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Alicia Beaubien Senior Content Manager @iDashboards

As a part of the iDashboards team since 2011, Alicia focuses on all things content and social media. Outside of the marketing realm, Alicia considers herself an athlete at heart – despite her height and typical clumsiness.

Dashboards and Data Viz


Big data, it’s all we hear. It’s in the news, social media and all over the internet. But what really classifies as big data and how do you utilize it effectively?

According to Gartner, big data is defined as “high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety of information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.” The definition in itself can sound a little overwhelming. In other words, big data is data that you have access to on a daily basis.

How do we take your everyday data and turn it into information that can empower you to make better business decisions? The answer is CVS – not the pharmacy, but rather the method and acronym for Consolidate, Visualize and Share.

1. Consolidate It
Every piece of data serves an important role in your decision-making process and should be managed carefully. Similar to most companies, you probably have multiple databases, a CRM, an ERP, an accounting solution, a marketing automation system, and several Excel spreadsheets. If you’re pulling individual reports from each data source, it can be extremely time consuming – not to mention you’re not getting the most of your big data.

Find a data management solution that allows your data sources to communicate with each other. For example, Sleep Innovations, a large mattress manufacturer, was able to save over $1 million annually with a company-wide initiative to consolidate and visualize their data. By consolidating data sources, you’ll find hidden trends and outliers that you might have overlooked by just examining the one database– saving both time and money.

2. Visualize It
Ever look at a spreadsheet and wonder what you’re really looking at? I know I’ve gotten lost in a spreadsheet that I’ve even created! Our brains are constantly at work, craving color and action. What if you could turn your data into something that is engaging and interactive? Dashboards do just that. Dashboards are visual depictions of your data relayed in the form of charts and graphs that can be understood at-a-glance.

Look at the image below, which one allows you to easily determine the product that sold the most last year? Or which screen allows you to quickly find when sales were at an all-time high? My guess is that you picked the dashboard. By using data visualizations like dashboards, you can consolidate all your data sources into a single platform that enables you to see patterns and benchmarks throughout your department and/or organization.

Big Data Dashboard

3. Share It
You can discover powerful information in your big data, but if it isn’t shared effectively the insight will be lost. There are numerous ways to disperse information without worrying about data security. Spreadsheets, PowerPoints and dashboards are typically safe and effective ways to communicate goals.

Data can be shared by paper reports, displayed on internet or intranet websites, or promoted by digital monitors throughout your office. For example, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System uses LCD screens in each medical unit to promote transparency, improve accountability and enhance performance. They recently won the American Hospital Association’s Most Wired Innovator Award for their vast improvements in safety and quality care, which they’ve accredited to the dashboard LCD screens.

By using the CVS method, you’ll encourage healthy competition while allowing everyone to clearly see where thresholds lie. From that point, discussions will arise, helping determine the best way to obtain goals. Although the CVS method is not all inclusive, it is a great place to start transforming your big data into even better big(ger) data.

Interested in learning more about dashboards? Check out our whitepapers to find out more.



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