Documentation

How it works

1: Create a profile and/or log in. If you see a Create Account link at the top of this page, then you are currently not logged into the site, and probably haven't created a profile yet. Click the link and fill in the profile fields. These fields allow you to benchmark your data against the research. The numbers you enter are for your use only and are not included in the research data for other users of the tool.

Note that this tool has its own login, and your profile here is separate from nten.org—in other words your existing NTEN account will not work here.

2: Compare to others. Go to the My Benchmarks page and apply some filters to define a group to benchmark your organization against. Usually the charts are most useful if you filter out the organizations that are very different from yours.

3: Print and share. When you're happy with your charts, you can print them for sharing with your colleagues, management team, board members, etc..

Filters

The Filters panel allows you to restrict the data used for charting.

When you first go to My Benchmarks, there are no filters applied, so the charts draw from the data for all organizations. Use filters to narrow the data as much as you like. Some experimentation will help you settle on filters that result in meaningful charts.

Note that it is possible to to apply a set of filters that excludes all data. If this happens, the charts will appear empty or not load at all.

Included/excluded data

The My Benchmarks page initially loads charts with all of the available data. Every filter you apply excludes a portion of the data set. If you play with the filters you can see how they affect the charts. This is summarized in the mini pie charts: “Included” is the number of organizations being plotted, and is shown in purple. If you have applied filters, then the mini pie charts will have a medium gray “Excluded by Filters” segment.

Each section of the page has charts that are drawn from the filtered data set. Since the charts can only display valid data points, they may exclude organizations who didn't answer the requisite survey questions. These exclusions are counted in the light gray “Data Not Available” segment of the mini-pie. For example, an organization who did not provide their total staff size will be automatically excluded from the charts in the first section.

Printing

You can print individual charts and put them together to create your own report. Clicking the Print Preview button under any chart will format it for printing: you get a larger version of the customized graph and none of the website navigation or other charts. From there you can print a hardcopy (or print to PDF if your computer has that capability).

Downloading

If you want to see numerical data, or want to create graphs using your own charting tool, you can download the raw data as an Excel (.xls) file. This file includes columns for all the charts, with rows limited by any filters you’ve set. You can find the download link in the Filters panel.

Box charts

A box chart shows how values are distributed within a data set. In this case we're using quintiles: five segments, each representing 20% of the total. They are ordered from the smallest values on the bottom to the largest values at the top.

If a given quintile appears small, that means the organizations in the segment are tightly clustered, with similar values. A large quintile indicates a wider range of values. When you are reading this type of chart, don’t forget that each quintile has the same number of data points!

In the example chart, you can see that the topmost 20% of organizations are quite different from one another, while the bottom 20% are fairly similar. You can also see that the orange dot is near the bottom of the middle 20%.

NTEN Tip: If the quintiles are too small to see, try adjusting the filters so that the values are more spread out.

Scatter plot charts

A scatter plot is a way of displaying the values of two variables, with one dot per organization.

Note that our scatter plot charts use a logarithmic scale. Each step in a logarithmic scale increases by an order of magnitude (e.g. 1, 10, 100, 1000), rather than by a fixed amount as in a linear scale (10, 20, 30, 40).

Scatter plot charts illustrate correlation between the two variables. A pattern of dots that slopes from lower left to upper right suggests a positive correlation (e.g. the more staff you have, the more tech staff you have). If the pattern of dots was to slope from upper left to lower right, it would suggest a negative correlation (e.g. the more cats you have, the less mice you have). On the other hand, if there is no pattern—if you have a smattering of dots that just seem to be everywhere—then there is no correlation to be gleaned from the chart.

When viewing any chart with a correlation, you can imagine a line drawn through the center of the cluster. This is called the trendline. A trendline helps you see which organizations are outliers.

Column charts

The column chart shows a quantitative distribution of data in a number of categories. Our chart compares the median spending level for several categories of technology investment. A median is the midpoint of the data set—so, half of the organizations spend more, and half spend less.

In the example chart, you can see that organizations generally allocate most of their technology budget toward paying people, and the least toward training them.

Pie charts

The pie chart is a circular chart divided into segments that represent portions of the data. It's an especially easy way to see how one segment compares to the whole.

In the example chart you can see that the "Yes" section is larger than "No" and "Unknown" combined.

Tech adoption

NTEN uses this term to refer to an organization's overall approach to technology decision-making. In our survey, we provided the four descriptions below (without labels, to avoid bias) and asked respondents to choose one.

  • We are struggling; we have a failing infrastructure, and our technology time and budget generally go towards creating workarounds, repairing old equipment, and duplicating tasks. (“Struggling”)
  • We keep the lights on; we have basic systems in place to meet immediate needs. (“Functioning”)
  • We keep up; we have stable infrastructure and a set of technology policies and practices. Leadership makes technology decisions based on standard levels according to industry/sector information and gathers input from technology staff/consultant before making final decision. (“Operating”)
  • We’re innovators; we recognize that technology is an investment in our mission, and leadership integrates technology decisions with organizational strategy. Technology-responsible staff are involved in overall strategic planning, helping to craft the future of the organization and the plan for how technology can support that work, both inside the organization and through public-facing technologies. (“Leading”)

See the complete report for more details about this and how survey responses relate.

Tips and troubleshooting

If you would like to see more detail in any chart, try hovering the cursor over it.

If you're having trouble with the charts loading:

  1. Maybe your filters are too restrictive. Check the mini-pie chart in the filter area. No data = no chart.
  2. Try clearing your browser's cache.
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