Imagine you are the owner of a small business. Every day, you make decisions about how to best run your company–from what products to sell, to how to market them, to when and where to allocate resources.
The world of business intelligence (BI) has long understood the value of this kind of information visualization and has developed a tool specifically for this purpose: the BI dashboard.
What is a BI dashboard?
A BI dashboard tool is a software application that gathers data from multiple sources and presents it in a single, easy-to-understand interface. Dashboards are highly customizable, so they can be tailored to display the specific information that is most important to the user.
They allow users to see data from multiple sources in one place.
They provide interactive features that allow users to drill down into the data for more details.
They are highly customizable, so users can tailor the dashboard to display the most important information to them.
They allow for dashboard sharing, enabling users to easily save and share their dashboard with others.
Most modern BI tools let users create and deploy their own dashboards. However, there are also many commercially available BI dashboards that can be purchased and installed on-premises or hosted in the cloud.
How to use a BI dashboard
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this, as the best way to use a BI dashboard will vary depending on the user’s specific needs. However, there are a few general tips that can help you get the most out of your dashboard:
Start with the basics
When you first start using a BI dashboard, it can be tempting to try to add as many features and data sources as possible. However, it is essential to remember that the goal is to make your dashboard as simple and easy to use as possible. Start with the basics and add complexity only as needed.
Keep it focused
A BI dashboard should be focused on a specific goal or business question. Trying to pack too much information into one dashboard will only make it more challenging to use. It is better to create multiple dashboards, each with a specific focus, than to try to cram everything into one.
Make it visually appealing
A BI dashboard is only useful if it is actually used. To encourage adoption, make sure your dashboard is visually appealing and easy to navigate. This could mean using colors and icons to make important data points stand out or using visualizations that are easy to understand at a glance.
Allow for interactivity
A BI dashboard should be interactive, so users can drill down into the data for more details when they need to. This could include features like hover-over tooltips or clickable graphs that can display additional information.
Make it shareable
Dashboards should be easy to share, so users can collaborate with others or share their dashboard with a broader audience. Most BI tools allow users to export their dashboard as an image or PDF, so it can be shared electronically. Alternatively, some tools allow users to share their dashboard directly through the tool itself.
The unexpected benefits of BI dashboards
In addition to the apparent benefits of BI dashboards, there are also many unexpected benefits that can be realized by using them. Here are a few of the most noteworthy:
They encourage engagement
BI dashboards make data more accessible and easy to understand, which can encourage engagement from even the most non-technical users. By providing users with a way to access and understand data, dashboards can help break down barriers and encourage collaboration.
For example, a BI dashboard can be used to engage employees in a company-wide initiative to improve customer satisfaction. By giving employees easy access to data that shows how the company is performing, they will be more likely to understand the importance of the initiative and be more engaged in trying to improve results.
They improve communication
BI dashboards can improve communication by providing a common language for discussing data. By presenting data in a visual format, dashboards can make it easier for people to understand and discuss complex topics.
For example, a dashboard that tracks sales data can be used to improve communication between the sales and marketing teams. By presenting data in a way that is easy to understand, the dashboard can help the teams identify areas where they need to improve and develop strategies for doing so.
For example, a BI dashboard can be used to make inventory data more actionable. By highlighting trends in customer demand, the dashboard can help businesses adjust their inventory levels accordingly and avoid stockouts.
They take data from internal to external audiences
BI dashboards can take data from internal to external audiences by making it easy to share. Dashboard sharing features of BI tools make it easy to share data with investors, partners, or customers who might not have access to the BI tool itself. For example, a company that sells products online could use a dashboard to share sales data with its investors.
By sharing the dashboard, the company can provide its investors with up-to-date information on how the business is performing and give them visibility into the company’s progress.
They improve decision-making
BI dashboards improve decision-making by providing users with a clear picture of the data. By presenting data in an easy-to-understand format, dashboards can help users to identify trends and make informed decisions.
For example, a BI dashboard can be used in a manufacturing company to enhance operations. By tracking data on production, quality, and delivery, the dashboard can help the company identify issues and make changes to improve its process.
How to use a BI dashboard to enhance business intelligence efforts
Now that you know what a BI dashboard is and some of the benefits of using one, you might be wondering how you can use a dashboard to improve your own business intelligence efforts in your organization. Here are a few tips:
Use it to track KPIs
A BI dashboard can be used to track key performance indicators (KPIs). By tracking KPIs, you can identify trends and make changes to improve your business. For example, if you run an e-commerce store, you might use a dashboard to track KPIs such as website traffic, conversion rate, and average order value.
Use it to track goals
y tracking goals, you can ensure that you are on track to achieve your targets. One way to do this is to create a BI dashboard that tracks progress towards your goals. For example, if you have a goal to increase sales by 10% this year, you could create a dashboard that tracks sales data and shows progress towards the goal.
Use it to track trends
A BI dashboard can be used to track trends. By tracking trends, you can identify opportunities and make changes to improve your business. For example, if you run a fashion store, you might use a dashboard to track trends in customer spending. By tracking this data, you can adjust your inventory levels accordingly and stock the items that your customers are more likely to buy.
Use it to share data
A BI dashboard can be used to share data. By sharing data, you can improve communication and make better decisions. For example, if you run a manufacturing company, you might use a dashboard to share production data with your team. By sharing this data, you can identify issues and make changes to improve your process.
The bottom line
BI dashboards are a great way to make data more actionable and improve your operations. They can take data from internal to external audiences, improve decision-making, and track KPIs, goals, and trends.
However, the dashboard is only as powerful as the data that is being fed into it. That’s why it’s essential to have a BI platform that can connect to all of your data sources and provide you with the insights you need to make better decisions.
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