Stop Drowning In Data

January 31, 2017 By Dave Chase

Okay, work with us here as we go a little metaphorical.

Say your business data is an ocean and you’re stuck in the middle of it in a dingy without any of the essentials. Now imagine you’re starting to get really thirsty. What do you do? Well, unless you’re MacGyver and can quickly whip up a desalinization filter from fish scales, old chewing gum and a broken oar, you’re out of luck.

Translation? Your existing business systems already surround you in vast amounts of data about your company, but unless it’s in a form you can really use, it’s not very helpful.

Fortunately, a solution already exists in the form of something called an executive dashboard.

Basically, a dashboard is a powerful data visualization tool that gives you quick and constant access to your organization’s performance in real time. By connecting with your key business systems via an application programming interface (or API), your dashboard can pull in the data you select into one simplified graphical interface.

So how do you make sure your dashboard provides the information and insights you need? We recommend the following:

  1. Choose your dashboard application carefully. There are a lot of solutions on the market — from free, no-frills options to sophisticated applications that let you heavily customize what you’re measuring and how it displays your data.  Once set up, the ability of each solution to later customize your analyses ranges from simple to staggeringly complex, so consider that in your selection.
  2. Identify key performance indicators. A dashboard is only valuable if it tracks metrics that are critical to your company. Focus your efforts on the one or two key areas in every part of your business that will make the biggest impact.
  3. Don’t go it alone. Whether they’re internal or external, you need a champion to help identify the right KPIs and to be constantly fine-tuning your dashboard so you can make good decisions quickly.  The financial industry calls these champions FP&A, or Financial Planning & Analysis personnel. The tech community refers to them as Data Scientists. Whatever you call them, you need the human side to help analyze and interpret.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to stop wading through excessive amounts of unnecessary data. The right dashboard solution for you is already out there and can make a big difference in your ability to direct your company going forward.

Are you ready to make finance

a competitive advantage?