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The Dashboard Master

Daryl Tan, Assistant Manager, Strategic Planning, ISCA

Meet some of the 100 minds shaping ISCA’s future. Each staff, with his/her unique skills and perspectives, contributes to the collective effort. This series shares insights into some of the day-to-day happenings at ISCA House. Read on and stay tuned for more.

“Hi, my name is Daryl (or better known as the “ISCA police”), from the Strategic Planning team within the CEO’s office. My role was newly created as part of the Institute’s move towards harnessing data to make faster and better decisions.

I joined ISCA a year ago, entering a newly set-up department where I was the only member. At that time, we were heavily reliant solely on Excel, resulting in many duplications of department data and statistics. The management had no visibility of the progress of all our initiatives, and compiling the necessary statistics took considerable time. Hence, ISCA embarked on a journey to build dashboards which can provide the management team with a comprehensive view of ISCA’s operations and activities.

The implementation would not have been successful if it had been a one-department job. Our HR department had organised an inhouse PowerBI and data analytics workshop to train the heads of department and team leads, imparting knowledge on how to build dashboards. This alleviated the fear that it was a daunting task, encouraging departments to take ownership of their own dashboards.

At the point when I joined, every department had set up its own dashboard, but they still fell short of the expectations of the management team. We had to run many sessions of PowerBI clinics with the departments to finetune their dashboards. Fast forward one year, I find myself joking with colleagues that my “clinic” is still running but I have fewer “patients”, because building dashboards is now in the DNA of the respective departments.

For me, a typical day at work revolves around looking through these dashboards to track the key performance indicators (KPIs) of each department and ensuring that the Institute is on the right path to succeed. We have 18 strong teams in ISCA running the daily operations, and I engage with every single one of them on a regular basis (some would say it’s too regular 😊) to ensure that their work is on track to meet their targets. This spans from checking if the Institute is on course to hit revenue targets, to understanding the latest membership movement data, and the tracking of member satisfaction levels – everything is accessible through the dashboards.

Let me share more about how dashboards can bring real benefits with an example. Monitoring member satisfaction levels allows us to adjust services in real time, which enhances the overall member experience and ensures that members receive the highest levels of service and support. In addition, dashboards help me track productivity. By monitoring and tracking the KPIs closely, I can see who are meeting their goals and who might need a little extra support. This is important especially as we have a flexible work arrangement. This way, we can monitor productivity closely and help to build trust among the teams. It’s not about where our staff work, it’s about how productive we are. Using the data from the dashboards, I do a monthly report for Fann (CEO Fann Kor), to update her on the progress of each department. This process helps ISCA anticipate challenges and opportunities in the industry. By analysing trends and forecasting future demands, we can better prepare ISCA to navigate changes and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

Apart from the tracking and monitoring of KPIs, I also take on the role of a storyteller. It is not surprising to be called into Fann’s room and be handed a few pieces of paper with sketches illustrating her inspirations. I will then translate these sketches and data into the many sets of presentation slides that you see during various ISCA sharing sessions and at the AGM. The key challenge for me is to understand almost every aspect of ISCA’s operations, so that I can develop engaging slides to capture the audience’s attention, and deliver a good story about ISCA and about our work. To date, the shortest turnaround time I’ve had was just 30 minutes – to prepare a deck of slides for Fann to present during a stakeholder meeting (imagine my shock! – but, having been here a year, I now take it in my stride).

When my friends ask me what it is that I do at work, I joke about being a “glorified sai-kang warrior”, that is, I am involved in a wide range of tasks and activities, all to support the organisation. But jokes aside, this is also what I enjoy about my role – getting a bird’s eye view of the organisation’s operations and performance, connecting the dots through data, and, ultimately, enabling the management team to proactively manage problems through data-driven decisions instead of reacting to them.”

Next week, meet Melissa Wu, who has lots to share about the evolution of the Singapore Chartered Accountant Qualification (SCAQ), and ISCA’s initiatives to ensure its relevance in a constantly changing business environment.

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