Digital dashboards are really another name for a “progress report” or “performance report”. They’re usually displayed on a web page that’s linked to a data source or database allowing the report to be constantly updated. Instead of having staff spend precious time on manually creating reports, digital dashboards can feed report data directly from the various platforms you already use, and when set-up correctly, can create detailed granular or overview reports that combine this data in a meaningful way.
Like the car dashboard that the digital dashboard derives it’s name from, you can monitor all the major functions of your business at a glance, enabling you to make sure you’re headed in the right direction at any given moment. Being able to check in regularly, with up to the minute data means you don’t get any unexpected surprises. Would you check your car dash only once every week or month?
A major strength of digital dashboard’s is how it allows decision makers to monitor the contribution of various departments or combine multiple pieces of activity, for making truly informed course corrections. To gauge how well an organisation is performing overall, these dashboards facilitate capturing and reporting on specific sets of data, providing a customisable and manipulable performance snapshot.
But the real power of a dashboard is in the visuals. Let’s be honest, looking at rows and rows of columns in a table worksheet or deciphering an unformatted xml query are things that deliver no comparative information.
Dashboards convert that data into information by using visual representation and allowing your brain to concentrate on the specifics of simply: what’s good and what’s bad. By highlighting these in pictures, the process of performance monitoring is streamlined and lets you get on to identifying and correcting negative trends.
A quality digital dashboard communicates its intent easily, with minimum distractions. The construction of the visual needs to be clear and should be constructed with meaningful and useful data. Consider who’s going to be using the dashboard, as different end users will need different layers of detail, and have data construed in different ways. Good information designs will clearly communicate to the users and makes acting on it much easier.
Previously only for large corporations because of it’s prohibitive cost, dashboarding is now available to SMEs. Providers like Sydney’s Gammaworks, partnered with Klipfolio, are now providing custom dashboarding solutions to businesses large and small, with a variety of information challenges being overcome.
Dashboarding in other words is: Quick. Smart.