Can You Ask Your Dashboard Why?

How Leading Teams Are Getting Closer to Their Data

Data has replaced oil as the most valuable asset on earth. And just like oil, data needs to be processed before it can be used. The tangible value of oil is manifested when it can be used to propel vehicles, heat homes, generate electricity, and make plastics. The tangible value of data is manifested when it fuels impactful decisions and drives action.

But like the complex process of refining crude oil into useful substances, turning data points into impactful action is no easy feat. The best solution — up until now — has been the dashboard.

Dashboards make data actionable by making it visual. And humans are visual creatures — more than 50% of our brains are dedicated to the processing of visual information. A team of neuroscientists from MIT discovered that the human brain can process entire images the eye sees in as little as 13 milliseconds. With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being produced every day, it’s easy to see how dashboards have emerged as one of the most effective ways of translating so much information into meaningful insights.

By representing KPIs, metrics, and critical data points as charts, graphs, gauges, and other visualizations, more people across an organization can understand the context around data points, draw insightful conclusions, and make better decisions. But even though they open data up to more people, dashboards are no panacea.

It’s Not Me, It’s You: Breaking up with the Dashboard

Despite their utility and ease of use, many people in the analytics world are falling out of love with dashboards.

The limitations dashboards impose on decision making are causing leading organizations to snap out of the honeymoon phase and rethink the dashboard’s place in their business. Some leading analytics tools are taking it to the extreme and calling for the death of the dashboard!

What about dashboards is responsible for the love lost?

4 Benefits of the Dashboard

Dashboards make data easier to understand

By representing data visually, people of all technical skill levels and roles can get a high-level understanding of even the most complex data. Combing through multiple spreadsheets and documents is much more difficult and time consuming.

You can keep track of multiple KPIs at once

Dashboards are easy to scan. Data from multiple tools and platforms can be represented in one centralized view, making it easy to keep track of multiple KPIs at a glance. Data can be grouped together to provide additional context so the impact on the business can be more easily seen and understood.

Dashboards make reporting easier

When KPIs are standardized and visually represented, it’s easy to track performance over time and identify trends. Teams don’t have to wait on management or data experts to provide them with regular reports because they can go straight to the updated dashboard and get a sense for how things are performing.

They help keep everyone on the same page

Not only are dashboards accessible to a wide variety of people, they’re also shareable. Most dashboards can be linked to, emailed, embedded or exported as PDFs. This helps keep everyone in alignment and working toward the same goals.

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