Diary 2 – Dashboards v PowerPoint

This mini-series is going to be about problems you or I face during a working day from being a data analyst, data scientist to any data related made up title you have. I have been battling weekly with issues at work and thought I was alone, it wasn’t until a recent tweet of mine where I noticed you are all going through the same thing. So here we go, picture a diary or journal and scruffy handwriting.

Diary 2 05/08/2020 – Making a brilliant dashboard and then it goes in PowerPoint.

I’m sure this is a sore subject for many and I am not quite sure what I think about it yet, you’ve spent hours / days even some weeks pondering over dashboards to then see it end up in a slide deck with screenshots. Is this a bad thing?

Part of me says no, it is great it’s still getting used and seen it’s fine get over it. However the other part of me says yes it is bad – it goes with the battle of analytics on the fly which we are all striving for. The loss of filters, actions, buttons, tool-tips for more information – you lose so much and how will you tell a story? Isn’t that what we are doing – data storytelling?

Powerpoint slide decks only really tell you what is happening, but do not tell you why.

What do you think about it?

One thought on “Diary 2 – Dashboards v PowerPoint

  1. I think this is an interesting problem, it can be quite disheartening to see all of the time and effort you put in to a dashboard (making it interactive and building tooltips that make the data as clear as possible) and seeing that work stripped away. But often powerpoints will be doing a different job to a dashboard. I’ve been asked to build dashboards however after a conversation with the stakeholder it is clear they want a well visualised piece of analysis instead.
    In my eyes well built, interactive dashboards are great for allowing people to explore data, test their own hypotheses and ask their own questions. Many stakeholders however don’t have the time or inclination to do this themselves and they just want answers. Sometimes a more static set of visualisations with comments and explanations are better received. For this recently I’ve found myself building more storyboards rather than interactive dashboards.

    Perhaps the issue of switching to powerpoint is because it is immediately accessible by everyone. There is no setting up of accounts/downloading software. I wonder whether organisations with single sign applications have so much of this issue.


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