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Once relegated to IT leads, business intelligence impacts every line of business. Whether you’re the CEO or marketing lead, everyone in positions of power must use data to make key decisions.
Dashboard software plays a key role by letting users track, analyze, and visualize key business goals for unique audiences. Users can customize these dashboards per audience, business unit, etc. Dashboard software pulls data from a range of sources and allows users to share the most relevant info through several customer graphics.
Custom dashboards are the most crucial feature within BI software, but BI software goes well beyond these basics. To choose the best tool for your business, start by identifying the key tasks you need it to accomplish. If you’re looking for software that can perform more advanced functions (such as custom models in various programming languages), BI software is ideal.
However, you don’t want to overwhelm your software users or pay too much for software features you won’t use. If your core need is for a tool to aggregate and visualize data, prioritize those features in your software search.
Make a shortlist of dashboard software vendors that integrate with your team’s tech stack. Then, evaluate them based on the amount of prebuilt dashboards, visualization options, and supported file formats that each tool provides.
Ready to find the best dashboard software tool for your team? Here's what we'll cover:
Dashboard software is a form of self-service business intelligence (BI): It allows end users to design and deploy their own reports without IT involvement.
Dashboard software lets you visualize data to track progress against business objectives, aka key performance indicators (KPIs). It pulls data from several sources (including other software tools and uploaded datasets) into a single database.
Each dashboard displays data in real time using interactive, visually engaging methods. These methods can range from drag-and-drop tools and line charts to relationship analysis and geospatial maps.
Then, users find the data that’s most relevant to their work and visualize it in a range of ways. Users can build several dashboards within the software and tailor each dashboard for unique audiences. This allows users to spot connections across departments, identifying trends, patterns, and areas for improvement. It also reduces reliance on IT and data specialists to translate crucial data into custom reports.
Dashboard software is a type of business intelligence software, a larger category of tools that help users analyze data. Dashboards are considered the main feature within any BI tool, but dashboard software isn’t a large enough category to warrant several types.
Dashboard software is a form of self-service business intelligence. This means it allows users to build, design, and deploy their own reports and analysis directly from the software. As such, users can perform these tasks without involvement from external IT.
Prebuilt dashboards: Build several types of dashboards that you can customize per audience, KPIs, line of business, and more.
An executive summary dashboard in Looker
Custom reports: Create downloadable, shareable reports that expand on KPIs per business unit.
A dashboard showing several key metrics in Tableau
Analytics: Identify business trends and find areas for improvement.
An analytics tab in Yellowfin
Integrations: Pulls data from several sources via integration with other cloud software.
A list of integrations in ClicData
Dashboard software allows users to pull and upload data from various sources. Any dashboard software you purchase should integrate with the tools that your team already uses to allow easy data transfer between tools, reducing the risk that data will be lost or siloed.
When evaluating dashboard software, make sure it integrates with:
Database servers, like SQL and Hadoop.
Analytics platforms, like Google Analytics.
Business intelligence tools, including cloud software, data connectors, and third-party integration platforms.
Dashboard hierarchies: Vendors will build dashboards with more drill-down options than before. They will start by building dashboards to address shared business priorities, then add more drill-down options with dashboards built to support specific teams.
Dashboards per persona: Users will be able to build dashboards that each pull data relevant to unique business personas.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.
The following sources were used for this document:
Gartner glossary: Self-service business intelligence (Date accessed: April 4, 2020)
How to Build an Ideal Performance Monitoring Dashboard (Date accessed: April 4, 2020)
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