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The 3 Things Your Recommendation Solution Should Tell You – but Doesn’t

June 6, 2013

A typical dashboard seems orderly, but irrelevant detail can be distracting and some pieces are missing. -- watercolor by Charles Plaisted

A typical dashboard seems orderly, but irrelevant detail can be distracting and some pieces are missing. — watercolor by Charles Plaisted


I am not talking about Reporting: canned reports are about as appealing as canned spinach. I am talking about communicating with all staff impacted by recommendations. The solutions typically have a dashboard to communicate the information the vendor thinks is important, presented as… online, navigable reports.

No dashboard has just the information you need. You get some of what you need, plus a lot of unneeded or unintelligible information.

There are three types of information that must be clearly communicated for you to be successful with recommendations:

1. Achievements. The value of all, some, or one project, in terms congruent with the project’s goal. If the goal was to increase revenue for a category or segment, the achievement should be expressed in terms of revenue.

2. Opportunities. Some projects (or campaigns, or pages, or customer segments, or sites) are performing really well. The solution should observe that there are similar projects not performing well, and let you know the potential value of improving them.

3. Goals and status. Programs, projects and tests have goals, and status should be reported against those goals.

The Dashboard (the solution’s reporting interface) is only one element of communications. It must be very easy to prepare personalized communications for stakeholders around the organization. Executives and project managers need different information; teams only want to see information about their projects or programs; executives may want summaries about the projects in their portfolio. Project and program managers should be able to set a few rules about who sees what, and have reminders automatically sent to people to come take a look at their personal dashboard page.

Without the personal dashboard page, people don’t see all the information they need; they are confused and distracted by information that is not relevant; and they can’t get the summaries and comparisons that are meaningful to them. Lots of mental arithmetic. Lots of phone calls begging for explanations of the irrelevant data. Lots of frustration, and really, let’s not bother to ever look at the “reports” again.

I haven’t found a solution provider that delivers #2. They all sort of deliver #1 and 2, but not with a personalization capability that makes communication effective.

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