Data dashboards are information management tools that visually track, analyze and display key performance indicators (KPI), metrics and key data points to monitor the health of a business, department or specific process. Custom dashboards are designed to meet the specific needs of a department and company. It is an efficient way to track multiple data sources as it provides a single unified platform for businesses to monitor and analyze performance. Real-time monitoring reduces hours of analyzing and diminishes line of communication that previously challenged businesses.

Real Time Data Dashboards for Small Businesses

Empowering few team members with real-time data, coming in from multiple locations, small business owners can make data-driven decisions which will contribute to the growth of their organization. Digital reporting and dashboards can dramatically improve business performance with the right tools and strategies. A few benefits small businesses can gain from dashboards:

  • Key metrics from multiple sources can be analyzed on a single unified platform in real time.
  • Saves time & cost with the hassle free and user-friendly interface.
  • They offer performance indicators and help compare data coming in from multiple platforms leading towards data driven decision-making.
  • Measuring critical business insights on a single integrated platform helps to improve results which in turn leads to increased productivity and profits.

Each department or team can have its own dashboard as well as individual dashboard for monitoring performance on both business and individual level. Measuring key insights and data that matters, will help improve performance. The first step in building a dashboard is identifying the right targets and KPIs. For small businesses, these should include; Sales value and revenue, Customer retention, Cost-per-acquisition, Monthly profits and gross income and Overheads.

For any business, the ultimate goal is to make profits. That is why financial dashboards are important for small businesses. Generally small business dashboards focus on two things: revenue and expenses. Tracking overall profit gives an idea of the direction in which the business is headed and how fast it is getting there. A few important metrics small business dashboards should track include are overall revenue, repeat customers, average size of sale & overhead expense.

Today, project managers deal with increasingly complex systems. The nuances of managing remote projects and maintaining an uninterrupted level of communication with stakeholders. Project management dashboards can help project managers maintain control of a project. A project management dashboard derives values from the analysis of data from across the project. These dashboards help project managers avoid micromanaging projects, which helps to build an understanding among stakeholders, executives and staff members. Better collaboration is the hallmark of an effective project management dashboard. Dashboards can be leveraged to improve the efficiency and workflows of almost any part of a project.

Success of Business Dashboards

Good reporting provides information, but great reporting helps in decision-making. The requirements for a successful small business dashboard should be:

  • Relays simple, actionable reports.
  • Easy to interpret and deploy to employees.
  • Accessible from any device, even your mobile phone.
  • Promotes informed, analytical decisions.

Tips & Tricks from Experts

  • Get inspiration from others. When you come across great visualization, examine it and consider any aspects that would benefit your business.
  • Avoid the temptation to throw in every possible applicable chart or graph. The trick is to remove as much possible while ensuring the end user gets the right insights. This is often an iterative process.
  • When placing objects on a dashboard, consider a grid format as it helps provide a reading order, allowing users to guide themselves through it in a predictable and logical way.
  • Avoid using too many font types and sizes. Define a clear hierarchy for the typography.
  • Simplify the use of color. Justify every color used; why you chose it, and what it communicates to users.
  • Use techniques that hit users with the most vital information immediately, and charts provide further context.
  • Time and collaboration will bring out the best representation of the data. Other’s opinions will bring you fresh perspectives.

When the ball gets rolling

The two important things to remember after creating a dashboard are to never put the dashboard on autopilot and to gather enough data before making any changes. Do not implement any changes until the results can be predicted with the information already collected. Monitor the dashboard and look for new ways to improve it. In the end, remember that the dashboard is just a tool. The easier it is to use, the more it is adopted, and the more positive impact it will have on the business.