How Can Your Business Leverage Dashboards and Data Visualization

Big data is at the heart of every business these days. It’s so all-encompassing that the digital universe is expected to contain 44 trillion gigabytes of information by 2020. Data is meant to be put to good use by profit-making entities. SMBs can leverage big data by using the latest dashboard and data visualization innovations.

Incorporate these insights should you invest in a BI service/software (highly recommended).

Define Your Goals

Goal-setting is an integral part of any business planning. A dashboard for your BI tool can be customized to only include the most relevant and up-to-date information. Dashboards can also be personalized and tailor-made to suit individual departments.

With an easy-to-navigate dashboard, you can instantly determine the progress of company goals and evaluate individual and collective team performance.

Observe Your Metrics

Metrics are vital for predictive analytics. Your dashboard can display your metrics as the data is updated 24/7 in real-time. This will help you determine whether goals are being met at any given moment.

Of course, for the data to be useful, you need to come up with metrics that are relevant to begin with. Even the latest BI tools are of no use if the metrics are too generic (i.e. monthly revenue) or are irrelevant to your industry. Metrics should be specific and include a specific sect of your demographic. Examples include:

  • male-to-female ratio of your loyalty program
  • sales of a particular product according to geo-demographic
  • email response rate according to day of week and time of day

Once you have a set of clearly defined metrics, set the dashboard to present the data in an easy-to-read chart.

Mobile-Friendly and Web-Based

The BYOD environment is proliferating across industries. The global BYOD market is expected to reach $58.6 billion in 2017, up from $24.26 billion in 2011. The dashboard should be accessible across multiple devices, including versions optimized for mobile users.

In addition, the BI tool should also be stored in a cloud and not in an in-house data warehouse. This ensures seamless accessibility and scalability across users. It also ensures the BI system is not dependent on the health of your in-house server and storage, which is vulnerable to technical issues, data breaches, and natural and manmade disasters.

Strip the Complexity out of the Data

Data grows exponentially as a company grows. Some companies just let the data pile up on their Excel sheet and interpret the data by reading row after row and column after column of numbers, letters, and symbols. This can be overwhelming to the human eye and lead to data deluge.

This is where data visualization comes in and nullifies the mess of an overpopulated Excel sheet. Most modern BI tools can instantly convert the data into an easy-to-discern chart of your choice. This includes various charts and bar graphs you deem most useful for your users. This eliminates the need for an internal IT team to dissect the data and spend hours creating an organized report. What previously required a separate department can now be automated.

Immediately Identify New Opportunities

With automated reports, you can quickly evaluate progress and determine the next course of action. Data visualization lets you immediately identify important steps to take based on in-company occurrences, such as:

  • a drop in sales
  • certain consumer patterns within a geographic demographic
  • a potential data breach
  • the success of a certain promo or sales event
  • individual employee performances

These occurrences influence the proper next step of action, which would never have been apparent without the advent of modern data storytelling. Essentially, big data gives you the ability to make educated decisions instead of relying on broad metrics.

Customize Your Data Visuals

You have access to an assortment of charts and graphs. However, like selecting the right metrics and key performance indicators, it’s up to you to determine the right type of chart, color keys, and so on. A pie chart, for example, becomes difficult to read if there are too many data sets involved. In this instance, a bubble chart or scatter plot graph may be more useful for dealing with high-volume data sets. An up-to-date BI tool offers many visualization modes to suit various industry needs.

Collaborate with your team to determine a charting style that is simple to decipher for every person accessing the data. Remember this: the chart should be easy to read. Focus on practicality rather than glitz. With that in mind, use colors sparingly, just enough to mark off chart areas and axes. Color overuse creates a visually impressive but confusing chart.

Big data is already the norm, so it has to be involved in your business model in one way or another. The way to get started is through a top-tier tool for predictive modeling offering the latest in dashboard customization and data visualization options.

Lucy Boyle (@BoyleLucy2), is a full-time mother, blogger and freelance business consultant, interested in finance, business, home gardening and mental health.