What Are Dashboards?

Dashboards are visualizations of your businesses’ behavior, health, and activities that excel at showing complex information in a simple way. They display incoming data from many different programs (eg, Google Analytics, SalesForce, Survey Monkey) and data warehousing systems.
 
Well-designed dashboards always tell a story, and if you are in the analytics industry, you know how important it is for that narrative to be represented in a clear, visual way. Dashboards show where there may be issues and why those issues exist. They can also show predictions and help steer your decision-making in the right direction.
 
When dashboards are fully built out and used as a central place for information sharing, they show insights into your data and give you a behind-the-curtain look into your business. Anyone from analysts to managers should be interacting with the data of your entire business in one single location so you can have a more holistic view of your business.
 

Benefits of Using Dashboards

In the past, a lot of businesses used to put their data in Excel, but with big data, this is no longer an option. There are a lot of reasons why people don’t digest data well in an Excel format. When in Excel, for the most part, you have to remember what information is in each cell block in order to compare and visualize. And in most cases, it’s nearly impossible to remember all of that data. For example, everyone knows how to understand a bar chart. But with a 1000-column spreadsheet, understanding and piecing together your data would definitely be more difficult. That is why, along with the below benefits, it is essential to use dashboards.
 
Here’s a breakdown of some of the benefits of using dashboards.

  • All of your data is pooled together to represent data in a simpler way.
  • You can interact with data and understand what is happening with your business.
  • You absorb more information, all at a faster pace.
  • You can identify patterns and relationships in your data.
  • You are able to spot outliers, spikes, and other inconsistencies more easily.
  • Insights can be reached much faster.
  • You can identify and act on emerging trends.

 

Who Can Use Dashboards?

Dashboards can supply vital information to employees at all levels. There are dashboards that can focus on one specific department instead of combining the data of all departments. For example, you can have dashboards for your finance team, marketing team, sales team, IT team, and more. It is key for managers of those teams to understand incoming data so they can assess how their departments are performing. These dashboards can be used as a tool for reporting and monitoring long-term strategies and goals at a more detailed level.
 
Executives on the other hand also benefit from viewing incoming data. With dashboards that show trends, KPIs, and a little bit of context, executives can get a high-level overview of the company and evaluate the performance of each department. This helps give them a big picture and allows for an overall check-up of their business.
 
Even employees that are not in a leadership role can benefit from dashboards. By having a source that visually displays incoming data, any employee can analyze their individual performance and see where they can improve. They can also compare themselves to other team members (if competition is important) and see how others are performing. Dashboards are also a great way to communicate to others what is being accomplished.
 

Summary

The purpose of creating a dashboard is to understand your business, and simply put, it’s important to understand what’s going on within your business. Even if you have a lot of incoming data, which may be hard to understand, a visualization tool, like a dashboard, is there to help you tell the story of your businesses’ trends and behaviors. You can gain deeper insights from visualizations, and you can arrive at conclusions much faster, all within a single source. It’s important to have a good understanding of your data, that way, you can make better decisions to drive your business forward.

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