Businesses can’t make good decisions without data. Good data analytics, presented on intuitive dashboards, makes business operations at every level much easier. At this point, it’s clear that effective dashboards powered by actionable data are essential to business success.
However, businesses don’t always make effective use of their dashboards. Often, access to dashboards is limited, and only business leaders and decision-makers can view them. Other times, dashboards aren’t incorporated well into workflows, meaning that workers sideline them as they go about their tasks.
To effectively use the power of BI dashboards to drive success, businesses need to make their dashboards public. That doesn’t mean they need to share them externally — that means they should encourage freer access to dashboards internally.
Public dashboards are an important element of a bottom-up, decentralized data strategy. They allow anyone to drive insight and spot trends, so that everyone in an organization can contribute to data success.
They highlight and track key metrics, so that everyone can gauge business health at a glance. With real-time data tracking, they allow employees to adapt and change their work priorities based on goal attainment at an hour-by-hour or even minute-by-minute level.
The need for a public dashboard
There are numerous benefits to using public business intelligence dashboards. Any business that deals with data should think about adapting their data strategy to accommodate and emphasize these. Here are some reasons why your company needs public dashboards.
To compete in today’s markets, you need the ability to make decisions and implement strategies as quickly as possible. With real-time dashboards, you can get immediate updates and hit the ground running when new business problems happen.
However, if dashboards are hard to access, there’s a disconnect between when they update and when people actually see them. If dashboards aren’t a priority, it can be hours or even days before someone notices what’s wrong.
Public dashboards let everyone in your business make agile decisions based on data. If everyone can see relevant dashboards, they don’t need to be told to adapt their strategies or come up with new business plans; they can figure it out for themselves.
In the past, businesses had to mostly operate post-mortem. Since they couldn’t track their metrics in an agile way, they had to wait for weekly or monthly static reports to gauge success. At that point, the damage had already been done, so there was nothing left to do but regroup for next time.
Real-time dashboards can change this, but they have to be properly utilized. With real-time data, business leaders can react to changes immediately. With predictive analytics, they can even anticipate changes and plan ahead.
That’s only possible, though, if they’re actually able to access the dashboards they need for success. Without good dashboard access, they’re no better than the static reports of the past.
Dynamic dashboards allow employees to interact with data in ways they never could before. Features like self-service reporting and ad-hoc analytics allow users to customize and reconfigure their dashboards to gain new insights.
With public dashboards, employees can use public information to perform new analyses and spot new trends. By bringing in new data sets or visualizing data in a different way, they can solve novel business questions and find new insights.
In a data-driven business, every employee can help contribute to new data insights. When employees take the time to investigate their data, that’s called ‘data curiosity.’ It’s only possible by freeing access to dashboards.
Dashboards can often surprise. One major strength of visualizing data in this way is that it can often uncover insights that were previously invisible. Data analytics allows businesses to see their blind spots, places they don’t even know they’re failing.
For example, a product-focused business that’s aiming for general market saturation might see that, based on their analytics, they’re mostly ignoring some demographics. They can then come up with marketing strategies or new products that can tap into these demographics.
In this way, public dashboards are essential for new development. Insight can come from anywhere, not just the same three or four people who always come up with new ideas. Relying on the same few voices is how you get blind spots in the first place.
With dashboards, employees can internalize information much faster than with static reports. A number on a spreadsheet might be useful for some, but it’s much easier to understand a simple visualization of that same data.
Repeat that across every report in your organization, and the time it takes to communicate information drops massively. Now, instead of taking five minutes to figure out what some numbers mean, employees can figure out the implications of a report in five seconds.
Metric tracking and goal attainment
Without public dashboards, it’s very hard for employees to know if they’re succeeding or failing. They have to rely on canned reports and management’s demeanor to know. Often, lower-level employees don’t know things are going wrong until they’re getting chewed out by their bosses for failing.
Public dashboards revolutionize how businesses track their goals. If employees can see how their KPIs are trending in real-time, it’s much easier for them to know how their actions are contributing to those trends. This allows even lower-level employees to change their strategies based on their goal attainment.
With more effective metric tracking and goal attainment, it’s much easier to optimize workflows and figure out what your most effective strategies are. Employees can see in real time how their actions correspond to their metrics, which helps them see how their actions and metrics are connected.
From there, employees can figure out the best strategies for achieving their goals on their own. With public dashboards, everyone in a business becomes an innovator.
Dashboards can easily track broad business health. Public dashboards may be important to low-level employees, but data access is just as important to executives as well. Executives can’t make effective business decisions without data, and they can’t access their data without dashboards.
With access to broad, business-wide dashboards that track key indicators of business success, executives can make the sorts of decisions that they need to. They can weigh the effectiveness of their current strategies and design new ones using data insights.
Sometimes, it can be effective to make these dashboards public to non-executives as well. At larger businesses, it’s easy for managers and mid-level employees to lose sight of their broad goals. By making company data public in this way, executives can give their employees a better sense of perspective.
Public dashboards: The key to data democracy
Dashboards make up the core of any effective data strategy. Businesses can use dashboards for all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of situations, and dashboards will be effective for all of them.
However, dashboards are only useful if their audience can actually use them to make decisions and drive insight. If only a few people can access dashboards, then the sort of value that businesses will be able to get out of them will be limited.
By broadening dashboard access and making dashboards public to anyone who can make use of the information on them, businesses can help everyone in their organizations make data-driven decisions.
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