The answer lies in decisions driven by the intuitiveness and presentation of the data.
Spreadsheets, charts, graphs and simulation tools are helpful but, more than any other, this need has led to the rise of business dashboards.
Dashboards to Visualise DataYou might be wondering what are dashboards, the purpose they serve and whether you need one.
The term ‘dashboard’ originates from the automobile instrument cluster that allows drivers to view different sets of information at a glance.
Business dashboards are analytical tools to visualise data across industries.
They show the most important metrics and key performance indicators for better decisions and situational understanding.
Dashboards can provide real-time results by aggregating and extracting value from data collected.
This data is now placed in a more manageable and visually appealing format.
Many different parts impact business performance and by presenting this real-time data in a visual format, it is immediately easier to view the performance of an organisation, team or project and pinpoint if something is wrong.
Benefits of DashboardsDashboards can help save a lot of time since manual tasks require sifting through huge amounts of data and reporting.
This can be done by creating a visual platform that allows you to automate tasks and help you get more time to analyse the data.
Structuring the data and processes is very important to the success of a dashboard so make sure that it is displays the exact data and is properly maintained.
Decision-Making: For a professional to gain the best insights into data and analyse it properly, they need to identify the things to act upon and streamline workflow.
Dashboards gather data from multiple sources and combines them in a single interface for a detailed overview of the business while reducing reporting time.
Interactive: Dashboards not only make work faster but also afford more versatility.
They can be dynamic and interactive, allowing you to use filters or interact with charts and make changes.
You can view the data that best suits your needs, monitor, create and use storytelling to understand and explain the data represented.
Trendspotting: Dashboards are beneficial to any organisation, big or small, that wishes to track data and stay on track with goals.
Whether looking to improve your business or beat competitors, dashboards show how you can use data to your advantage.
An interesting benefit is the appealing format helps you and others track success and gamifies improvement.
Different Dashboards and UsersYou can customise your dashboards in a number of ways and purposes.
With results driven by data and algorithms at the backend, dashboards are far more than simple data presentation tools.
A dashboard can be interactive and outline, assist and evaluate decision-making.
A dashboard is typically used at three levels — laypeople, decision makers and people at the C-suite level.
The reason for using a dashboard at each level differs.
As a layperson booking flight tickets, a dashboard can help compare the information from multiple airlines and timings, giving a summary that allows the person to come to a quick and informed decision.
This might be a simple example but when comparing three complex spreadsheets, the benefits become even more obvious.
Operational Dashboards allow executives to know where they stand, providing updates on daily operations and help understand performance in a comprehensive and detailed manner.
Analytical Dashboards allow users to extrapolate and make sense of trends to better identify decisions.
Interacting with data in this manner requires a higher level of expertise given the understand of the business required.
Strategic Dashboards allow decision makers to present key information that acts as determinants to decisions in an appropriate fashion or track the performance of your business based on key performance indicators.
Dashboards should also allow the decision maker to try out a ‘What If’ scenario.
For example, a product in a region can be governed by five items.
In case of limited resources, a dashboard allows a decision maker or strategy maker to simulate a scenario where they can modify one aspect to maximise returns.
Scenarios such as these assist making extrapolations from data without going into technicalities.
ConclusionWith more transparency, dashboards are more accessible and understandable and organisations can use them as a starting point or foundation for decision-making.
By following the right guidelines, organisations of any size can efficiently analyse and evaluate performance and make well-informed decisions.
However, simple though it might appear, dashboarding is a skill that can require both design and technical expertise to accomplish effectively so consider a specialist if required.
What do you think makes an effective executive dashboard?.Let me know in the comments below.
Ashok Tamhankar is a startup enabler who is passionate about simplifying technology for everyday use.
You can contact him on amtrevisited@gmail.