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BustedThe Mythbusters probably have one of the most fun jobs in the entire world. They take common myths and accepted wisdoms and put them to the test, and usually get to blow up something in the name of science.

So how can we bring a little of that fun into what we do…without all the clean up of scraping chicken parts off the windshield of an airplane?

We think there is often a level of “mythbusting” when it comes to business intelligence. Sometimes, these revelations can be painful (as in, “wow, we’ve been doing this wrong this entire time”) but they can also validate a business move that might have been questioned, or even show new ways to increase profitability or efficiency. Here are three examples of BI mythbusting that we’ve come across recently from our own clients:

1. Busted! “Candidate Source X is better than Y.”

In a lot of staffing/recruiting companies, there is often contention about what sources send the most (and best) candidates. An employee of one client called us to compliment this mythbusting dashboard, Candidate Source:

Candidate Source Dashboard

Demo of Candidate Source Dashboard

 

The employee said that for a long time, he was the only one who thought that Source Y was bringing in more candidates, more efficiently, than Source X. But he could never prove it because their data wasn’t being captured correctly. Now with the Candidate Source Dashboard, he had the proof he needed to tell everyone else at his company that they were wrong and he was right: Source Y not only brought in more candidates, but also displayed a higher conversion rate. Not only did that make him feel vindicated, obviously, but now the entire company was on board about mining this neglected source for great candidates to grow their business.

2. Busted! “I brought in the best job order this month.”

A manager called us laughing about an exchange that had happened in his office. One of his hot shot Sales guys was bragging about bringing in a big job order. In fact, it was one of the biggest that month, well into the tens of thousands, and certainly worth being happy about.

However, the manager turned to another mythbusting dashboard, the Job Order Dashboard:

Job Order Dashboard

Demo of Job Order Dashboard

 

See that big red dot? That’s the Job Order he referenced. Sure, it’s high on the y-axis, meaning it’s valuable, but a) the size of the dot shows that a lot of effort has gone into it so far, and b) the red coloring means that it has stalled momentum. Momentum is the number of activities completed on this Job Order in the last 10 business days. Clicking on it shows:

Stalled Job Order

So it seems this Job Order had zero momentum and no matter how large a Job Order is, you’re not going to close it unless you get some movement on related activities like interviews, send outs, etc. Instead of reaping praise for his work, the hot shot was reminded that he had better get cracking on this one.

Of course, without this insight, the job order might have been lost altogether. This screen is a mythbuster, but it also keeps important jobs from slipping through the cracks.

3. Busted! “Team North wins over South and West.”

Maybe it’s not purely a numbers game in Staffing. Maybe quality matters as much, or more, as quantity. One of the teams of a client learned this the hard way in the last year. See, Team North saw a ton of Placements come in; all throughout the year, they saw their Job Orders being filled left and right. Both Team South and Team West weren’t keeping up with them in pure numbers. So Team North wins, right?

Well, here’s the Bookings (By Team) Dashboard:

Bookings By Team Dashboard

Demo of Bookings By Team Dashboard

 

Busted! Team North definitely blew out the others in number of Placements made, but lost in terms of Total Placement Value. The average Placement values were higher for the other teams and they ultimately brought in more revenue for the company. Who’s got bragging rights now?

This data, like the others, wasn’t easy for the company to see before InsightSquared. They had to pull multiple reports and combine them into a hefty Excel. Now, these dashboard are always on, always available, and updated automatically. With instant access to company metrics like this, it’s no wonder our BI software is starting to be known by our clients as the Mythbuster.

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Samuel Clemens
Sam is founder and chief of product & marketing for InsightSquared. Previously, Sam was VP Product at HubSpot, VP Product at BzzAgent, and on the founding team at Elance.com. His background also includes venture capital with Greylock Partners, the Algorithms group at Amazon.com, and management consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton. Sam has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Applied Math from Yale. In his off time he dives shipwrecks in the New England area.
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  • Visualization Reporter

    Business intelligence needs some sort of organizational setting that the data mashup brings to the table

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