Dashboards–Everybody’s Talking About Them. Why?

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“I’ve seen those dials and gauges.  They look nice, but once they lose their novelty, they lose their value.  You get a lot more information from a good graph.  So what’s the big deal about dashboards?” 

A well-constructed dashboard can give you all the information you need to keep tabs on your business in one place.  With limited dashboard real estate, the data presented needs to be relevant and actionable.  Too much information and the user is overwhelmed and ignores the dashboard.  Too little information and looking at the dashboard is a waste of time.  Several views of summary data presented in meaningful context, with access to the detail, will enable quicker and more informed decision making. 

Once you determine what data you need to help you stay on track with your goals, you can create a dashboard with your KPIs, financial trends, customer retention statistics, operational data with alerts for out-of-range performance–just about any information that will help you run your business better. 

Using BIO, you can build dashboards using data from multiple sources.  So if your financial information is in your Microsoft Dynamics ERP and your sales are in your point-of-sale system and your service representative records are in your timesheet application, you can still create a revealing picture of what’s going on in your company.

BIO dashboards are completely interactive so you can drill down, filter, or aggregate the data in any of the views or separate panes.  You can analyze your data on the spot to see trends, correlations and causes, and outliers–those exceptions that can point out a serious problem or a golden opportunity.  And dashboards using advanced visualizations allow you to look at many variables or dimensions at once, using not just the x-axis and the y-axis, but using colors, shapes, and size to represent the values.  This allows you to quickly see how the variables impact each other in a way that 2-dimensional graphs cannot.

In a BIO dashboard, the views are all interrelated, so if you drill down to a specific region in one, you will see the data for that region in all of the panes.  If you change the data in one pane, all the data in related panes on the dashboard changes.  You can look at a series of graphics, for example: gross margin by age of customer, sales over time of two related product lines by territory, growth of order quantity by customer group, and the change in accounts receivable aging by customer industry.  If you drill down to a single customer view in any of those graphics, all of the panes will reflect the same customer.  And if you change to a new customer in any of the panes, you get an immediate picture of the same information for the new customer.

Advanced visualizations like geospatial mapping, bubble maps, tree maps, and spark lines give you new ways to comprehend a bigger picture at once.   And if your data is best presented as an automobile dashboard with gauges and dials, we’ve got them, too. 

Take a look at BIO’s new dashboard video to see how a dashboard can help you.  And give me a call at 203.705.4648 or email me at sandi@bio4analytics.com if you have any questions about BIO or business intelligence in general.

By Sandi Forman of BIO Analytics, Corp., a Business Intelligence (BI) Microsoft Dynamics ISV

BIO Analytics Corp. provides business intelligence software and services for Microsoft Dynamics.  Visit our website to learn more and to view demos.

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