solution that requires no long-term monthly contract
- We will select a platform that can be expanded
Based on the above criteria, vendors are contacted. Information is collected. Demos are conducted. Pricing information is requested. And, the field of possible solutions is narrowed down.
5. Justifying the Decision
Someone, usually the CFO, wants to know the justification for spending money on a dashboard. This is an internal debate within the company. A dashboard and analytics investment can justified in terms of:
- What’s the price of maintaining the status quo?
- What’s the price of finding out too late that we are over-budget?
- What’s the price of having senior team members spending hours in Excel doing manual data preparation?
- What’s the price of making decisions with too little information? (for example, spending more money on marketing without knowing the results from the prior campaign, or budgeting for minor touchup when major repairs could have been predicted).
One of the tools we offer for justifying investing in dashboards and analytics is the Analytics Value Planner.
6. Making a Selection
Once the decision makers have approved the investment in a custom dashboard, the evaluators need to decide on the best available option.
Sometimes, signing up for a free trial isn’t enough because the free trial might lack the features required. So, it makes sense to conduct a “proof of concept” to get hands-on exposure to a partial solution without making a full investment up front.
Now Begins the Vendor’s Process
Stage 6, Making a Selection, marks the end of the dashboard buyer’s journey. The selected vendor will have a process to take you forward from this point on. Here is a link to RentViewer’s process
Property Management Metrics Handbook
The Property Management Metrics Handbook contains over 100 metrics for financial and operational performance management. Download your free copy.