As seen in GovCIO Outlook’s April 2016 Issue.
The elevation in the availability of data is transforming the way in which government agencies execute their critical decisions. These large sets of data integrated from myriad systems can only be productive if they are structured and analyzed to generate insightful federal reports. A dynamic and intuitive presentation of these reports can further enhance the overall decision-making capabilities of government agencies. This is where dashboards assist in providing easy sharing of relevant metrics with the public, as well as efficient collaboration between departments of a state, local or federal entity. “Many dashboard software solutions are not up to the mark and fail to handle large sets of unstructured data,” begins Trip Dixon, Operations Director, iDashboards. “Also, these tools largely emphasize on data warehousing and predictive analytics, and the major reporting and dashboard functionalities are unfortunately sidelined.”
Headquartered in Troy, MI, iDashboards helps government organizations consolidate multiple data sources, such as FPDS-NG, USA Spending.Gov, DSBS and others, and visually displays it in customized charts, graphs, and scorecards. By utilizing data visualization, government bureaus can easily spot trends and discover hidden correlations for effective decision making. “With iDashboards’ intuitive drag and drop user interface, no programming or coding is required, so users don’t need an IT background to use it,” says Dixon. “The software gives federal agencies the tools they need to deliver real-time, customized dashboards to employees, executives and the general public.” This tool helps in creating dashboards that display budget and grant allocations, track crime data, monitor parks and recreation passes, present community outreach and educational initiatives, assess project performance, and much more.
“Thanks to our patented Interactive Intelligence interface, the dashboard graphics are dynamic, engaging and, above all, easy to understand,” asserts Dixon.
iDashboards delivers its solution in two ways, On-premises and Cloud. The On-premises version of iDashboards’ software resides on the client’s server, behind their firewall, so the data and dashboards are easily accessible and become an integral part of their IT infrastructure. Further, the company’s Cloud version hosts cloud-based SaaS software on iDashboards’ servers while connecting to the client’s data sources. Users can access dashboards via computers, tablets or smartphones without the need to log into the network. “Our innovative software package helps agencies present dashboards to a wide audience on large displays in a slideshow view as well. They can create team visibility in common areas such as lobbies, floors and conference rooms,” states Dixon.
For instance, the Park District of Oak Park (PDOP) lacked an effective system to collect and visualize data in a timely manner, which affected their ability to make smarter decisions and track performance of their mission and strategic initiatives. PDOP chose to implement iDashboards’ data visualization solution. The government dashboards provided at-a-glance insight for PDOP to immediately identify trends and quickly drill down into data to gain enhanced perspectives on what is working and what is not. “iDashboards’ software tools have been exceptional for us and the insight that it has given has been critical in streamlining our processes and becoming more efficient in our day-to-day tasks,” says Bobbi Nance, Project Manager.
Moving ahead, iDashboards will look to configure innovative enhancements to their dashboard software. “Recently we have improved our mapping capabilities, which involve government customers, so they can deploy data points in many different ways on interactive maps and can enable interaction with them,” affirms Dixon. “Adding new functionalities to the software, such as new ways to visualize data and make it very easy for quick deployments of dashboards, is really our focus for the next couple of years,” concludes Dixon.
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Even if you’re not the artistic type, this guide will have you thinking like a graphic designer and making informed choices that support your data narrative.