Business intelligence dashboards have come a long way in recent years. Previously relegated to the IT team, today’s business intelligence dashboards are increasingly finding themselves on the desktops and mobile devices of the less technically inclined. With drag and drop functionality and intuitive data visualizations, managers across your organization can make sense of critical information. However, it’s important to set up business intelligence dashboards smartly and consistently. Use the tips below to set up BI dashboards across your organization.
- Take a big picture – small picture view. Before you start randomly deploying dashboards across various departments, determine which common metrics will be used companywide. What information does each department head need to know about the company’s health regardless of function? Whether its total units sold, customer satisfaction rating, or profits versus losses, ensuring that all dashboards include your most important metrics can keep everyone on the same page, provide a big picture view, and help to align each department with the company’s overall objectives (1). From there, you can drill down to departmental and individual requirements.
- Avoid abstraction. No matter what you will be tracking and analyzing with your business intelligence dashboards, you need a clear understanding of what it is. For example, if using business intelligence dashboards for sales and marketing, you’ll need a solid understanding of your sales cycle. At what point does a prospect become a lead? When does a lead turn into an opportunity?
- Identify your key performance indicators. While you may want to give each department head some leeway in which charts and data visualizations they use, it’s important that everyone knows which metrics to track based on organizational goals, departmental goals, and job roles. Don’t leave dashboard design to chance, interests, and whims; specify which metrics should be monitored.
- Allow ad-hoc data visualizations and reporting. Interactive dashboards allow you to explore data in real-time, pull data from diverse sources, and glean insights. Whether a news story sparks an idea that deems further investigation or one of your team members has a hunch, empower your team to use your business intelligence dashboards to your advantage.
- Encourage collaboration. What good are actionable insights if no one knows about them? Many business intelligence dashboards include collaboration and social tools. For example, InetSoft’s business intelligence dashboards can be embedded into webpages as “portlets” where team members can view real-time results and hold discussions (2). Some dashboards can also be “followed” and shared, much like following a profile on a social media site.
- Choose a web-based business intelligence dashboard. Web-based dashboards have an advantage over traditional software in that users can access their business intelligence dashboards from virtually anywhere on just about any mobile device. Instead of being tethered to their desktops, your team can access real-time data from smartphones and tablets.
With a little advance planning, a clear understanding of the processes your team needs to track, and a web-based solution, setting up business intelligence dashboards across your organization can ensure that your team has the insights it needs to work more efficiently.