From support tickets, emails, sales funnels and website visitors to accounts receivable, employee scheduling and payroll, much data is going on in your business.
You may need more than a table and a bar chart in Excel to properly apply all that data in your company and draw the correct conclusions about how your business is doing.
If you want to create a straightforward narrative from the information from the other departments, it is valuable to see at a glance the information that pertains to your entire company. Usually, this involves loading all this data into a dashboard.
But what, then is this added value of such a dashboard?
Getting the correct information quickly and easily
Imagine this: Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. and Monday morning, you have a meeting with the MT. They want to know how things are going this quarter, and it’s up to you to present this. Your PowerPoint is 80% finished, but the sales manager still needs to send you something. You call him, and he says that he is still with that vital customer and that he will make it after the weekend. The conversation ends in a discussion in which the sales manager says he thinks visiting a customer is more important than making a report to you.
If this sounds familiar, it will save you a tremendous amount of time and energy to link these data sources so that everyone can access the same data. Besides the convenience of quick reporting, it is also lovely to keep a finger on the pulse in the meantime.
Up-to-date and immediately available
When data from different sources are linked to your data warehouse, and you visualise this in a dashboard, you have a real-time overview of what is happening in your company at any time. Consider for example financial information, your sales dashboard and funnel, logistics, products, customer contact, and marketing reports.
Because the data remains continuously up to date, you can assume that you are always looking at the most current information, and because the info now includes multiple departments, you can more easily see connections and see where things are going right or just where they are going wrong, sometimes even before a capital blunder is committed.
There are numerous dashboarding tools on the market. Microsoft’s PowerBI is the most widely used, but you also see Qlik increasingly these days. Salesforce has its dashboarding tool with Tableau under its label, and Google is also not missing from this list with Looker.
All noses are in the same direction
It’s Monday morning, and you’re at the head of the conference table with a screen behind you with your presentation. Somehow you managed to get some information from the last quarter through someone in sales. Your favourite sales manager is talking about how excellent his quarter was, how many customer visits his team made, and how much business is in the pipeline.
The CFO interrupts him, says that’s okay, given the cash flow, and asks him to show that slide in your PowerPoint. This ends in an argument about who is right, and the meeting lasts half an hour longer, and no one is pleased afterwards.
One truth, but the correct version
Because in the example above, finance and sales don’t understand each other’s numbers, they assume their own source and truth. If all data is streamlined and displayed from a data warehouse in a dashboard, all parties also think their truth, but that truth is the same for everyone. A Single Source of Truth is called this. Because everyone starts from the same information, all data is put in the proper perspective of each other, and you get the noses in the same direction.
An additional benefit of visualising your data in a dashboard is that you can communicate the data to others easily. Only some people are experts in your field and discover patterns and trends as you can. It would be nice if you could explain your findings to others. If you can make your reports idiot-proof, getting your managers and team members on board with the decisions is more accessible.
Make better decisions
Some decisions are not accessible. There may even be some sentiment behind them. Gut feeling, instinct, intuition, call it what you will, but if you base your decision-making on data instead of gut feeling, you can justify them more easily. When your data quality is good, facts play a role in determining your strategy. This ensures, for example, that you get more out of your team, increase your customer satisfaction or your margin, and at the bottom line, that you make decisions with more confidence.
Please contact us if you are considering using BI in your organisation but are unsure what it takes.
We’ll be happy to explain how you can save more time, money and energy to do what you do best!