There is much debate over whether dashboards are past their sell by date or are still delivering key business insights. The truth is not black and white.
The dashboard has a significant role to play in reporting business insights. It delivers those monthly BI snapshots that tell everyone how the business is doing. For this purpose, the dashboard has a long and fruitful life ahead of it.
Dashboards deliver exactly the same insights every month. This is good and bad. Good because knowing at a glance how sales, profit and customer acquisition and retention are going is vital data for the business to see.
Bad, because if the business stops there and fails to take a very close look at the other data it gathers, then the business insights dashboard is holding the company back.
Now don’t go ditching those dashboards, as I said earlier, they are valuable tools. What you do need to do is sit and stare at them for a while and start making a list.
What business insights are you NOT getting from your dashboards?
The list of nots should be much longer than the list of what the dashboards are delivering. If they were the font of all knowledge and wisdom for your company’s activities, they would be so big it would take more than a month to review them.
Then look at them from an action perspective. Does everything on the dashboard drive an action. If there are things on there that you can’t do anything about, why?
The next thing to look at is how your dashboards are created and delivered. So many executives are asked to look at static images, screen shots of excel charts and CRM reports. Others have a printed report running to tens or hundreds of pages and only the first few pages get looked at.
Try a visualisation tool that has presentation capabilities. Tableau dashboards are fully interactive. It is possible to drill down into them when someone in a meeting has a question. Business insights that have built-in intelligence are revolutionising many boardrooms. They deliver competitive advantage to the companies that use them.
One of the biggest wins is when someone asks a question. The stock answer is “I’ll bring that information to our next meeting.” If you hear that on a regular basis then your company is deferring decisions for no good reason.
Interactive dashboards let you ask and answer questions in-the-now. Decisions can be made and actions taken while competitors are waiting for the next meeting. A meeting at which the answers might be delivered but they are just as likely to raise more questions.
Once you get the hang of delivering interactive business insights through data visualisation, you will also realise that there is no need to wait for meeting to happen.
You can deliver dashboards to people wherever they are on whatever device they are using.