What is a Business Dashboard and Do We Need Dashboard Software?

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Business dashboards are generating a lot of buzz these days, which may have you wondering whether your organization needs dashboard software.

Without learning about your business we can’t say definitively that it would benefit from dashboard software, but many organizations of all shapes and sizes do. That’s because much in the same way a car dashboard provides the driver with key data about their vehicle, a business dashboard offers its user a wealth of data about various aspects of business performance.

Read on to learn more about this powerful information management tool- including how business intelligence (BI) software might benefit your business. Once you’re finished, you’ll be one step closer to answering the question, “Do we need dashboard software?”

What is a business intelligence dashboard?

Before we explore whether your business needs dashboard software, let’s define what a business dashboard is.

A business intelligence (BI) dashboard is a data visualization tool that consolidates and displays the current status of metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for an organization, department or specific process. With one glance, a dashboard offers the user an array of important business insights. A business dashboard can also be used to define metrics, set performance goals and proactively identify problems.

Types of Business Dashboards

There are two basic types of business dashboards: analytic dashboards and operational dashboards. Often, businesses utilize both types of dashboards- each for a specific purpose.

  • Analytical dashboards
    Analytical dashboards are typically designed to help executives and senior leaders establish targets and goals based on insights from a volume of data collected over time, such as the last month, quarter or year. Furthermore, analytical dashboards help decision makers understand what happened, why it happened, and give them the information they need to implement appropriate changes.
  • Operational dashboards
    Operational dashboards are often leveraged by department managers and front-line workers to monitor key performance indicators and other performance metrics. Operational dashboards give the user the power to drill through current information, get alerts, and identify potential operational issues as they happen.

Top 6 Ways Dashboard Software Can Benefit Your Organization

The right dashboard software can be an effective tool that helps:

  1. Drive Fact Based, Real-time Decision Making
    Dashboards offer clear, colorful graphic user interfaces that help users easily understand and evaluate complex data- which drives fact based, real-time decision making.
  2. Make Data More Valuable
    Data is one of the most valuable assets an organization has, but leveraging it is often time-consuming and costly. A well-designed dashboard can give every organization member the opportunity to gain insights that help them perform their job better.
  3. Consolidate Data
    Business dashboards provide real-time data analytics on one screen, saving you the time and frustration of flipping between screens, digging through databases, or signing into multiple analytics applications.
  4. Provide an Objective View of Performance
    Dashboards provide an easy to understand, objective view of current performance and can effectively serve as a foundation for further dialogue. For instance, sales and marketing need alignment over the customer acquisition process. Dashboards can surface metrics that are relevant to each team in a way that is mutually understandable.
  5. Give You the Big Picture
    An effective dashboard provides a complete snapshot of every important metric the user needs to make informed decisions, including real-time metrics and key performance indicators frommultiple data sources, markets and departments.
  6. Reveal Problem Areas
    Powerful dashboards not only report historical and real-time data, they also offer insight into possible problem areas so stakeholders can handle challenges proactively. Workers who use dashboards often feel empowered, make better decisions and handle difficult problems at the source as they arise.

5 Signs You Might Need Dashboard Software

  1. You sense that your company could be improving, but you have no idea how to tell for sure — or figure out exactly how you could be improving.
    You believe data may help your organization, but like many decision makers you don’t know what data you should be collecting or how to get to your data- let alone how to move forward with it in a meaningful way. A good data reporting software vendor can not only provide you with the tools to access and analyze your data, but train you in how to use them to your best advantage.
  2. You’re monitoring and/or gathering data, but the buck stops there.
    Maybe you’ve started to collect data you think is meaningful, but “Now what?” It isn’t uncommon for us to meet with leaders who say they’ve a wealth of data, but they don’t know how to make sense of it or how to leverage it to their advantage. The right data reporting solution can take you beyond these challenges and into the improvement process.
  3. You’re wasting a lot of time trying to create tools to help you leverage your data.
    Perhaps you already realize the right business intelligence software can benefit your organization, but you’ve been fighting it because you fear the price tag, the research involved in vetting a solution, or even the change process associated with implementing one. So you or your staff stubbornly slave away creating Excel spreadsheets and the like that might accomplish in days or weeks (if you’re lucky) what a data reporting solution can tackle in minutes.
  4. Your current solution isn’t giving you the ROI you need.
    Did you buy BMC Remedy, CA Service Desk Manager, Front Range Heat, HP Service Manager, Service Now, or a similar solution to achieve your BI goals, only to discover that you struggle morewith it than without? There are many great BI products out there, but the problem with a lot of the solutions on the market today is that they require a wealth of IT expertise (such as Crystal Reports proficiency, for starters) just to get the most basic BI work done- and that comes at a price many companies can’t afford.
  5. Your competitors are leaving you behind in a trail of e-dust.
    Although this sign appears last, it is ultimately the most important one. After all, people are in business to make money, and you certainly can’t do that if your competition is always one step ahead of you. Are you losing old customers or new deals because your competitors can offer faster times to close (TTCs) on service tickets, mobile BI during customer meetings and more? The right data reporting solution can help you stay informed, relevant, competitive and alive.

 

Author : Anusha Kannan

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