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12 - Data Integration
12 - Data Integration

Easy to Learn, Hard to Master

Creating insights that immediately grab the attention of the end-user, in a positive way, and inform them of the most important and relevant information is difficult. On the one hand, end-users might have demands regarding the look and feel of the dashboard and the chart types that are being used. This rarely leads to a positive outcome. On the other hand, designers try to be either too concise or too long-winded in creating their dashboards and placing their widgets. Not to forget the understandability of the widgets and dashboard itself e.g. the storytelling that you are trying to accomplish.

For our designers, we have created a Dashboard Handbook to support them in creating the best-looking and easy-to-understand dashboards. We use two frameworks to support designers in doing the groundwork for designing our dashboards; The 4 W’s and GPS.

The 4 W’s

The 4 W’s help you focus on your audience and determine what the best way is to deliver the relevant insights to your end-users. The 4 W’s are Who, What, When and Where. As a company serving elderly care homes, I will explain our 4 W’s as follows;

Who…   Doctors, Nurses, Practitioners, HR, Finance


What… → Patient, Ward, Measurements, Treatment

When… → Real-time, daily refresh, weekly refresh, monthly refresh


Where… → Dashboard, Email-report, Pulse Notification, Slack/Teams, Google Slides/Sheets

Example: A nurse needs an overview of all patients on a ward, three times a day (8:00, 13:00, and 16:00). They need to print and hand it out, thus using an email report is the most usable medium for the nurses to consume data.

Designers tend to think dashboards are the only way to bring insights to their end-users. However, with Sisense this is not the case. To really let end-users use data in their day-to-day, we need to figure out what they need, when they need it, and where they want to get their data.

For example; in our own environment 60-70% of our end-users have never logged into Sisense. We ‘push’ the insights to them when they need it. The majority of are email reports, however messages to Teams are becoming more and more frequent.

The remaining 30-40% are data-savvy users. These users want to interact with the data, click on it, filter it, and analyze it. The best way to serve these users is with dashboards. However, as mentioned before, designing a dashboard is easy to do, but hard to master. Since we started using GPS we were able to design dashboards quicker, easier to understand, and goal-driven.

GPS focuses on the Goal, Problem, and Solution. A goal of an end-user could be that they would like to reduce the number of incidents. The problem is that they only know the number of incidents. No additional information is known. The solution would then be to give insights into where, when, and how those incidents take place. The GPS method can be used on both a dashboard and widget level. Creating a hierarchy of widget-GPS’ that is a solution to the dashboard-GPS