/ What business intelligence dashboard tools can do for you

What business intelligence dashboard tools can do for you

Defined by Gartner as “the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to–and analysis of–information to improve and optimize decisions and performance,” business intelligence (BI) tools allow data to be instantly put to work to further businesses’ success.

In particular, business intelligence dashboard tools can be used to present data as visualizations that provide an at-a-glance overview of business performance and can be used to track the success of an aspect of business or a particular strategy.



What are BI dashboards?

Business intelligence dashboard tools allow data to be collected from various sources and arranged in a graphical format that can help highlight trends, patterns, and stories told by the data, and draw attention to key metrics, also known as key performance indicators (KPIs).

There are a number of features that make business intelligence dashboard tools uniquely suited to boosting the success of businesses, more so than other reporting tools.

Interactive UI

Most business intelligence solutions offer dashboards with interactive user interfaces that enable users to get an ‘at-a-glance’ overview of business performance and have the option to dive deeper into the data.

Data filters permit users to search for data with shared qualities such as the country of origin or time period. They also give users the capability to ‘drill down’ into visualizations such as graphs and charts to take a closer look at the data, providing users with the ability to gain the most in-depth insight from their data.

Aggregation of data from a variety of sources

Business intelligence dashboard tools provide a comprehensive picture of business performance since they’re able to collect data from a numerous and diverse array of sources.

In addition to databases and spreadsheets, this array of sources includes data lakes and warehouses, allowing businesses to make use of big data and the incredible detail that this can provide about everything from customer experience to operational efficiency.

All in all, this allows any insight gained from a business’s data to be fully informed and provides a comprehensive view of the health of the business.

Real-time data visualizations

In the past, data reports detailing business performance would be time-consuming to produce, from the manual collection of data, to the lengthy statistical analyses required to derive meaning from the data, and the formatting of that data into a static report.

As a result, the insights retrieved would be less relevant, and the delay between the time the data was produced to when those in leadership positions would receive reports on that data represents time wasted that could have been used to take action and make impactful changes.

On the other hand, some BI dashboard tools can collect live data, and this data is quickly arranged into visualizations on your dashboard that are continually updated. So, the insights derived from data are as recent as possible, and those in leadership positions can take action on data insights immediately.

Automated workflows

When using business intelligence dashboard tools, there are numerous opportunities to automate workflows to improve efficiency and free up the time of employees.

Tasks such as data collection and sorting, as well as converting that data into visualizations, can all be automated so that your reporting dashboards are continually refreshed to show the most relevant data and trends without human intervention.



Integration capabilities

The integration capabilities of a business intelligence dashboard tool will depend on the BI/dashboard software you choose.

Generally, however, a good dashboard solution will be able to integrate with most or all of the software and platforms your business uses in order to display visualizations that are comprehensively informed by any data relating to your business.

This includes being able to show key metrics relating to your website, as in the case of Google Analytics integrations, and building dashboards that provide insight into your customers, enabled by CRM integrations.

Online accessibility

Business Intelligence dashboard tools are largely available online, so they can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as an individual has the appropriate login.

This means that even members of the company who are working remotely can stay up to date with business performance from wherever they are.

Customizable UI

Though many dashboard solutions will provide templates on which you can base your dashboard layout, dashboards are highly customizable, allowing businesses to create condensed reports that show visualizations in the exact format they need.

In many BI dashboard tools, specific widgets can be added from other software which you can integrate into the dashboard if it’s particularly relevant to that goal. Additionally, graphs are customizable so you can show the desired level of detail and pick the graphics that best suit the data.



How can business intelligence dashboard tools benefit your business?

By using business intelligence tools, and particularly by solving your business’s reporting needs with dashboards, you can make your business more efficient, productive, and successful.

Here’s how.

BI dashboards make data insights accessible to businesses

Businesses have a wealth of data available to them with the potential to illustrate how the business is performing.

However, unless the data is sorted and displayed in a way that can be easily understood, its use by business leaders is limited, unless teams of analysts decipher meaning from the data and report on it accordingly.

Business intelligence dashboard tools transform data into visualizations that show the ‘big picture’ of the data, allowing those with little to no data/statistics knowledge to derive insight and put the data to work straight away, without the need for intermediaries to make sense of the raw data.

BI dashboards promote data-driven decisions

Business leaders of the past had to rely on guesswork in order to make decisions, using their subjective judgment to determine the best strategies to put in place to ensure success — in other words, a slightly more sophisticated form of ‘trial and error’.

With business intelligence dashboard tools, however, leaders can ensure that all of the decisions they make within the company are backed by the trends and patterns from the data that indicate the most effective strategies.

This reduces subjectivity and ensures that data supports every strategy put in place, maximizing a business’s probability of achieving success.

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BI dashboards boost communication and collaboration

Business intelligence dashboard tools can transform reporting, making it easier to communicate the performance of a business, particularly in relation to specific goals or departments.

More specifically, dashboards can typically be accessed online — so they can be viewed anywhere, even if workers are remote — and can be easily shared between departments.

BI dashboards allow the effectiveness of strategies to be quickly assessed

Since data displayed in dashboard visualizations is collected in near real-time, the success of strategies put in place can be assessed almost instantly.

When a strategy is implemented, business leaders can track the progress of the relevant KPI on the dashboard to check whether the strategy has had the desired effect, no effect, or even a detrimental effect.

From here, the appropriate course of action can be followed, depending on the results the data has shown.

BI dashboards unify employees towards one goal

Business intelligence dashboards can be shared extensively between leaders and employees to allow each member of the company to stay aware of where the business is, where it’s heading, and if there are any changes that need to be made to its direction.

Dashboards can also be displayed throughout offices to ensure that the relevant departments and individuals are always aware of performance and can quickly react to unexpected changes in data.

Moreover, dashboards can be shared to help break down silos between related departments — such as marketing and sales — so they can work together to achieve their shared goals. They’ll be better informed to do so when they’re able to access the larger picture of performance.

Lastly, keeping a dashboard on display that provides an overview of business performance as a whole can help keep departments working towards the same goal and remind them that they’re part of more than just their department and are integral to the success of the wider company.

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