In today’s data-driven world, the term “dashboard” is thrown around a lot by businesses. But what’s the purpose of a dashboard and does it make sense for your business to use one?
A business dashboard works in essentially the same way as your car dashboard. When you sit in the driver’s seat of your car, you can immediately see how fast you’re travelling, how much petrol you have left in your tank and more. There’s even a ‘check engine’ light to alert you if something goes wrong with the engine. The dashboard summarises the overall performance of your car in an easy-to-understand way with real-time data visuals.
Just as your car has hundreds of moving parts, so too does your business and these parts all impact on overall performance. The purpose of a business dashboard is to aggregate and extract value from all the data you collect and simplify this into more manageable chunks of visual information. This means you can see what you’re doing right and where you need to improve.
Business dashboards can serve lots of purposes throughout your business and you’ll reap many benefits, including:
- Transparency – Data is a critical asset for any business. But it’s not much good if no one can understand it! A well-designed business dashboard provides on-demand access to all the core metrics of your business.
- Accessibility – A business dashboard gathers data from multiple sources into a single interface. It provides an all-in-one view. This means you can immediately see a detailed overview of your business with one quick glance. Even better, it saves you time by reducing the amount of time it takes to compile reports.
- Accountability – While it’s always good to see what you’re doing right, you also need to understand what you’re doing wrong, so you can take the necessary action to improve your performance. Business dashboards can show you where your trouble areas are and arm you with the information you need to take action.
- Interactivity – The best business dashboards provide a dynamic, customisable experience. Rather than providing static information, you can filter data, drill into the detail, and interact with graphs and charts to see changes over time. This means, as a user, you can see as much or as little detail regarding specific metrics as you want. Whether you’re the CEO of the business, a department head or a member of an operational team, you can see the level of detail you need in order to get your job done and meet your goals.
- Currency – Because business dashboards are driven by real-time (or near real time) data, they are an accurate reflection of what’s going on in a business. You don’t have to wait for weekly or monthly reports to be generated to see what’s happening. This means you can be more agile when making decisions and react quickly should something go wrong.
Every business can benefit from a dashboard or dashboards. When used correctly, they can help you make informed decisions to dramatically improve business performance – which, in turn, impacts your bottom line.