Let’s compare the data you gather every day in your company to a smartphone. What makes a smartphone awesome is its connection to the Internet. Without it you wouldn’t be able to use it to find information, check the news, choose the shortest route, write e-mails or use applications – you wouldn’t be able to plan your day or even decide on what to do next. To make the best of your data you must put it in context and connect it to other data. Otherwise it’s like a smartphone without an Internet connection – you can still use it but it won’t give you all the benefits and wouldn’t really make sense. When you fail to communicate data from different sources across the organization and you don’t convey the data in a contextualized and meaningful way, it becomes worthless. To squeeze the value out of data, you must communicate it and in order to communicate it, you must visualize it. In other words you need corporate dashboards. Once you realize the importance of dashboards they will become the focus of your corporate culture.
Why do you actually need business dashboards?
One of the challenges facing companies today is that the data is dispersed across many databases, files, and software. If it’s neither centralized nor the access to it is cross-functional, reports might be often delivered too late and hence become useless. In a business’ life there comes a point where you need to see the bigger picture to make the best decision. The volume of data will be growing and you’ll reach the point when you’ll need a tool which will help you to convert the data into readable structure. That’s when dashboards step in.
Now that you know why something needs to be done, you can proceed to work on outlining what you’d like to be done. Make sure your co-workers share the data-oriented mindset and understand why proper data analytics is so important. To establish data driven decision making in your company every employee needs the insight into business dashboards to be able to draw conclusions from them. However, smart companies know which employees should be granted the highest level of access and the possibility to mold the data. In data-driven companies the access is layered and clearly linked to employee’s role in the project.
Nobody knows the data better as the employees who work in the department from which the data comes from. They know best what data should be scrutinized and what kind of visuals should best represent progress in this particular department.
Creating a dashboard culture: the relevance of gathering and using data
In many companies one of the the most important data sources is usually the spending plan – the budget. To outline predicted income and expenses and thus be able to track actual cash flow and set spending goals, you must follow a lot of metrics. Traffic, Sales, Customer details and other data must be monitored in detail. A customized dashboard will track these for you, so you know not only on what stage you are on the way to realization of your plans, but also what could cause a certain side track from your goals.
Take a moment to review whether the data you collect corresponds to your goals and whether you track the most important metrics. Is it relevant or are you creating vanity metrics that no one really needs? Evaluating the relevance of particular pieces of data is necessary to manage it effectively. In a dashboard culture employees actively reflect on the data gathering process to make the most of their time and efforts.
Being operational, tactical and strategic
State-of-the-art Dashboard software is very functional indeed but it won’t do the business for you. This is where the power of dashboard culture comes in. You have to create habits to review your whole pipeline, your website metrics, your sales KPIs etc. in regular intervals. All people responsible have to update data sources regularly to understand the direction the company is heading and undertake necessary action. Dashboard culture is the culture of team work and joint involvement.
Business dashboards will provide your team with real-time operational data, which can immediately steer your ship in the right direction. Additionally tactical data pertains to your upcoming plan such as the volume of outbound mailing you might need to reach your goal. Once you have all your sources flowing right to your dashboard tool, you’ll be able to have short term and long term charts that are specific for your needs.
How to choose the optimal dashboard provider?
There are a lot of vendors that provide self-service business intelligence tools. The optimal one must have a low cost of deployment, a fast time to launch an easy to use interface and gather all of your data sources in one place. We recommend subscribing for a 14 day free trial to check if our interface fulfills your needs and if it’s the right one to push your business forward. To make it work make sure that the data sources you want to connect to the tool, be that SQL, CSV files, Facebook or Google Analytics, are in their best form. Alert your team that you’re creating a plan to gather and display this data so that the process of data handling goes smoothly on every level in your company.
If you decide to use datapine, you can easily contact our consultants and ask for advice. We can book one-on-one meetings and help you with different types of charts in your dashboard. The core idea behind creating a dashboard culture is getting the right data and making sure it is being used regularly.