Dashboards & Decision Making: A Glimpse of What Shiny Can Do

Posted on Nov 7, 2016

Executives and business managers need to make decisions all the time and they have to do it quickly to stay ahead of the competition. On a day-to-day basis, they need to figure out whether to roll out that new product in the pipeline, or to continue running last month’s marketing campaigns, or to sign that joint venture deal with a foreign partner to open a new store in Myanmar. The impact of the choices they make and their timing affect the company’s success.

This underscores the requirement that a robust data-driven decision-making process be in place. I have created an executive dashboard prototype that addresses executives’ and managers’ pain points.


Target Users and Pain Points

Business executives and managers are always on the go. Business trips locally and internationally mean they have to have access to information on their mobile devices. This platform needs to be simple and robust enough so they can use it while they are traveling for business, especially to emerging markets where Internet connectivity is slower and international roaming data plans costly.

Unfortunately, most platforms available in the market are very expensive, difficult to use, and unnecessarily convoluted. Many times, users need to access multiple platforms (financial, marketing, supply chain, product development) to get a good picture of what is going on in the company. Loading the app also takes time because the information loaded is not streamlined.

More importantly, it contains pertinent information about the business and market trends.


Considering that the goal of these executives and managers is to maximize the company’s revenues, the executive dashboard should provide them with fundamental key performance indicators (KPIs) to make decisions faster and better.

Shiny Solution

In this prototype, Starbucks' data will be used to show how target users can benefit from a Shiny app.

Revenues Tab

This chart gives the users a quick view of how the company is doing financially.  In just a few clicks, the executive can see the revenue growth rate trend of the company over the past 6 years. There is also an option to view it quarterly. For Starbucks, the trend appears to be positive. Its annual sales revenues have been increasing year-on-year.


Regional Market Tab

The ability to see how each market performs and to compare them with one another is essential, especially for global brands like Starbucks. Starbucks groups its operations in 3 different geographic regions: the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and China and Asia Pacific (CAP). The 4th chart shows the consolidated sales growth rate for all 3 regions. Immediately, the Starbucks executive can see that, even if overall the global sales growth rate has been increasing, EMEA is not contributing to global growth. There is no need to initiate a long arduous process of manipulating financial data.


Transactions Tab

Understanding the dynamics of pricing and quantity in delivering stores' sales growth is very helpful in terms of setting targeted pricing strategy. In this chart, the executive can see how customers in each market behave differently.


Feel free to check the Shiny app prototype here.


Considerations for Decision Making

  • multiple platforms are expensive and hard to maintain.
  • a single, easy-to-access dashboard can be developed for executives & managers.
  • the KPI dashboard should be limited to the top 5 metrics that are most relevant for decision making
  • the app must be mobile-friendly to promote regular usage and data-driven business decision-making

Business Insights for using the Shiny App

  • enter international markets by leveraging your brand
  • explore expansion in China & Asia Pacific
  • balance in managing sales volume and sales price by region to achieve an optimal, sustainable level of sales growth

Future Work

  • explore mobile compatibility of using GoogleVis instead of ggplot2 for graphic
  • add stock market data for SBUX

About Author

Chris Valle

Chris is a Digital Strategy Manager and Marketer who, for 10 years, has been combining her data-driven insights and customer-centric marketing strategies to grow her clients' business. Her forte is monetizing digital and mobile channels to drive international...
View all posts by Chris Valle >

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