Dashboards and Data Viz

No matter the area of business you’re in these days, performance monitoring is quickly becoming a way of life for most organizations.  With the onslaught of a tumbling economy, government initiatives to further regulate industry, or a board of directors challenging the organization to optimize the way it does business, it’s no wonder so many companies are now looking to performance monitoring tools to unify the way they track their key performance indicators (KPIs).

Consider the vast array of tools that currently exist to assist an organization in tracking key metrics.  Now what is the value to the end user?  How are you getting your information and at what cost?  Certainly looking at thousands of rows of data may provide the answers you’re looking for, but the impending task can seem not only monotonous, extracting a reasonable conclusion can prove extraordinarily difficult as well.  Dashboards offer the end-user a unique way to view, filter, and drill into data, giving them the opportunity to quickly draw conclusions and correlate results from many different data sets.  In addition to all of this, many areas can be measured all from a single view.  While one chart from a dashboard can reference a performance indicator, another on the same dashboard could be presenting the risk factor directly associated with that KPI.  Perhaps, as a hospital system struggling to stay on top of HIPPA compliance, you’re looking for a solution to assist in monitoring that.  Instead of paging through documents and reports, imagine having them all compiled on one dashboard displaying your results in real-time.  Dashboard solutions are designed by nature to provide an at-a-glance view into the metrics you need to run your business.

Read next: The History of the History of Data Visualization

Let’s not stop there though.  Dashboards can be taken a step further offering you not only a unique view into your data; they can also provide unification.  Whether tying multiple departments together, or just several related metrics, a properly assembled dashboard can give you the at-a-glance view you need to evaluate performance.  Imagine on one dashboard viewing, not only your performance indicators, but the risk scores associated with that activity.  Now add a chart for compliance and you’ve given yourself not only a glance at how you’re performing, but a full risk analysis with a compliance report.  Imagine the agility that could be achieved by looking at a dashboard and being able to react and make decisions based on that real-time data versus thumbing through rows upon rows of data.  The ROI is right there, having not wasted hours performing the analysis yourself; you’ve made the decision in a fraction of the time and possibly caught potentially costly errors before they became such.  Or perhaps you hit all your targets, have nothing to worry about, and can now deliver a professional report to management.

The technology exists, in most cases the data is there, now it’s just a matter of finding the right solution.

Jason Wolan, iDashboards