As of June, 2017, Facebook had over 2 billion monthly users. In other words, if Facebook were its own country, it would be the largest country in the world. There are over 3.5 billions searches per day on Google alone. The English language has over 250% as many words as there were when Shakespeare was alive. Needless to say, we live in the Information Age. All of the information available is a great benefit, but it can provide its own set of unique challenges too.
One way to limit the challenges of too much information is through using a dashboard. Business dashboards actually got their name from automobile dashboards. Functionally, they are similar as well. Vehicles have hundreds of processes that are taking place below the dashboard that influence the performance of the vehicle. In the same way, business dashboards summarize the unseen events of your business using visualization.
1) Actionable Insights
The first way visual analytics will change your business is through delivering actionable insights, fast. As I’ve already demonstrated, the problem in most businesses is not a lack of data available to them. The problem is often a lack of understanding the available data. Visual analytics present people with information that’s easy for them to understand and apply to their organization. It allows you to get under the hood of the car and find out what’s really hindering performance.
For example, insurance industries have access to volumes of data—such as type of vehicle used, distance covered, vehicle braking pattern, etc.—that are challenging to exploit, which allows them to operate at sub-optimal levels. Visual analytics can be used to receive actionable insights and address the previously mentioned challenge. However, not all dashboards operate in real-time. Startegy updates in real-time so you don’t have to wait to receive your actionable insights.
2) Improve Efficiency
An added bonus of receiving your actionable insights quickly is that you will improve efficiency in your business. Every executive hates waiting around for reports to be generated. Organizations spend endless hours of their month logging in to multiple systems to run and format reports, or they use IT personnel to run and format reports for them. As inconvenient as those two options are, that’s usually required to gather the information needed to make an informed decision.
A quality dashboard eliminates hours spent generating those reports, so you can make decisions faster, which will give you more time to spend in other areas. Essentially, organizations can use visual analysis to catapult themselves ahead of the game rather than chase trends from behind, and that allows you to optimize efficiency and save time.
3) Collaboration is Key
Last but not least, an effective dashboard facilitates quality collaboration that is rare in today’s workplace. It’s not that executives don’t want to collaborate with others, because they do. It’s typically just not the most efficient way of operating. Many departments often lack the contextual information that goes into making key decisions, so they aren’t included at the decision-making table. Fortunately, a dashboard allows for freeform discovery.
Multiple users can have access to the dashboard so each of them can “converse with the data” and make unique discoveries. This inclusive process provides the context that every decision-maker needs, so providing more people with access to data visualization increases the number of people you can consider inviting to the decision-making table.