Have you ever thought about using business intelligence (BI) to rally around a common goal? Sometimes a bit of out-of-the-box thinking can make a difference.
My daughter’s school has several fund-raisers every year, but the biggest is the “Ladies Basket Raffle.” Volunteers spend several months gathering donations and putting together hundreds of baskets filled with prizes. Attendees then purchase and use auction tickets to try and win the basket(s) of their choice.
Two years ago, the school used a laptop, LCD projector, and an Excel spreadsheet to put the winning numbers up on the side wall of the gym. Apparently, a display like that was a first in the area and the attendees loved it. Being a technologist, I thought that the simplicity of displaying the data naturally lent itself to a dashboard.
Now, I’m in no way a graphic designer, but this simple dashboard, built in about 90 minutes, is a great example of the flexibility and power of business intelligence tools.
While it may seem gimmicky, the real hit of the dashboard was the raffle thermometer, which highlighted when the raffle proceeds were over a certain threshold. Using publicly available add-ons for my dashboarding tool, I created the thermometer in a few minutes. The dashboard also scrolled the current raffle prize amount along the top—that really helped build excitement and drive the crowd to keep buying raffle tickets! In the center was a large font number that displayed the current winning auction ticket number. Both the auction ticket and raffle numbers were entered in the small label/text entry box at the bottom of the dashboard.
The feedback was truly humbling for me—everyone loved it! With only those two text boxes, data entry was a breeze. And that meant that I could take a break during the drawings, while someone else entered the numbers!! Easy to use and repeatable? Sounds like good BI to me. And like any good BI project, we were already thinking of enhancements by the end of the night.
BI can be used as a rally point, if there’s a smart use for it. Make sure you’re building it to help and not hinder your goal. If you do—and if you’re lucky—maybe you can put that creativity (and some BI) to good use and help a worthy cause.