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5 Reasons Why Dashboards Throw Spreadsheets out the “Windows”

So you haven’t made the jump to dashboards just yet… and you’re still relying on reports you’ve been using for decades. If you’re like most, you’re probably pulling numbers into Microsoft Excel or running multiple reports in different systems.

It’s time to make a change – not only for you but for your business as well.

dashboards vs Excel

Trust me, I know change is difficult. But with the right change, you will see your schedule open up, meetings become more productive, and you will even save money.  Your time will be spent on your business, not shuffling through pages upon pages of spreadsheets.

It’s okay, we’ve all been there.  The awful, day-to-day rut.  Every Monday you run the TPS or other KPI (aka key performance indicator) reports, then you spend the week going through all of the pages, sifting through any pertinent information to present to your CEO.  Then, because your company still hasn’t met their weekly deadline, you end up having to work overtime!

Streamlining your reporting with automated dashboards is the answer.  Here are some reasons why they beat Excel spreadsheets by leaps and bounds.

Streamlining your reporting with automated dashboards is the answer. Click To Tweet

1. Find everything in ONE place

Dashboards have the ability to combine all of your data into “one source of truth”. That includes those pesky spreadsheets. All of your CRMs, ERPs, EHRs, and more are centralized into one location – giving you the ability to calculate the metrics for an accurate overall picture while saving you time.

Dalton State University, for example, was reporting on over 5,000 students and required a more efficient data reporting system that could be updated in real time. By utilizing dashboards, they were able to monitor their KPIs from several platforms in one place and transformed their process. A report that typically took six months to complete, now just took a few weeks to compile the information into a handful of concise dashboards.

2. No time for real-time reporting!

In this fast-paced world, there’s no time to wait. You need to make good and accurate decisions before it’s too late and you crash. If you ask me, pulling a report should be as simple as checking the temperature of a roast in the oven. And shockingly, dashboards can do that.

Digital dashboards can be scheduled to automatically compile reports from all of your systems in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The more regularly your data is refreshed, the more accurate your results will be. This automation, not only saves you time and reduces human error, but it allows you to make decisions without having to depend on a report that would have taken hours or, worse yet, weeks.

Read next: 10 Things to Do With the Time You Used to Spend Pulling Reports

3. Leave your reading glasses and desktops at home

Have you tried opening up an Excel spreadsheet on your phone? It’s a painstaking task and impossible to see. Or maybe, I’m just blind as a bat. Dashboards are not only easier to view on mobile, but easier to look at and read at a quick glance.

Laura Manahan from Francis Tuttle Technology experienced the dashboard difference firsthand and stated that, before dashboards, nothing was easy to find and they we’re left scavenging through stacks of reports.  Now, everything is at their fingertips when they need it.

In fact, dashboards can be accessed from any desktop, phone, or tablet in its vibrant, easy-to-decipher platform. And there is no need to scroll for days looking through thousands of Excel rows and columns.

4. Performance that’s clear to see

Everyone likes to see that they are doing well! You can actually put dashboards up on large screens throughout the office so everyone can see how well you are doing. Not only that, but dashboards deliver knowledge to management and employees at all levels so they can spot problems or find trends to continue their good progress.

The team at McWane Ductile now use dashboards on a daily basis, tracking relevant KPIs such as plant work orders, plant production, and daily material cost. Since implementing wall dashboard displays, the understanding of operating costs has improved significantly. In fact, this lead to the discovery that over a million dollars had been lost in scrap material previously.

It’s clear that transparency and accountability for all parts of the organization is crucial for reporting success – and dashboards can do just that.

5. You know the drill

Unlike Uncle Buck in this scene, drilldowns shouldn’t be scary. In fact, they can be very helpful. With Excel spreadsheets, there is no way to drilldown for further information. Instead, you’re left scrolling… and scrolling…and scrolling. Dashboards, on the other hand, provide you quick snapshots that can be completely understood at a glance. But, if you wish, they also give you the ability to dig deeper into the data by clicking on a chart to reveal further detail. For this reason, the data drilldown is arguably one of the most important features of a dashboard.

Drilldowns present detailed layers of data individually, so nothing gets overlooked. It also lets the viewer choose the level and complexity of the data they want to view. If something looks out of place, you or another dashboard viewer can discover why. Figuring out the culprit is as easy clicking on the graph associated with the information.

By taking away countless hours of scouring through spreadsheets, organizations like RG Barry have been able to identify and highlight new growth opportunities that they wouldn’t have discovered through mere spreadsheets.

Digital dashboards are becoming the heart of good business decisions, while spreadsheets are becoming extinct. Spreadsheets have definitely had their day and can have their place. But if you’re looking to upgrade your reporting, now is the time to consider a solution that will save your company money and provide hidden insight that you never had access to before. A dashboard is one source of information that compiles all of your data, is visually pleasing and gives you the ability to drill down to truth.

#Dashboards are becoming the heart of business decisions, while #spreadsheets are becoming extinct. Click To Tweet

Ready to take the leap from Excel to dashboards? Check out iDashboards for free today. You won’t be disappointed.

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Marisa Pierron Enterprise Account Representative @iDashboards

Marisa Pierron works with clients to create strategic dashboard implementation plans in companies across the United States. She is a lover of travel and photography, and is always planning a new trip.


  1. Excellent read. I like this for 2 reasons. 1) the dashboards are always up to date and 2) I came from a paperless software company prior to iDB.

  2. We use Wall Displays at our company everyday. They are great for our sales competitions, fitness competitions, new hire dashboards, charity fundraiser dashboards, and upcoming events!

  3. Great article! iDashboards has streamlined so many of our cumbersome spreadsheet processes. We are using our data like never before!

  4. Good advice to take into dashboard building as well… You don’t need a ton of labels or text in a dashboard (at first glance). You want the user to digest the information (visually) then once they see an issue or trend they may want to see what the actual numbers are. That’s a good time to use a drilldown or simply the mouse over legend.

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