Mark Bliss Senior Marketing Manager @iDashboards

Mark Bliss is the Senior Manager in charge of demand generation at iDashboards. He’s passionate about all things sales and marketing, and he invests time each week developing important life skills like patience and resiliency by watching Detroit Lions football games.

Dashboards and Data Viz

You can’t bore your clients into better understanding. It’s important to get data to your clients when they need it, and it’s important to put data into a format that is easily understood by your client and moves them toward positive action. Accountants, consultants, analysts and Fortune 500 clients are having great success by reporting back to their clients with interactive dashboards.

Here are three examples:

  • The world’s largest distributor of technology products had been sending weekly reports to its largest 2,000+ customers regarding their purchases; however, their customers were drowning in the well-tabulated data contained in these reports. The company realized their customers would be better served with insightful dashboards displaying data graphically, with drilldown options and visual analytics so they made the switch to those dashboards. They built a single set of dashboards and using the “filter by user” function now provide customized dashboards that their customers can access live from any Internet-enabled device.
  • A large travel-related services organization had been reporting travel spend to thousands of accounts in massive spreadsheets that didn’t really tell the most important story: how much money were they saving the client? These reports provided travel spend aggregated by department, location and region, all broken into various categories – air, hotel, cab, auto-rental, meals and entertainment. One of their client managers decided to break the status quo by championing a set of dashboards for his select few clients so they could see the value of the relationship with the service organization. The manager worked with iDashboards’ cloud-based offering and had dashboards to his client in about a week, starting with a dashboard that clearly shows the cost savings provided by the vendor. When rolled out at a client meeting, the manager and his team got a standing ovation and the initiative was so successful that other client executives have persuaded their leadership to adopt customer-facing dashboards for other key accounts.
  • An accounting firm was looking for a meaningful way to report back to their clients. They wanted full mobility so their clients could grab a dashboard on their iPad, as well as the ability to customize dashboards for specific clients. They used iDashboards to build a “suite” of dashboards that are standardized (again using “filter by user”) but also have complete flexibility to create custom dashboards for specific clients as needed.

It’s 2015. Are you still reporting in Excel like it’s 1985? (Did you know Ronald Reagan was President when Excel was introduced?) Whether you’re a single consultant or a Fortune 100 company, you probably share the same issue as the clients mentioned above: How do we get data to our customers in a meaningful and insightful way?

Interestingly, in all the examples above there is a great IT staff and meaningful reporting, but when it came to sharing information with their clients, IT wasn’t able to make the desired changes. In each case, it was someone outside of IT who became the champion of getting data into a format that was more meaningful to the client.

It shouldn’t take much imagination to put yourself into your customer’s shoes, because we are all customers of other products and services. If you’re sending reports and spreadsheets overloaded with data, are your clients finding them overwhelming and of little value? Every customer needs something that will deliver intelligence and insight into the products and services they buy and you should be providing that to them.

Wouldn’t it be nice if each of your vendors were to take the initiative to add value to the data they are collecting and present it in a graphical dashboard with quick insights? If your company is reporting back to your clients, wouldn’t it benefit them (and you) to provide that reporting in a way that is meaningful and creates positive action? Dashboards don’t just have to be internal facing – consider the ways they can help you as you communicate with your clients.



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