Dashboards and Data Viz | iDashboards Products

Data reporting and business intelligence (BI) go together like peanut butter and jelly. For many BI projects, the “technical aspect” can get a bit sticky – especially when it comes to data connections. In fact, one of the most common questions asked by new dashboarders is How can I connect my data source to my dashboard?

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“Why” Before “How”

Before you dive into how you’ll go about connecting your dashboard to your data sources, it’s important to understand why connecting multiple data sources to one dashboard is a good idea. The answer is threefold:

  • Dashboards let you view all of your data in one place
  • Dashboards let you see hidden connections between data sets
  • Dashboards eliminate the possibility of “user error”

The end result? A more efficient and more accurate data reporting system. Once your system is fully connected and up and running, you’ll be able to make faster, smarter BI decisions for your organization.

Everything in One Place

accurate dashboard data sourcesImagine keeping all of your reports in one, easy-to-access location. Sound simple? Without the right tools, it definitely isn’t. But that’s the beauty of a dashboard: the ability to view all of your data and your reports in one place even if they are not stored that way. Without a dashboard, drawing actionable information from multiple data sources is a tangled mess. In that situation, you’d spend more time trying to organize your data than you would utilize it to improve your organization. With a dashboard, though, all of the information you need is viewed in one place – and you can access it from your computer, phone, tablet, or another device.

Connecting the Dots (Comparing Data Sets)

When all of your data sets feed into the same pool of data, you have the opportunity to see unique and useful connections between metrics. Let’s say your business’ sales department showed a 15% increase this quarter. This is great information, but without additional data, you won’t be able to answer the critical question, Why? That’s where dashboards come in. When you can bring multiple strands of data into the same place, it’s easier to understand the connections between them. If, for example, you identified an increase in sales shortly after implementing training for your sales team or a new sales strategy, you could identify the reason behind your success and build on it.

Know Your Endgame: Better Reporting

The goal of any data reporting strategy is better and more accurate data – and that’s exactly what a dashboard will help you achieve. When each data set is automatically displayed in one dashboard, you eliminate the risk of “user error” when carrying over data. Additionally, you can interpret data faster and more accurately using data visualization. This increased level of accuracy is due largely to the efficiency of dashboard reporting since it eliminates the need to compare reports manually.

Read next: Reporting Sucks. Let’s Make It Better.

Connecting Your Data to a Dashboard: The Technical Aspects

dashboards data connectionsBy now, you’re probably wondering if it’s possible to connect all of your data sources to data reporting software, such as iDashboards. In short, iDashboards can most likely connect to any data source using a JDBC driver (Java Data Base Connectivity). This includes virtually any relational data source, such as:

  • SQL Server
  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • MongoDB
  • DB2
  • Excel
  • Access
  • Cache
  • And More

For additional dashboard data sources, read more about data connections on our website. If you’re ready to start connecting your data to iDashboards today, try our data reporting technology completely free of charge. If you want more information about dashboards and how they can benefit your business, visit our blog or follow us on social media.

Have additional questions about data connections and dashboards? Comment below and we’ll be happy to discuss.

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Jay Nelson Senior Support Engineer @iDashboards

Jay Nelson has been in IT for over 10 years and has been part of iDashboards for the past 3 years. As a Senior Support Engineer, he is extremely passionate about discovering connections to unknown data sources. Outside of iDashboards, Jay is a diehard Detroit Lions fan and loves spending time with his two children.


  1. Great reminder to not only start with why you want to see your data, but what specifically you want to see before you jump right into making connections and building.

  2. Very true! One of our most popular dashboards lets our staff see sales data, customer satisfaction data, and financial data all on page. It’s interesting to see how they all relate to each other, or noticing a dip in one area and being able to address before it affects the other areas.

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