Personal Dashboards: What Model Builders and Administrators need to know
The Personal Dashboards functionality in Anaplan finally grants your users the flexibility they’ve been craving on their dashboards. However, careful administration is needed to fully capture the value for your organization and minimize frustration for both admins and end users. In this article, I will discuss:
Personal Dashboards and ALM: avoid stress for yourself and your users
Understanding your users and building with Personalization in mind
Observe users’ dashboard personalizations to improve your own consulting and dashboard design skills
Personal Dashboards and ALM
When enhancing a live model, administrators often need to make changes to dashboards. With this new functionality comes new risks. As we know, many of these changes will cause all respective personal dashboards to be deleted. In previous Anaplan versions, users would log in after an ALM push to be pleasantly surprised by enhanced functionality. Now with Personal Dashboards, these same users may not be thrilled when they realize they need to recreate their personal dashboards.
The solution to keeping these users satisfied after changes and enhancements is communication. Just like any significant change to the production environment, users should be notified in advance whenever their Anaplan work station is queued for changes. As the trusted Anaplan admin, you’ll also need to be an expert in the kinds of changes which trigger the deletion of Personal Dashboards.
Designing with Personalization in mind
What kind of dashboards do we expect users to personalize? The answer is simply any dashboard containing modules which allow the user to pivot, filter, sort, edit column settings, conditional formatting, or hide/show columns. Ask your Project Sponsors, SMEs, and COEs if their users have a need for Personalized Dashboards. If not, the admin should disallow these changes in the Menu Options of each of the dashboard’s modules.
Another important consideration when building dashboards is whether these users have got the tech chops and engagement level to independently save their own dashboard views. In many cases, some dashboards will be viewed infrequently by one or a small handful of users. In these cases, the Master Dashboard should aim to meet the needs of all of these users without requiring further customization.
The converse to the previous scenario are the large Executive, Planning, and Reporting dashboards which are used frequently by many users, are highly interactive, and contain a great deal of detail and data-displaying modules. These are ideal candidates for personalized views. For these, the model builder can safely assume that all users have a saved view, and should warn them ahead of time when changes are being pushed. The Master Dashboard should still satisfy the needs of the business, but also allow the savvy users to save their own custom views.
Anaplan does not show admins which users have personalized dashboards, nor what they look like. The silver lining to this is that it provides an opportunity to drive conversations about Anaplan, as well as interact and grow relationships with your clients.
Once your clients and users have adjusted to their new Anaplan ecosystem and become comfortable with Personalized Dashboards, model builders and COEs should seek opportunities to ask these users about their preferences. In the long term, these discussions will give you perspective and knowledge about the business process and can help you plan ahead for these preferences when building future dashboards.
Interviewing users about their dashboard preferences is just one way to gain knowledge of the client, build trust, and improve your consulting and dashboarding skills. Each new Anaplan feature should be seen as an opportunity to learn, interact, and improve.