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Great Dashboards Are Key to the Best Business Intelligence

Published on: May 09, 2018

business intelligenceSage Intelligence Delivers on Its Promises

Business intelligence solutions can help you find, assess, and use data aggregated from many departments within your company. The MIT Sloan Management Review reports that 91% of executives are either planning a big data initiative or have such an initiative in progress. Clearly, data and analytics remain an important component of business success.

One often overlooked part of the success of any business intelligence initiative is the user interface or the dashboard through which you manage the information received from the system. Without good dashboards, your data initiative may not be as successful as you hope it will be.

Reasons Why Data Initiatives Fail

Too much of a good thing is often just as bad as not enough of a good thing. That’s often the case with data where too much data can result in inactivity. Such “data fatigue” can lead to people abandoning business intelligence solutions before they’ve really given them a chance to succeed.

To reduce data fatigue, you can take several steps to improve business reporting. Implementing a standard reporting process is a great first step. So, too, is deciding upon a standard set of business reports that everyone agrees are necessary. This reduces the number of reports to a level all stakeholders can feel comfortable with and use.

The last step is one of the most important steps to reduce data fatigue and increase the usefulness of business reports. Building an executive dashboard that provides users with exactly what they want and need to know is the right step to reduce data fatigue and increase the usefulness of your existing business intelligence system.

The Power of Dashboards in Business Intelligence Solutions

Enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) provide data on various departments in your company. Business intelligence solutions such as Sage Business Intelligence aggregate the data flowing in from different areas into reports that can be viewed and shared to better understand the data.

To get the most out of your business intelligence solution, it is vital that you build dashboards that suit the needs of the users. There’s often a push for a “one size fits all” dashboard from well-meaning IT folks, but users need the flexibility to customize their dashboards for their unique role in the company and the information that is most useful to their jobs. The CEO needs very different information than the warehouse manager, for example, and each person should have a dashboard that reflects those needs.

To build a useful and powerful dashboard for your business intelligence system, use the following questions as a guide.

  • What do you want the dashboard to do?
  • What are your goals for business reporting?
  • How will you measure the success of business reporting?
  • What metrics should we measure? What do you care about?
  • Which metrics do you use frequently?

The answers to these questions can help you determine what should be prominently displayed on the dashboard and what may be kept in a secondary drop-down menu or another place on the user dashboard. Prioritize the features and functions that people need and you’ll build dashboards that are useful and easy to understand.

Tips for Building Great Dashboards in Business Intelligence Systems

  1. Prioritize based on action. Emphasize data on the dashboard upon which executives can take action. Although executives might be curious about website data, if they aren’t going to take action on the numbers, don’t include them on the dashboard. Instead, talk to your executive team about their most pressing concerns and make sure that the data they need is front and center.
  2. Keep navigation and views simple. Another tip for building executive dashboards for business reporting is to keep them as simple as possible. Don’t try to do too much on one dashboard. Keep it to about one page. Remember that people do not take the time to read the text. Simple icons and short text blurbs that provide as much information in the shortest time-frame possible are ideal ways to organize a dashboard so that it will be used frequently for business reporting.
  3. Use sub-menus for depth. Another way to make business reporting dashboards indispensable for executives is to add depth to the reports. Instead of just data, make it useful data. Add annotations, explanations, and visualizations that enhance data so it can convey as much information as possible at a glance.

Context is also important for adding depth. The context through which reports are viewed can help users make accurate conclusions. Provide as much context as needed to help people understand the parameters of the data shared and how to use it effectively.

Sage Intelligence: Business Intelligence Redefined

Sage Enterprise Intelligence can help you overcome that feeling of being lost in a sea of data. This business intelligence solution integrates easily with Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3), Sage 300cloud (formerly known as Sage 300), and most ERP systems for a seamless experience from day one. You can tie multiple databases together for real-time reporting and manage reports, sales pipelines, and more with drag and drop functionality.

Take a test drive today of Sage Enterprise Intelligence with IWI Consulting Group. You’ll never go back to your old method of business intelligence reporting again once you’ve tried Sage Enterprise Intelligence.

IWI Consulting Group helps Canadian businesses and non-profits choose and adapt the best enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for their needs. Small to mid-sized companies will find the help and resources they need to choose the right software at the right value. For more information, visit IWI Consulting Group or call 1-866-916-3851.