Why Businesses Need to Use a Robust Business Dashboard
As Big Data becomes even bigger, the use of business dashboards has soared. A lot of companies are realizing that by leveraging the advantages of a business dashboard, as they can easily collect and make sense of the available data.
Therefore, companies are starting to invest in dashboards with the hope that the tools will transform their Big Data reservoirs into mountains of actionable insights.
Today, you have way too many metrics to track so dashboards became an invaluable tool that gives businesses the much needed competitive advantage and turn their organization into a powerhouse.
However, to other businesses, dashboards are nothing more that numbers and charts on a nice-looking layout. They don’t get much value from their investments.
So where’s the problem and what’s the difference between the two groups of companies? Is it that the company doesn’t fully exploit the capabilities of the dashboard or is it just because the dashboard does not really have the required features to execute?
One of the most important features of a business dashboard is ease of use. Thus, you will find that in most cases, the reason for poor results (or lack thereof) is the latter: That the dashboard the business invested in doesn’t suit it.
In the following three reasons on why you should invest in a business dashboard, you will also better understand what you need to look for in a business dashboard.
- For Automatic Data Updates
What’s the first thing to look for in a business dashboard? Is it the charting options? An interface that just invites you to look or the many widgets that come with it?
The truth is, while all three are very important aspects of a robust dashboard, you have to look at the essence of the tool: The data. Is it comprehensive or do you lose snippets of the story? Is it delivered automatically or will you have to get someone to religiously update it?
Sometimes it might seem viable to create a dashboard that will require manual updating of the data. But this is a mistake that might end up crippling your dashboard. This is because, first, there’s the obvious loss of time. The second reason is that human is to error and eventually this leads to your dashboard being outdated and inaccurate – the employee could forget or make an input mistake. Oblivious to the errors, you will go ahead and make important business decisions based on the inaccurate data. If the decisions are important enough, this could kill your business.
A good business dashboard will give you automatic feeds allowing you to make informed decisions.
- To Help Get More Value From Data
Data is an important business asset – it’s one of the most important you own. But it’s important for the actionable insights that you can draw from it. Otherwise, it’s just reports and statistics. To make great value from it, you need a dashboard that not only gives automated feeds but also delivers quality data.
As noted above, this data should be complete and accurate. Getting value from it largely depends on how the data is presented or displayed. This include three aspects.
The first is the type of metrics displayed. While having different metrics on different parts of the page might look nice, it doesn’t make sense if most of what you have are vanity metrics. Your business dashboard should be built with a clear understanding of the important metrics to your business at the time and those that are just clutter. The vanity metrics will only waste your time.
One size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to dashboards. There are different departments in your organization with different users who want different data sets. This calls for customization. A robust business dashboard should allow easy customization to give each user access to data they can really use and increase productivity.
The third point lies in how organized the display is. Avinash Kaushik notes that, “If your dashboard does not fit one page, you have a report, not a dashboard.” In dashboards, organization is key. Maintain everything in a single page. A good dashboard should allow easy creation of a tabbed dashboard when you have too much data that needs inclusion. The tabbed dashboard will help you organize your data into categories and in different tabs.
This allows easy navigation and ensures the users are not overwhelmed.
- For Easy Collaboration
A dashboard cannot be effective without involving the team. The efficiency of these tools largely depends on how well different users interact. If you don’t discuss the findings from the data, there is a very small chance that you can come up with actionable insights.
A well-built dashboard enhances inter-departmental activities by giving an unbiased view of the organization’s status quo in terms of performance. Furthermore, it offers common ground for discussion whenever the data elicits a reaction. For instance, the marketing and sales departments need alignment over customer acquisition. The dashboard will provide metrics in a mutually relevant form and act as a platform for brainstorming where they can both come up with necessary steps.
But no one has the time to keep staring at the dashboard in case another department needs them. That’s why it’s important your dashboard of choice will allow setting up of SMS or email alerts. For instance, you can have the dashboard notify you whenever your data threshold drops below or rises above a certain level. The alerts give you real-time data which allows you to address any problems as they arise.
Business dashboards are indispensable tools. With the right dashboard, you could insure your business from impending dangers and expand the profit margins. On the other hand, a poor dashboard could lead to great losses that could even sink the company.
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