The whole point of a business dashboard is to help you make better decisions, not create more decisions!
The good news – making those decisions doesn’t have to be hard. With the right resources at hand, you’re closer to dashboard building than you think.
The chances are that you’re ready to move away from the frustrations of building the same reports in Excel month after month. You want a well-designed dashboard that will cut through the noise, delivering key pieces of information in an easily understood way.
But how do you get started? When all you want is to see your data, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the steps and considerations involved. You’re probably closer to dashboard building than you think.
The ingredients you’ll need are:
- The right data
- the correct tools
- the right charts
- the right layout
Take a step back for a moment:
1. The right data – it’s right there!
You already know the important metrics for your business, your goals for those metrics, and you’re already tracking them at regular time intervals. Besides, if you’re already building monthly reports, then you’ve already gathered that information into one place.
Start with your most recent monthly report and rank the metrics in order of importance.
2. The right tools – easy does it
There’s a wealth of tools available for dashboarding, and therefore any number of ways to evaluate which one is the best fit for your business. But when you’re just getting started, the most important factors are ease of use and ease of access. Here are some of the options that are easy to get started with. All of which are either available for free, or offer a free trial period to get you going:
- Tableau (https://www.tableau.com/products/desktop/download)
- Power BI (https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/)
- Qlikview (https://www.qlik.com/us/try-or-buy/download-qlik-sense)
- Klipfolio (https://www.klipfolio.com/features)
- Google Data Studio (https://datastudio.google.com/overview)
3. The right charts – listen to the pros
Some charts make relationships in your data obvious. However, others can obscure or even mislead you. So while choosing the right charts is an important part of the process, it doesn’t have to be a difficult one.
We have put together a guide to choosing the right graph for every type of data. Download your copy here. From there, drag-and-drop in the dashboard tool of your choice, and you’ll be well on your way.
If you’re using Tableau, it’s even simpler – the ‘Show Me’ button in the top-right will select the most appropriate chart for the types of data you’re comparing. Simple!
Whatever you do, don’t let me catch you using a pie chart! Why you need to stop using pie charts
4. The right layout – less is more
The most common mistake beginners make when building dashboards is throwing in too many charts and metrics. Not only does this visual clutter weaken your audience’s attention, it means that unnecessary or irrelevant data is taking focus away from the metrics that matter most.
This is where ranking your metrics in order of importance becomes key.
Limit your dashboard to a single screen, and give those most important metrics the attention they deserve – bring them to the top, make them big, and leave space around them.
If you’re using Klipfolio, its ready-made templates can help you choose an effective layout that brings the right metrics into focus.
Where to next?
Congratulations, you now have what it takes to bring your data into dashboards!
Built once and used often, an effective dashboard can transform the way your business makes decisions. Share your dashboard with its intended audience and let them see the key metrics behind your business from a fresh perspective.
There are always ways to improve and enhance your dashboards. Whether it’s interactivity, integrated data sources, automated updates, or cloud-based access on any device at any time, Syntagium are experts in transforming an organisation’s data into insights that enhance strategic decision making.
To find out more about how Syntagium can help you get the most value from your data, get in touch.