Many people immediately think of dashboards when considering data analytics. This is partially because this is the extent of many individuals’ experiences with these tools. Dashboards have become sort of a catchall for analytics, which isn’t fair to dashboards or the greater idea of data analysis.
Here are some things to consider for reimagining the BI dashboard.
What Role Do Dashboards Play?
Dashboards are an important part of the analytics program at any enterprise. While dashboards aren’t going to do everything for your organization, they’re an important starting point for diving into deeper drill downs.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a small- or medium-sized business, or a massive, multinational corporation, you’re going to want dashboards to be incorporated with your overall analytics scheme. A few things have sort of been standardized as the main uses for dashboards. These revolve around basic analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs), tracking strategic developments, and real-time analytics.
When it comes to tracking KPIs, dashboards are one of the best tools out there. For starters, you can tailor them so employees are only receiving relevant information. This is good for keeping individuals somewhat focused on what’s important, while mitigating some risks of data loss. Due to a relatively low barrier to entry, dashboards are a way for those without deep data experience to get their hands dirty.
There’s also an element to dashboards that revolves around strategic planning. Project managers need to be able to stay on top of ongoing initiatives. Dashboards are a great way for doing this because they centralize critical information in one place.
Furthermore, dashboards are one of the most efficient ways for organizations to track real-time analytics. Certain metrics have a far greater value when analyzed in the moment rather than retroactively. For instance, if an ecommerce business is running a limited-time sale, modeling what happened after the fact might not offer much value. Conversely, there could be incredible value waiting to be extracted from real-time analytics. It’s possible that making a small change to something minor like the checkout process could yield noticeably better sales numbers.
These are a few examples of how BI dashboards are already effectively being used by organizations. Now, let’s take a look at some more nuanced best practices for getting more out of dashboards.
Going Beyond Dashboards
Today, modern analytics is showing the limited capacity of traditional dashboard analytics. While there are certainly still relevant uses, dashboards simply don’t go deep enough for the kind of insights required for optimal business decisions. It’s maybe best to think of dashboards as the starting point for more detailed exploration.
This leads to an important question: How can enterprises provide tools that are functional and intuitive for non-experts, while also allowing for deeper insight extraction?
These are a few functions taking BI dashboards to the next level:
- Embedded analytics – Visualizations are only helpful when you’re getting them in front of eyeballs. Embedded analytics helps with this, as it allows for real-time data visualizations to be dropped into a variety of locations, such as dashboards. Through embedded analytics, your organizational dashboards can take on a whole new life. It’s also possible to cycle through different iterations with ease as new projects come into focus.
- Search-driven analytics – It used to be that dashboards could only be built by those with explicit data expertise. These days are of the past, thanks to search-driven analytics. Even regular businesspeople can now build custom dashboards in almost no time. This is due to search-driven analytics’ functionality allowing it to generate results with simple search bar inquiries. This is a radical game-changer for building better BI dashboards.
No matter your industry, BI dashboards are probably part of daily workflows. It’s important to revisit these dashboards’ functions periodically, as many tools today offer vastly better capabilities.