DPI - 6 September 2023

The most creative agency of the Netherlands embraces data

Communication agency DPI wants to use data to get a better grip on its operations. Mahout developed an actionable dashboard to provide insight into planning, project progress, and more.


Strategic doers and creative thinkers

DPI is a full-service communication agency focused on designing offline and online communications – including Mahout’s visual identity and website. A busy company full of strategic doers and creative thinkers. But also with a desire for more data-driven decision-making. Mahout create insight into DPI’s operations with an intuitive steering information dashboard.

All the data, no insight

Whether the final product is a 3D animation or website, DPI keeps track of the status of all its projects in the same CRM system. It stores each project’s finances, task division, time tracking and progress. While this provides rich data, the CRM system did not provide the right visualizations with the right cross-sections to deliver actionable insights. An intuitive overview with key KPIs was missing, as well as relevant benchmarks and development over time. All the more reason for an action-oriented steering information dashboard!

"There’s data analysts who look at data, and there’s data analysts who understand data. Mahout belongs to the second category."

Hank Smiet


Define, design, develop…

But translating data into insights doesn’t start with building a dashboard. A good dashboard starts at the drawing board. That’s why we first talked to end users to work out what the need for steering information exactly consists of. And to frequently challenge: what kind of actions are you going to take based on this information? How are you going to use this graph to make decisions? This definition phase is crucial to ensure that the dashboard ultimately delivers real added value and therefore becomes a structural part of the way of working.

Then on to the design phase: a mock-up of the dashboard to test its usability. Here we chose three different screens, each focusing on one of the three main user groups: board members, team leaders and project managers. With visualizations at the right level of detail that give the different users the insights most relevant to their work.

Time to roll up our technical sleeves! In the develop phase, a pragmatic approach was important to DPI. Not an extensive data warehouse, but a flexible and cost-effective solution. Therefore, we set up a cloud solution with an API connector that directly links the online CRM system to Power BI. On this scalable foundation, we built a Power BI dashboard in DPI’s own online environment, with data refreshed every morning.

"The introduction of this dashboard will be a real celebration!"

Eric Kerstholt


…and deliver!

How do you make sure a new dashboard really takes off within the organization? To kickstart a durable embedding in the organization, we organized an interactive training to present the dashboard and show the end users around in its use. Where do you find the most important financial information about your team at a glance? Which filters do you use to quickly find an answer to your question about a particular project?

By using it themselves, the users quickly discovered the added value of the dashboard for their own work. In addition, such a joint session also creates a shared sense of responsibility: now that all information is visible to all users, everyone also has a role in ensuring that the data is correct and up to date. For example: the more recent the time registration is, the more accurate the predictions of turnover and the realized hourly rate.

Inspiration for the future

After the training has ended, new questions resound here and there: can we also add this and this data? Shall we operationalize our targets even further? Wouldn’t it be great if we could predict the course of certain projects? Such a response is the best gift we as Mahout can receive. Because it shows that the flywheel has been cranked, on the way to an increasingly data-driven organization.

Ready to go from data to insights?

Viola Neumann
Data Strategist
+31 6 573 959 14
Ready to go from data to insights?


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