What are Dashboards and Why Do You Need Them?


Drive your business with a customized dashboard.

The dashboard in your car is a great tool. At the very least, it should tell you how fast you’re driving. Most will tell you how much gas is left in your tank and if you need service on your vehicle. You can see the radio station you’re listening to (and change it) and control the temperature in your car. And if you have one of the newer dashboards, it’ll probably tell you how many miles per gallon you’re using, provide you with a map to your destination and fifty other details related to the running and maintenance of your car. But dashboards aren’t just for cars anymore.

A business dashboard works under the same premise as your car dashboard. It provides you with insights into key data points relevant to the running of your business, whether it’s an overall view or specific processes or departments. Having this information allows you to make informed decisions and can greatly improve the performance of your executives and employees.

Questions are the keys to successful dashboards.  Because they are designed to provide you with a quick analysis of your data, the best way to determine what you need to display is to ask the questions most common in your business. Some examples of the kind of questions you might ask are:

  • What are the projects/clients we spend the most time on?
  • What are our overall sales goals and have we reached them for the past 6 months?
  • What percentage of our overall revenue comes from which customers?
  • What are our top product lines and what opportunities are there for growing others?

Once you know which questions to ask, you can build a dashboard that provides you with the metrics most important to your business operations.  Having a visualization of those metrics will allow you to tweak your processes, plans and performance.

Just like the dashboard in your car, an effective business dashboard will help those driving the company to gain insight on data that has been collected over a specific time and track the business’ progress against their goals. Easy to read tables and charts display company metrics in a way that allows your leadership team to visualize complex numbers and data. This provides you with a powerful tool to better understand how your company is functioning and the trends affecting your business.

Dashboards also simplify your reporting processes. By pulling data from multiple sources and compiling it in a single, customizable location, the dashboard can save you hours of monitoring and analyzing data. With a better understanding of the big picture, and the ability to drill down further into the details that matter most, the dashboard can help your business understand what works, what doesn’t, and what needs improvement. This enables you to make real-time adjustments to your processes.

The centralized data is also a great selling tool. A dashboard allows you to present information to current or potential customers and investors in a format that is easy to understand, even for non-technical types. Your most important data points are highlighted with charts and graphs to allow users to quickly scan the information and draw out just what they need.

Driving your business without a dashboard is like driving a car without one. It’s vital to know where you are going and how you are getting there. If you’re interested in making the most out of your data, Spud Software can help. We will define what metrics are most important to your company, then design a solution that meets your specific needs. With the right business dashboard, you can have your company speeding down the road to success.