/ The best (and worst) ways to use BI dashboards in business

The best (and worst) ways to use BI dashboards in business

In the world of business analytics, there are few tools as effective as a well-designed BI dashboard. Dashboards allow businesses to quickly and easily see patterns, trends, and relationships that would be otherwise hidden in a mass of raw data.

However, as with any tool, there is a right way and a wrong way to use BI dashboards. Used correctly, they can be an invaluable asset for any business. Used incorrectly, they can lead to confusion, inaccurate conclusions, and poor decision-making.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best ways to use BI dashboards in business, as well as the worst ways to use them. We’ll also provide some tips on how to avoid misuse of BI dashboards.

 
domo
 

BI dashboard overview

If you own or operate a business, chances are you’ve heard of business intelligence (BI). BI is a catch-all term that refers to the various techniques and technologies used to collect, store, analyze, and present data for the purpose of helping businesses make better decisions.

Tools like data warehouses, data mining, and predictive analytics all fall under the umbrella of business intelligence. And one of the most popular and useful tools in the BI toolkit is the dashboard.

A BI dashboard is a visual display of data that can be used to monitor, track, and analyze a business’s performance. Dashboards are an essential tool for anyone who needs to make sense of large amounts of data.

BI dashboards offer plenty of benefits to users, including:

  • The ability to quickly and easily see patterns, trends, and relationships in data
  • The ability to drill down into specific data sets for more detailed analysis
  • The ability to customize the dashboard view to focus on the data that is most important to you
  • The ability to share dashboards with others for collaboration or decision-making

While BI dashboards offer plenty of advantages, it’s important to use them correctly. Used incorrectly, they can lead to poor decisions based on inaccurate conclusions.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best ways to use BI dashboards in business.

 

The best ways to use BI dashboards

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to use BI dashboards effectively. The best way to use a dashboard will vary depending on the specific business goals and data sets involved. However, there are some general principles that all businesses should follow when using BI dashboards.

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your BI dashboards:

1. Define your goals upfront

Before you even begin looking at data, it’s important to first define what you want to achieve with your dashboard. Without a proper goal, it can be easy to get lost in the data and lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish.

How can you define your goals? One helpful exercise is to create a “dashboard story.” A dashboard story is simply a narrative of how you want your dashboard to be used.

For example, imagine you’re a marketing manager, and you want to track the effectiveness of your latest marketing campaign. Your dashboard story might look something like this:

“As a marketing manager, I want to see how our latest marketing campaign is performing. I need to be able to track key metrics like website traffic, conversion rate, and cost per acquisition. I also want to be able to compare our results against our goals. With this information, I’ll be able to make informed decisions about where to allocate our marketing budget.”

Don’t be afraid to bring in other stakeholders to help you define your goals. The more input you have, the better your dashboard will be.

 
domo
 

2. Keep it simple

One of the most common mistakes businesses make with BI dashboards is trying to cram too much information into one view. When this happens, the dashboard becomes cluttered and confusing, and users are less likely to find the information they’re looking for.

It’s important to remember that the goal of a dashboard is to provide users with quick and easy access to the most important data. More isn’t always better. In fact, less is often more when it comes to dashboards.

When designing your dashboard, start with the basics and only add more information if it’s absolutely necessary. Most dashboards only need a handful of data visualizations to be effective.

3. Share your dashboard with others

If you want people to actually use your dashboard, you need to make sure it’s easy for them to find. The best way to do this is to share it in the areas where users are most likely to need it.

For example, if your dashboard is intended for sales reps, then make sure it’s easily accessible from your CRM or salesforce automation software. If it’s for marketing managers, then share it in your marketing reporting software. Many BI tools have the ability to directly embed dashboards within other systems’ interfaces.

If you plan to embed your dashboard on a website or intranet, then make sure it’s placed in a prominent location where users are likely to see it. The easier it is to find, the more likely people are to actually use it.

4. Use the right data sources

If you want your dashboard to be accurate and reliable, then you need to make sure you’re using the right data sources. This means having access to clean, up-to-date data that’s relevant to your business goals.

One common mistake businesses make is relying on manual data entry. This can lead to errors and inaccuracies, and it’s generally not a sustainable solution in the long run.

It’s much better to automate data collection whenever possible. This way, you can be confident that your dashboard is always using the most up-to-date information.

 
domo
 

The worst ways to use BI dashboards in business

Dashboards are powerful tools when used the right way. Yet far too many businesses make the same mistakes, leading to inaccurate, confusing, and ultimately unused dashboards.

Here are four of the worst ways businesses use BI dashboards:

1. Overloading the dashboard with data

One of the most common mistakes is trying to cram too much information into one view. This leads to cluttered and confusing dashboards, and users are less likely to find the data they’re looking for.

2. Not using a sharing strategy

Another common mistake is not having a plan for how the dashboard will be shared. If you want people to actually use your dashboard, you need to make sure it’s easy for them to find.

Some BI tools let multiple users edit and interact with a single dashboard. If you’d like your team members to be able to directly collaborate using the BI dashboard tool, consider investing in one that has this capability.

3. Forgetting to update the data

If you want your dashboard to be accurate and reliable, then you need to make sure you’re using current data. This means having access to clean, up-to-date data that’s relevant to your business goals.

4. Not getting user feedback

Finally, it’s important to get feedback from users on a regular basis. This can help you identify any problems with the dashboard and make the necessary changes. It can also give you ideas for new features or improvements.

 

The benefits of using BI dashboards correctly

When used correctly, BI dashboards can be incredibly powerful tools for businesses. They can help you make better decisions, improve efficiency, and save time and money.

But most of all, they can give you a competitive edge. After all, if you’re able to make better decisions based on data, then you’re likely to be more successful than your competitors who rely on gut instinct.

When everyone on your team is using the same dashboard, you can also start to see patterns and trends that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. This type of collaboration can help you make even better decisions and continue to improve your business over time.

 

The bottom line

BI dashboards can be incredibly helpful for businesses, but only when used correctly. Make sure you avoid the mistakes detailed above and take advantage of the benefits instead. Your business will be better off for it in the long run.

Check out some related resources:

Closing the Data Decision Gap

How ESPN used Domo’s intelligent apps to increase customer satisfaction

Domo Tops Dresner’s List of Cloud BI Vendors in 2022

Try Domo for yourself. Completely free.

Domo transforms the way these companies manage business.