If you sat down with a panel of business men and asked them what their key performance indicators are, each one would likely give you a different metric based on their company and their position within that company. However, what all will agree on is that having easy access to that data makes it easier for them to make important decisions in a timely manner. Corporate dashboards were created to address this need.
What is a Corporate Dashboard?
A corporate dashboard is a type of software that gathers key performance data from various systems and displays it in a single easy to ready format. The term dashboard comes from the similarity to the dials that appear in the dashboard of a car. This is a departure from previous business products, in that instead of storing data and then spitting it back out in the form of a report, it mines the plethora of data created by business and makes something meaningful out of it. This process is called data mining.
Data mining programs like the corporate dashboard take multiple data points compare them and calculate to give the user figures that they can use. Take for instance a restaurant with a drive thru window. One of the restaurant’s key performance measures is total time in the drive through. An executive of this restaurant could pull a report that listed the drive thru times of all of the restaurants in the chain, but this would prove time consuming, resource intensive, and what he sees there unlikely to be as useful as he had hoped. A corporate dashboard would have a graph that displays average drive thru times on a companywide level, in real time. As an added bonus this manager would also be able to pin point the location or area where the numbers are subpar because the dashboard provides him an easy way to drill down from displaying drive thru times at a national level all the way to drive thru times at a regional or individual store level. This kind of minute real time data provides the user with timely information that he/she can act on quickly.
What am I looking for in a Dashboard?
There are many kinds of dashboard products out there. Some you can purchase independently and others that come as part of an overall enterprise resources management system. Regardless of which you choose to go with you need to be looking for some important features:
1. Compatibility- Can this product integrate all of the systems your company uses? The accuracy of information on a dashboard is only as complete as the data that you provide it. If your dashboard can’t talk to all of your programs, then you may not have access to all of the data you need to make sound decisions.
2. Customizability- Your dashboard should not only be customizable for your business, but on an individual level. Why? The key performance metrics for your human resources group are different than your key performance metrics for your sales department. Both can benefit from the dashboard but only if they can customize what they see individually to their needs. In addition, you should be looking for customizable alerts that allow your system to display things like upcoming due dates or certain metrics falling below a minimum acceptable level.
3. Scalability- Successful businesses don’t stay small forever, so it is critical that you implement software solutions that will grow with you. The more business you do the more data your dashboard will have to process in order to display information for you. An inability to handle the influx of data could lead to delays in processing that lead to data that is no longer accurate in real time.
What is my Next Step?
If you have decided that a corporate dashboard project might be right for you, you should contact an IT consultant immediately. An IT consultant can help you choose a product that will meet the needs of your business. In addition, they can help with the integration and data change over. At Nourtek Solutions we specialize in business process automation products like corporate dashboards. If you are interested in getting corporate dashboards for your business please contact us today!