A lot has changed since we started using Autotask in 2009. Back then we were a reactive, break/fix organization with seven employees and one office. Today, we are a proactive managed services provider with 40 employees in four offices across three states. In the past 18 months, we’ve made three acquisitions and partnered with an organization with more than 250 employees.
Autotask helped us successfully manage this evolution, and custom dashboards and widgets have been the most impactful and transformative of the platform’s functions.
Why? Think about the explosion of business data since 2009 and then consider our business growth on top of that. That’s a lot of data to not only manage but also optimize for daily operations and work planning.
What dashboard widgets do is draw on that data to create personalized work-planning guidance for individual users. This is very powerful because it cuts through the data explosion and creates actionable, unmistakable guidance for managing work: what needs to be done today, and what to do first, second, third, etc. It’s an at-a-glance plan for optimal productivity and effectiveness, as well as resource utilization.
But getting to that state—which I call Widgetopia—requires a purposeful and planned approach to using widgets.
I’m so personally passionate about Widgetopia that I presented on the topic at Autotask Community Live! 2016.
Here are some of my top tips from that presentation on achieving Widgetopia:
Choose widgets that have a unique and significant purpose for each role: An Autotask user can have up to 20 tabs open on a dashboard and up to 12 widgets on each tab. But don’t add widgets just because you can. The result is dashboard clutter. What you want instead is purposeful widgets that deliver clear, unmistakable cues that drive action.
Dashboards should provide most of the information a user will need daily in one place. It should be clear to users at-a-glance whether they are having a good day or a bad day.
Train and retrain your team on the purpose of each widget. This helps to align your team and keeps productivity high. When we train, we pull up the dashboard and go through the widgets one by one.
Build dashboards that fit your unique organization. Remember that you aren’t just creating widgets. You are fueling the work that drives your organization’s definition of success.
If you’re new to using widgets, I suggest starting with Autotask’s out-of-the box dashboard tabs and widget library. These are going to give you ideas and get you thinking about your dashboard and widget needs for various roles.
One of the best things about Widgetopia is that it is a stress-buster. Having clarity on how to get to success helps anyone get there faster.
Kim Drumm, Operations Manager, ProSource Technologies
Kim Drumm is operations manager at ProSource Technologies, which provides office equipment, document automation, and technology solutions to businesses large and small. Prosource has grown from a print and copy hardware provider to offering a full range of office technology solutions.