How Executive Dashboards are changing the Way Business is done

Bethany Taylor
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By some accounts, the C-level office of the not-too-distant future just won’t be complete unless it sports an integrated executive dashboard of the sort that was all but unimaginable not many years ago.

And that’s probably a prediction you can take to the bank, because the cutting edge dashboards give executives a single visual source of information about KPIs and business processes across the company, with an unprecedented level of precision and timeliness. How else, after all, can a CEO or other top exec have an accessible, real-time, view of their organization at a glance?

  ​The executive dashboard seems poised to revolutionize daily operations and to have a profound effect on both long-range planning and daily operations  
 
Where once capturing a pressing piece of information meant digging through bulky reports or logging in to one siloed database or another, executive dashboards tie all of an organization’s data sources together at put them right at hand, at any moment.
 

What they are and how they work

For all the complex and critical data they deliver, executive dashboards are simple enough to understand, to set up, and to use. As detailed in a recent post by Datorama, a leader in helping companies connect data sources, executive dashboards use application programming interfaces (APIs) to interface with all of the company’s data sources and bring the data and information together on the dashboard. There, it can be visualized in numerous ways to provide a global view or to drill down into the details of customizable KPIs.

The dashboard analogy is an apt one, too. No one would want a pilot to fly a plane without a comprehensive and integrated view of all the systems that keep the craft in the air, and how they work together to get it safely to its destination. Flying a company, or managing a marketing campaign, is no less complex, and integrated executive dashboards are the breakthrough solution that can spell success.

Datorama also mentions a recent study by Forrester Consulting which found that integrated dashboard solutions have a significant economic impact on businesses because they provide benefits such as reducing the amount of time needed to process analytics, and allow for increased efficiency and effectiveness in marketing. That is particularly true of the top line dashboards that are designed with the marketer in mind, rather than the tech guru.

Better information = better planning = increased ROI

With real-time information always available, executives never have to wait for reports from the various corners of the company for critical KPIs. They have immediate access to up-to-date figures for data such as net profit margins, receivables, budget vs. actual, working capital, or any indicators they choose to monitor. Similarly, they can stay on top of marketing and sales metrics, including everything from sales revenue, acquisition costs, and conversion rates to social media traffic, or any other important KPIs.

Such easy access to timely data has a clear benefit, as the Forrester Consulting study showed. Armed with this type of high-quality data, executives are better equipped to make decisions, to more accurately project goals and outcomes, and to adjust plans to changing conditions quickly and efficiently.

There’s something for everyone in an executive dashboard

It’s not only the higher-ups who reap the benefits of an integrated dashboard. By its nature, it’s a tool that breaks down the inevitable siloing that happens in just about every organization. For one thing, it shines a light on interdepartmental relationships, offering a picture of how the company functions as a whole that can be obscured in the rush of daily business. That in itself is invaluable for increasing efficiency and improving the bottom line.

Beyond that, however, a dashboard also can become a means for sharing information across the organization and forging a common mission. While that is not its primary function, it certainly can be a welcome side benefit for most companies.

The C-Level office is taking on a new look

Once upon a time there was no such thing as a personal computer in the boss’s office. Now, it’s nearly impossible to imagine an office without one, or without countless other technological advances that have transformed the workplace and the way business is conducted.

Even more than most of those technologies, however, the executive dashboard seems poised to revolutionize daily operations and to have a profound effect on both long-range planning and daily operations, as it becomes a go-to tool for decision-making.

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