In today’s data-driven world, business dashboards get a lot of buzz from SMBs and Fortune 100 corporations alike. And why not.
According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, 42% of company decision-makers expressed lack of confidence in the decisions they make due to insufficient information or difficult access to it. Worse, only 16% expressed strong confidence in the accuracy of the data they use in making decisions!
It’s no surprise that more and more business professionals are starting to build their own online dashboards to interpret and make use of data in a faster, more effective manner.
What is a Web Dashboard?
A web dashboard is an online reporting and analytics tool used to visualize data. It provides critical summaries and metrics to help gauge a company’s success or failure at a glance.
Much like your car dashboard, business dashboards provide real-time key metrics and performance indicators—influencing business strategies and helping decision-makers better navigate the surrounding landscape.
Dashboards vs Reports
One of the common misconceptions about dashboards is that they are the same as reports. That’s not always the case.
First, reports typically show only static data. On the other hand, dashboards allow users to interact with the data they see. This dynamic element makes dashboards a better tool when it comes to analyzing data and making projections.
Another major difference is the freshness (and therefore, accuracy) of data. Reports take time to prepare and may contain outdated information by the time you get them. On the other hand, online dashboards can pull data in real time, allowing users to view more accurate information.
Finally, dashboards and reports differ in the speed of consumption. While reports require a significant amount of time to digest, dashboards are meant to give the user a gist of the information fast—usually by presenting it visually, instead of via massive spreadsheets that contain the tiny pieces of the puzzle.
Why Dashboards Matter
Business dashboards enable managers to get a real-time snapshot of key metrics, making them an indispensable tool for decision-makers. Here are a few other benefits of web dashboards:
- See all your important company information in one place.
Dashboards pull data from various sources and consolidate everything in a single view. Serving as a centralized information center, a web dashboard allows decision-makers to see patterns as well as key performance indicators at a glance—enabling them to make business-critical decisions faster and using data from all relevant sources.
- Ensure data consistency across multiple teams.
Would it surprise you if different teams within your organization had their own versions of the same report encoded in different formats and managed in various software? This isn’t far from reality.
Research by Dun & Bradstreet, a commercial data and insights company, found that 41% of businesses consider “inconsistent data across technologies” as their biggest challenge to maximizing ROI. A dashboard, whose view can be customized based on the needs of the user, can address this inconsistency by serving as the central source of information for all users.
- Deliver information visually and easily.
The human brain can process entire images in as little as 13 milliseconds, a team of researchers from MIT found. So, instead of the usual, boring reports, present your data visually through your dashboard and engage your audience to absorb information faster. For example, with Caspio, you can create charts, tables and graphs instantly—no need to be a graphic design expert.
- Securely access and share business data.
Unlike the usual document-based online reports that must be downloaded to be viewed, dashboards allow users to access the information anywhere there’s an internet connection. And since you can set user access levels, it is possible to limit the amount or type of data users can see depending on their access type. You can set a secure login page or make the data publicly available.
Tips for Creating an Online Dashboard
Want to build your own web dashboard? Make sure to read these tips first.
- Think about the audience for your dashboard. The best dashboard designs target a single type of user and just show data specific to that “use case”. In some cases though, a dashboard can have a number of different audiences. Before building a dashboard, be sure that you clearly understand the needs of the intended user and the scope of their requirements.
- Group data logically. A well-designed business dashboard will ensure that data is shown in logical groups. For instance, if your dashboard includes both regional sales data and individual sales performance, make sure your data sets are displayed next to each other. Personnel key performance indicator (KPI) data should then be displayed together in a separate logical group.
- Consider the best visual tool for each data type. Looking to see which team accounts for the most sales this month? Use a pie chart. Want to see the performance of an employee over the past 12 months? Use a line chart. A dashboard presents data visually so before you start building one, make sure you know which chart or graph is best suited for the specific data you want to display.
- Present the most important metrics. Cluttered dashboards can take away the focus from the most relevant messages. There’s no solid rule to follow here, except making sure everything you show is meaningful to the intended user. Simply put, do not add a chart or a graph simply because you can. Control the urge!
Build a Business Dashboard Without Coding
Today, a lot of companies think of dashboards as indispensable business solutions. However, some are still on the fence about incorporating this tool to their business, primarily due to the resources needed to create one. Indeed, traditional software development requires huge upfront costs to pay for developers.
If done in-house, a conventional software project eats up the IT department’s already limited resources, preventing personnel from focusing on critical technology issues.
You no longer have to go down a traditional software development path to create your own online dashboards. No-code development platforms enable business managers to create interactive dashboards without writing a single line of code, and at a fraction of the time and cost required by traditional development methods.
Create a Web Dashboard Using Caspio’s Visual Application Builder
Our Ultimate Video Guide: How to Create Web Dashboards Without Coding will show you how to start designing and building a business dashboard using Caspio’s visual application builder.
This in-depth tutorial covers every aspect of the process, from importing Excel files to creating interactive charts and customizing the interface to suit your needs. Watch the video today and learn how you can create your own powerful and feature-rich online dashboards without coding.