Broadening Access to Analytics – Blue Dashboard 3.0 – A Q&A with Explorance’s Long Hua

Written by Lorcan Archer, Explorance.

Blue Dashboard 3.0 Screenshot

This week saw the release of the Blue Dashboard Version 3.0. This is a major update, representing both a rebranding and significant expansion of what this powerful tool can provide for users of Blue – Explorance’s Experience Management (XM) platform.

Previously known as the Blue Instructor Feedback Dashboard (IFD), the Blue Dashboard represents an impressive provision of access to response data and analytics, ensuring even more stakeholders are able to access meaningful data in any organization – be it a Higher Education institution or corporate business.

This blog post will outline exactly what changes users can expect as well as the major expansion to data accessibility that this update delivers.

With insight from Long Hua, VP Product Manager, Blue Analytics at Explorance, we’ll first note the new changes, and then dive into the motivations behind them.

What’s new in Blue Dashboard 3.0?

  • Aggregate Dashboard – A new module called the Aggregate Dashboard becomes the space to analyze results at the organizational unit level. With core statistics, trend analyses, breakdowns, and smart confidentiality filtering, stakeholders in every level of the organization can safely explore and make data driven decisions in one feedback friendly environment.
  • Individual Dashboard – The existing module of Instructor Feedback Dashboard (IFD) has been renamed as the Individual Dashboard and is still the primary dashboard viewed by instructors. The responses displayed in this module belong to the courses taught by a specific instructor, who is also the dashboard viewer.
  • Dynamic Role Access for Aggregate Feedback Dashboards – To ensure Aggregate Dashboard users only access relevant data according to their function or role, you may incorporate your organizational roles and governance rules in the Blue Aggregate Dashboard. Users belonging to a specific org unit will only be able to access that unit and that sub-unit’s data, if users change positions and roles within the organization, their access to relevant data will change dynamically.
  • Data Selection button – In addition to the filters of the analysis menu bar, the data selection function supports more powerful filtering capabilities, such as complex filters, exclusion of certain records, selecting data from secondary hierarchy instead of primary hierarchy, with visual representations of the organizational hierarchies.
  • More statistics are supported in the dashboard – Dashboards now also support median, interpolated median, and % favorable statistics. The Blue administrator now has the option to choose which statistics are available to the end users.
  • Enhanced Breakdown functionality – Blue Dashboard now allows the breakdown across multiple fields, i.e. comparing breakdown attributes across the dimensions of course, instructor or respondent.
  • Enhanced time range and selected time period (i.e. anchor time period) – An agile way for end users to navigate through large datasets, the users can now easily looks at the data by switching the focus of multiple time scales.
  • Enhancing course list page – This page has been enhanced to allow sorting on question group and sorting on course names so that a user can quickly identify the best performing or worst performing courses.
  • Preserve dashboard user access after the dashboard is updated. – To lighten the system administrator’s work, the dashboard has implemented a mechanism that will preserve a user’s access to the dashboard even after the dashboard has been upgraded.
  • Enhancing individual dashboard access page to support filters on instructor demographics – Blue administrators can now select a group of instructors from a specific organization unit and assign them access to individual dashboards by leveraging the newly supported filters.

Hi Long! With the release of Blue Dashboard, can you generally introduce us to what this tool provides for Blue users?

Long: Hi Lorcan. Essentially, Blue Dashboard provides analytics to stakeholders at every level of an organization. We have achieved that through use of a new module, combined with our pre-existing module.

The main reason that we’ve opted for the ‘Blue Dashboard’ label now is because this service can now serve a broader audience, in fact the whole spectrum of users in either an academic or corporate organization.

This new release provides the ability to really understand the data as a hierarchical organization and distribute the right data to the right audience. This is a whole new approach to data distribution and this is what Blue Dashboard represents.

What would you highlight as the most important aspects of this update?

Long: I would really point to the Aggregate Dashboard. It is the centerpiece of the release, and the result has been great – all the information is integrated within that dashboard.

Now, when you log in, let’s say as an Executive Manager in Enterprise, or as a provost in Higher Education – based on your data governance rights – and you can access the data attributed to your role. Then, you can do a lot of things in terms of insight discovery.

I would also highlight the Individual Dashboard. This includes the enhancement of data comparison across dimensions – or different sets of available fields. We used to be only able to compare in an individual sense, such as comparing between myself and my own department or between Course A and Course B.

Now, we go deeper with comparisons – let’s say concurrently assessing a student gender bias study with the average score of the school and department. Now, you can leverage all three dimensions, and see that visually displayed. With this release, we can achieve that comparison and make the insight discovery process more agile.

The other key thing about Blue Dashboard 3.0 is that the whole interface is built for a mainstream user. You really do not need any sort of training or background in analytics – anyone can use this. That’s the kind of design we’ve gone for. We approached this with the requirement in mind: “It has to be easy to use,” for tech savvy or non-tech savvy users. The discovery aspect of exploring the data had to be simple.

What stakeholders are being welcomed into the analytics environment with this release?

Long: Blue Dashboard is set to provide access and use of analytics for everyone. It’s not limited to top-level leadership. We can serve an audience across the spectrum.

What kind of organizations do you see this being particularly appealing to?

Long: We’re confident that Blue Dashboard 3.0 offers a lot for both Higher Education and corporate users. Our team have done a lot of work with different use cases.

Ultimately Blue Dashboard 3.0 represents an excellent and highly flexible analytic approach, especially for those organizations that are already using the Blue Experience Management (XM) platform.

What does this update represent in terms of visual changes?

Long: In addition to the major changes outlined above, users will notice we did a lot of granular updating in regards to how information is presented. It is a major release, similar to the recent release of Blue 8.0, and in that respect users will note a general update in terms of the overall user experience.

Some users of Blue are still using Blue 7 due to ongoing commitments and projects. Will the functionality of Blue Dashboard 3.0 be extended to them?

Long: Yes, we’re happy to report that Blue Dashboard 3.0 functions just as well on Blue 7 as Blue 8, although we would strongly recommend using the latest version of Blue 7 – that being Blue 7.2.1.

I would also note that even with all this new functionality, if you feel you are not ready to leverage any of these new features at the moment, simply use it as you did previously. All the pre-existing functionality is preserved, and similarly, no action is required on your end to activate any new aspects of the Blue Dashboard. We would recommend you check your current settings after deployment on October 19 to build your familiarity with the new features.

There’s a huge amount of analytic information now available. To what extent can users customize what’s presented to them?

Long: In terms of customizing what kind of questions can be grouped together, or making use of portions of data sets, that’s something that we’ve already delivered in previous versions, so users can make full use of that to focus on the information they’re most interested in.

I would say that there is a huge increase in functionality, and so I would encourage users to reach out to both Customer Success Managers and the Professional Services team to get the very best out of this new release.

Finally, I would encourage any client to try these new aspects out yourself and explore them!

Thanks for taking us through this important update, Long!

Long: My pleasure.


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Long Hua HeadshotAbout Long:

Long is VP Product Manager, Blue Analytics at Explorance. He has been a valued member of the Explorance team for over 15 years and has been at the heart of the development and delivery of multiple Explorance products and updates over that period of time.

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