Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Dashboards are tools that give quick, up-to-date information about the most important aspects of your company. They’re able to do this because they’re constructed around a company’s key performance indicators (KPIs), which are found through analysis of a company’s objectives and processes. Basically, they’re a visual presentation of your most vital data.
Named after the dashboards on vehicles, business dashboards receive data and quickly relay important information to you. When you’re on a road trip you don’t have to pop the hood to see if you have enough gas, or take a wild guess at whether or not you’re driving the speed limit. Your vehicle keeps track of this important data let’s you know if anything is wrong so you can fix it by filling up on gas or easing up on the pedal. Business dashboards act in much the same way. They’ll alert you if something needs your attention.
Unlike vehicle dashboards, business dashboards can also show you trends of what is happening by using leading indicators. Leading indicators help you judge your company’s performance and outlook by using KPIs, and they’ll let you know if you’re en route to achieving your goals. For example, a series of positive reviews (a leading indicator) could signal greater customer satisfaction, which might suggest future revenue growth or profit. And if all these reviews came from a certain source, this might lead you to focus on a specific aspect of the market that was previously untapped. Dashboards can help you see this future potential.
Reports are great too, but they’re generally known as a lagging indicator. They can give you some pretty vital information about your current bottom line, but utilizing them to learn about the future of your business requires additional effort. Also, if something were to go wrong it would take you much longer to find out what was happening if you were only using reports. A dashboard could give you an idea of what was happening right away so you could begin focussing on a remedy without all the extra labour.
But things move a lot faster in the world of business than they used to, and so having a tool that keeps you consistently up-to-date on the most important aspects of your company can be a game-changer. Sometimes there isn’t time to wait around for a long report, sift through the details, and then make a decision about what’s wrong or right. You wouldn’t take your car in for a full diagnostic when your dashboard is telling you to simply add gas or oil. Business dashboards can give you a way to act faster; they also give you all this information in one place.
Dashboards are customized to give up-to-the-minute information on the most important aspects of your company. They do this by constantly monitoring and updating the metrics of your company’s data. That’s how you’re able to tell if something is wrong or right immediately. A problem with your business is like a problem with anything else—it’s best to catch it early and act fast; dashboards let you do this.
Dashboards are also built so that all your information is accessible in one location. This visual representation of your company’s analytics saves you the time of flipping through reports and comparing information to see where you’re at. Dashboards put it all in front of you, and being able to quickly compare your key numbers all in one place often allows for better business insights.
Creating and consolidating reports and data from tons of different spreadsheets can be a big waste of time for any business owner or employee. The people who are creating and sifting through these reports likely have duties that are much more valuable to the company. Scraping data together is a bad use of people’s time. Dashboards can eliminate this hassle because they have the ability to automatically sort, process, and update your company’s data, which frees up you and your employees to do more important work.
Dashboards can also provide savings in a way that’s harder to quantify. Basically, they can help you recognize both problems and opportunities sooner. The speed with which dashboards give you information can not only minimize losses and mitigate negative trends, it can tip you off to potential gains.
In short, if you want an incredibly convenient way to view your company’s most vital information, plus access to a tool that’s going to quickly flag issues and help you take advantage of positive trends, a dashboard might be exactly what you’re looking for.
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