Unlock the potential of dashboards

Author:
Jenny Kongkalai
Customer Success Manager
Holocentric

LinkedIn Profile

Dashboards have become an integral part of our day-to-day lives regardless of what industry you are in – IT, Healthcare, Retail, etc. We see dashboards being used often in different organisations, but what are they? 

According Gartner’s definition, 

“Dashboards are a reporting mechanism that aggregates and displays metrics and key indicators so they can be examined at a glance by all possible audiences. Dashboards help improve decision making by revealing and communicating contextual insights into metrics to display indicators with intuitive visualisation, including charts, scales, gauges, and traffic lights that show indicator progress toward defined goals.”

In our modern-day world, being able to convert raw data into real information is essential. This information is useful for fostering business growth; therefore it is necessary to have the right tools to transform the information into meaningful fit-for-purpose visuals with metrics and indicators.

Value of a well-designed dashboard
Dashboards serve many functions in an organisation. It can be used as a reporting tool, for measuring progress or display the organisation’s historical data to understand trends and patterns. The following are some of the reasons why having dashboards are essential in the organisation: 

Visibility - One of the most important assets in the organisation is data but it becomes meaningless if users do not have access to it and if they are unable to decipher what it means. Dashboards are used to visually express information so that users can get an “easy to read” view of the organisation’s progress. Decision Making - Dashboards provide a better understanding of the current progress, status, and overall health of the organisation. It drives better data-driven decision making within the organisation by analysing the trends, forecasting workload, and managing risks. 

Accountability - Having a bigger picture of what the important metrics are within an organisation promotes a culture of being more proactive and actioning tasks before they become a risk. This information equips businesses with a graphical repreesentation of its data making it easier to interpret and action.
Dashboard Challenges
Being able to report and display information in dashboards can also have its challenges, especially if it is not properly maintained and has been poorly designed. 

Design - There can be some complexity in designing visuals to cater for a wide range of audiences. It is important to first understand who your target audience is - is it business executives, IT support, marketing, etc? Information should be represented in a manner that makes sense, such as choosing the correct visuals that best represents the data. Having too much information can distract users in accessing an “at-a-glance” view. 

Data Integrity  - Maintaining the dashboards and ensuring data is always up-to-date can prove challenging. Some dashboards require data from an external source and needs to be manually updated resulting in outdated information. To allow for better decision making, it is critical that dashboards contain real-time information and don't rely on manual inputs of data.

Adopting dashboards as a reporting tool within an organisation can be a powerful driver in accelerating the organisation’s development. The potential of dashboards can only be recognised if data is represented correctly, maintained properly, and targeted towards the right people. 

Data is an asset for any organisation but if it can’t be measured and managed then it becomes a liability.   

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