5 items tagged "dashboard"

  • 10 dashboarding best practices to get the most out of analytics

    10 dashboarding best practices to get the most out of analytics

    Dashboards are the control centers for your analytics, putting vital metrics at your fingertips and creating a visual representation of data mining. But building them can be difficult and sometimes confusing. Not all dashboards are created equal, and it’s important to understand the key components that will optimize your expertise for success, impact and peak performance. Design and simplicity play vital roles, as does a mindful focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) from the very first moment. 

    If you’re building a dashboard and looking for ways to optimize it, keep these 10 best practices in mind:

    1. Consider a dashboard a blank canvas for your own work of art

    An artist staring at a blank canvas and a tub of paint understands that these are merely tools for the end game: a work of art. When you design a dashboard, adopt a similar perspective by maintaining a mental target of your desired deliverables before you begin. What do you as a user want to show management or another audience via this dashboard, and what types of actions do you want to compel them to take when they look at it?

    A dashboard can serve as the bridge between data and action, but to build it properly, you need to understand who will be looking at the dashboard and what its metrics will compel them to do. If you want to create a dashboard to look at the top spend and expenses in your organization, the goal that you should have in mind at all points of creation is showing management how much they spend in each specific timeframe. And let it literally be a canvas: I always recommend that you draft your dashboard’s entire layout on a piece of paper first before moving to the real thing, which will help you project what you see in your mind. For some people, this is a really helpful first step before building. 

    2. Focus on data to insight and decision

    Now that you understand your dashboard is a work of art, let’s add another layer: your dashboard is also a critical tool helping your management and your audience to take decisive action for your company. When selecting metrics, keep this in mind and it will guide your design process and overall selection. 

    3. Give your dashboard a title

    Just like PowerPoint slides, a dashboard also needs a clear message. When people open your dashboard, you want to make sure that the first thing that meets their eye is the name or title of your dashboard. This is their first impression of your entire analytics journey, and it should be clear and concise. 

    And don’t forget that first impressions can happen across a variety of devices. A lot of your audience will be looking at your dashboard on a mobile device rather than a desktop, so make sure you’ve optimized the viewing experience for both. Whether viewed on an iPhone, a tablet, a laptop or a desktop computer, anyone who opens your dashboard should know immediately what that the title is and what the information they’re viewing is all about.

    4. Include data visualization context

    Each data visualization on your dashboard needs a title, description, point of view, and date and time stamp to provide viewers with context and understanding. This information presents a guide and a model for further KPIs. 

    5. Ensure load speed is close to a second

    Information is useless if it can’t be understood. In the case of a dashboard, less is more and simplicity is key. This will also help performance.

    Ideally, a dashboard should open in 1-2 seconds. A good rule of thumb is that it opens in less than one minute. If your dashboard takes more than one minute to load, there might be a problem on the data modelling side. One easy way to boost query speed is to transfer the underlying database to the Autonomous Data Warehouse. 

    6. Keep maintenance in mind

    While creating your dashboard, make sure that you know exactly how long it will take to maintain it for future updates. Data quality is just as important as the data visualization itself. If a dashboard does not have 100% accurate data, you can’t deliver facts and management can’t make fact based decisions. So, after you acquire the data and create your work of art, be sure you have a plan for updating it, including refreshing the data, and transforming it and displaying it, for the long haul. 

    7. Don’t forget about logos and branding

    There was a time, several years ago, when standards for dashboard design were low. Those days are past, and it’s important to use all of the options in the toolbox. Remember that logos, branding, and company communication need to be clearly and consistently presented. If your dashboard is being communicated inside of your organization, it’s always good for people to be able to identify it right away. Use your company logo and keep it prominent, and also keep in mind the basic color palette and design philosophy to which your branding is aligned.  

    8. With KPIs, less is more

    It’s very tempting to include 1,000 different pieces of information on the dashboard, with 10 or 20 different filters. No one wants to leave out critical information. But remember that less is more. Too many KPIs create a classic case of “too much of a good thing,” forcing the user into information overload and clogging up the dashboard so that data cannot be properly visualized. Overwhelming people with information can make them question your dashboard and the data, reducing your impact.

    Instead, set five or six KPIs as your data visualization maximum. This doesn’t mean that you need to leave deeper information on the cutting room floor; it simply means that you should allow an option to drill down into these KPIs via sub KPIs.  

    9. Don’t forget about the footer

    Dashboards need information context, which can be featured in the footer. The footer is the critical spot where you share the name of the dashboard’s author, and if appropriate, the data sources used. 

    The footer is also your tool spot for more context on viewer information. Is the dashboard restricted or confidential? Keep that information in the footer. It’s also the spot to put contact information like an email or phone number so that if any user has a question about the dashboard, they can reach out for clarification. These more than nice things to do, they are thoughtful touches that make your dashboard more usable, which your audience will appreciate. 

    10. Filter your filter use

    Some people love filters. But filters need to be used sparingly, and with care. The more you offer filters to slice and dice data via categories like region, the more you open yourself up to the risk of the dashboard not being current or presenting incorrect data. Above all, make sure that your dashboard is clear and the data is understandable with all filters removed. 

    Putting It All Together

    Here are the key takeaways:

    • When you’re building a dashboard, take time before you begin to focus on your goals. Think to yourself, “When someone looks at my dashboard, what do I want them to see and what actions do I want them to take?”
    • When you’re working, focus on delivering data that leads to insights and decisions.
    • Keep simplicity and clarity in mind by providing a title, context, logos, branding, and a footer.
    • Ensure that your load speed is close to a second and that your dashboard is easy to maintain.
    • Be sure to choose five or six KPIs, and use filters sparingly. 

    Your dashboard doesn’t have to say everything and it doesn’t have to include everything. It’s a guide. Trust your judgment, remember less is more, and you’ll be on the right track before you even begin.

    Author: Benjamin Arnulf

    Source: Oracle

  • BI dashboards: best practices

    BI dashboards: best practices

    If you want your business intelligence dashboards to succeed, you'll need to make sure you follow these best practices along the way. Here's what to know.

    Business intelligence (BI) dashboards are increasingly used by companies around the world. If you use one or intend to, knowing some business intelligence best practices can help you avoid pitfalls.

    Here are 10 business intelligence best practices to follow as you design a dashboard and choose which information to display.

    1. Identify your reporting requirements

    BI dashboards make it easy to gather statistics and turn them into reports. Before diving into that task, clarify what to include in the review and which departments will read it.

    For example, the accounting department likely needs substantially different metrics than your customer service team. Get confirmation of the necessary details and the intended audience first to save yourself from wasting time on extra work and including irrelevant information.

    2. Choose a dashboard to meet your needs

    There are several kinds of BI dashboards on the market:

    • Strategic: These aggregate crucial details about your organization’s current status and health while highlighting opportunities for expansion.
    • Analytical: Dashboards that show data variables across a set timeframe and help you spot trends.
    • Operational: Choose these dashboards if you want to focus on key performance indicators and real-time operations changes.
    • Tactical: Mid-level managers most commonly use these dashboards, which give deep dives into a company’s processes by showing weekly metrics and trends.

    Find business intelligence dashboard examples based on the category above that most closely matches your needs before investing in a solution. Doing that increases the chances of feeling satisfied with your investment.

    3. Design your dashboard to minimize distractions

    One of the most useful dashboard design best practices to follow involves getting rid of superfluous information. Make your dashboards useful for everyone by following the five-second rule. Pick the dashboard’s content carefully so that anyone looking at it can get the details they need in a few seconds.

    Scrutinize the information and verify that each graphic or text snippet serves a well-defined purpose. If it doesn’t, take it out. Adding too much data to your dashboard could make it more challenging for people to focus on the parts that matter most to their work.

    4.  Call attention to relevant numbers

    Some viewers may appreciate graphic helpers that highlight statistics. For example, one of the Power BI dashboard best practices Microsoft recommends for its product is to use a card visualization for numerical figures.

    If you use a different BI product without that feature, consider other ways to help numbers stand out. For example, you might put them in a bright color or increase the size of the figure compared to the surrounding text.

    5. Restrict dashboard access to authorized parties

    Working with a BI dashboard also means engaging in the appropriate security measures. Some content management systems allow you to only give administrative capabilities to people with the right credentials. You could take the same approach with your BI interface.

    Think about setting role-based privileges based on whether a person requires editing privileges for their work or only needs to look at the content. Adjust or remove an individual’s access as appropriate, such as when they get promotions or leave the company.

    Also, encourage everyone to demonstrate good password hygiene, including using a different password for each service and never sharing credentials.

    6. Arrange your data according to the inverted pyramid model

    News professionals understand the inverted pyramid approach well. It involves mentioning the most important information first in an article and devoting the most overall space to it. The less-crucial details appear near the end of the piece and may only encompass a single paragraph.

    You can follow dashboard design best practices by letting the inverted pyramid model dictate how you show the data. For example, feature the main details inside the largest panes or sections.

    7. Select the right kind of chart

    Charts can be ideal for helping executives deal with the challenge of interpreting data and using it for decision-making. You’ll get the best results when you pick a chart type that aligns with your needs and the type of data presented.

    For example, line charts work well for showing trends over time, while pie charts let you show how single categories relate to an overall value. You might also use a vertical bar graph to help users compare differences side by side. The main thing to remember is that no one chart is the universal ideal.

    8. Include the most important information on a single screen

    If you’ve spent time checking out business intelligence dashboards, it may have become obvious that all the crucial details are immediately presented and don’t require swiping between several screens. Allowing people to see the essential material on one screen is the best approach because it increases clarity and helps you stick to your main points.

    Think about how some of the people who see the content may have packed schedules and might feel eager to get the information they need without wasting time. We discussed earlier how you should cut out unnecessary information to prevent distractions. This is a related point, but it’s a tip that encourages you to think about which data to show first while remembering your audience’s requirements.

    9.  Consider optimizing your dashboard for mobile users

    Web designers know how important it is to design content for mobile phones, especially since many people view it on those devices more often than their computers. One of the related Power BI best practices is to tweak your dashboard for those who look at it on smartphones.

    Doing that involves switching the content from Web View to Phone View in the dashboard upper-right corner. You’ll only see that option as the dashboard’s owner. While in phone view, you can adjust the layout so that it appears differently to phone versus computer users by rearranging tiles or changing their sizes and shapes.

    If you use a different product, determine whether it has a mobile-friendly option.

    10. Display data in the proper context

    As you design your chart, pay attention to how factors like the relative size and color of content on the BI dashboard could lead people to draw certain conclusions, not all of them necessarily correct. Ensure that you use labels and source citations to help people see the data in the right framework and not get the wrong ideas.

    You’ve probably seen at least a few dashboards that looked fantastic at first glance but later realized they did not offer enough context. In that case, you probably came away with some questions and uncertainties. Including reference points for the statistics and charts on a dashboard helps viewers feel confident while digesting the material.

    Tips to guide your efforts

    These business intelligence best practices will help you get the most out of any dashboard you purchase and use. Remember that it’s also valuable to devote sufficient time to training yourself or your colleagues on how to use the tool. Each BI on the market has different features and layouts.

    The more thoroughly you get acquainted with them, the easier it’ll be to get the results you want.

    Author: Kayla Matthews

    Source: Smart Data Collective

  • How data analytics can lead to more efficient financial administration

    How data analytics can lead to more efficient financial administration

    Most professionals complain of spending too much time doing tactical and administration work and neglecting the value-add duties. In the finance team, there is growing interest from the rest of the organization to provide more business advice, so there is a pressing need to adopt digital tools to automate processes, so instead of number crunching it can focus more on strategic tasks. A significant challenge for the finance team is selecting the right financial data analytics software, which integrates ERP financial transactions and customer interactions and fulfils expectations.

    To help make the decision-making process easier, we recommend listing the finance administration tasks you most want to dump and then cross-check the capability in the software. Here are five ways you can free up your finance admin time by harnessing a digital tool like data analytics.

    1. Democratize financial data

    To change business practice and adopt new technology, the finance team needs to rethink how it manages its data and be open to sharing more information. Offering the whole organization governed access to financial data through an intuitive user-experience reduces the pressure on the finance team. By letting the right people run the numbers, that are relevant to them, will reduce the requests for other reports and enable people to answer their questions. The finance team will continue to control the general ledger but will find it much simpler to provide branches, teams and regions with customized financial reporting and be free to take on a more significant financial adviser role.

    2. Automate reporting

    If you work on your business's finance team, you'll likely have a hectic workload at the month's end. For many organizations, the monthly static financial reporting process continues to be arduous, especially if it's still performed manually. It's a time-consuming process and relies mostly on transferring data from the ERP into spreadsheets, with lots of switching back and forth. The process is slow because every new reconciliation affects the numbers, making the static spreadsheet-based reports instantly out-of-date, forcing the regular creation of new versions.

    For many, the process of preparing the data is a huge time waster and takes a lot away from analyzing the data. A digital solution integrating with your ERP and other data sources can help the accounting department to quickly create financial statements like the Income or Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet to match the nuances of your business or division.

    3. Dynamic reporting

    Financial controllers and CFOs will continue to liaise with the accounts payable and accounts receivable team to close the month; that part won't change when transitioning to dynamic reporting. Getting the data into the ERP will stay the same as well, but reporting that information out of the ERP will be very different.

    In a dynamic report, the data is interactive. This way, any figure can be investigated, and answers found quickly so the team can be proactive and move decision-making forward. Dynamic reporting makes information accessible rather than locked away in spreadsheets or deep within legacy systems. Financial data analytics software that supports dynamic reporting will automatically pull the relevant information from the ERP and present it in a universally accessible format for business users to review, analyze and reference for performance management throughout the month.

    4. Financial dashboards

    A financial data analytics software comes with built-in visualization tools like financial dashboards. By using a dashboard to showcase the month-end financial reports will help more people in an organization to visualize financial data and KPIs in the form of charts or graphs. This way is more natural to uncover patterns, communicate insights, and make data-driven decisions.

    5. Reduce time spent on Excel

    We all know Excel is used widely in accounting teams, but despite its strengths, Excel doesn't always provide every solution a business needs. The more a company changes or grows, the more it generates data, so having a finance solution that integrates with an ERP has many benefits. Reducing the need to manage spreadsheets by putting financial data into data analytics software will help the finance team to breakdown, interpret, and utilize data. Excel struggles when it comes to handling complex data, thereby limiting a person's ability to identify insights.

    Ideally, your financial statements solution will work in tandem with your business intelligence software and ERP to facilitate the sourcing and management of data.

    Author: Jordena Tibble

    Souce: Phocas Software

  • How to Find the Most Suitable Metrics for your Dashboard

    How to Find the Most Suitable Metrics for your Dashboard

    Since 1770 when Britain’s James Hargreaves patented his spinning jenny that allowed a single spinster to run eight spindles and produce eight times as much raw thread and yarn as before – cutting both time to market and labor expense involved with producing textiles in Blackburn, Lancashire – doing more with less has been the driving force behind growing a business.

    This productivity remains an elemental economic force – with a decisive effect on profit.

    In our modern economy, software applications measure linear-feet equivalents of today’s “thread and yarn.” Such raw, furnished data, unlike cotton or wool fibers, begs translation, comparison, and analysis. Consequently, every team lead needs an agent by which to see, interpret and act on that data.

    The Dashboard – 3 Types for Business

    And that’s what dashboards – imperative to business intelligence software – do. Of course, dicing and splicing that data constitutes a need for tailored dashboards, of which three types are recognized:

    • Strategic – aggregates critical, overarching metrics, presenting a 10,000-foot view of a business.
    • Analytic – gathers and compares particular metrics across time and many variables, drilling down to actionable data per team.
    • Operational – monitors data in real time, alerting a team to any issues that need to be addressed.

    Regardless of a dashboard’s purpose, it should reflect a company’s particular needs and culture, displaying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on a firm’s high-level (and/or low-level) objectives. These KPIs will stand as quantifiable measurements of each goal; metrics, by any other definition.

    That’s important, because according to Sruthi Varanasi of ReportGarden, “A metric is a quantifiable measure that is used to track and assess the status of a specific business process.”

    Metrics – Lifeblood for a business; Heart of a Dashboard

    Suffice to say, metrics are the truest barometer of how your online business is doing.

    Consider this: A 15 percent increase in conversions is just that, a successful trend. Subsequently, metrics serve as buoys that can keep your business sailing in deep water or warn you when shoals are near. A 21 percent dip in visibility over a month is just that, a falling trend, indicating you might need to revisit strategy and adjust – on the fly.

    It stands to reason, then, that constructing a clean, uncluttered, incisive dashboard that represents key business intelligence metrics is equal parts science and art.

    You want a dashboard whose widgets illustrate – at a glance – essential data from which sound business decisions can be made – whether those decisions concern the content of a webpage or the features of an actual product.

    Dashboard enABLEd! How to Determine Which Metrics to Track

    So, how do you decide which specific metrics should populate that dashboard from which you will extract actionable data? How do you identify those KPIs for each business goal? Following these four steps will enABLE you (apology for the acronym within the acronym) to populate your dashboard with meaningful data:

    1. Apply S.M.A.R.T. methodology.
    2. Bring the selection to the team.
    3. Limit KPI assignment to three primary, overriding goals.
    4. Eliminate the urge to add more metrics to the dashboard.

    1. Apply S.M.A.R.T. to each KPI

    For a basic example, if an overriding goal is to increase monthly recurring revenue (MRR), the questions to ask – and answer (more than yes/no) – to assess the validity of a KPI begin with:

    • Is a metric Specific to a goal? What needs to be accomplished and why?
      We want to increase MRR to increase margins and subsidize a new product launch next year.
    • Is it Measurable? What kind of historical change has been evident? How will we know the goal was reached?
      According to historical analytics, we can feel confident that an MRR increase of between 3 – 5 % would be achievable.
    • Is it Attainable? Are the resources readily available to achieve success? Is the goal reasonable? Is it likely to bring success?
      We can ramp up social media promotion, launch a campaign, or otherwise put effort behind ramping up sales to drive revenue.
    • Is it Relevant? How meaningful and worthwhile is the goal? In the current situation can we commit to its achievement?
      Our competition has lost revenue, so more of the market is available to us. The more revenue generated, the more reward for us.
    • Is it Timely? Is the goal ahead of the curve, or behind? What’s the deadline for achieving it? What’s the overall timeline set for adopting the goal?
      After strategic planning, we can achieve a substantive bump in MRR over the subsequent quarter.

    So, your team devises this KPI: Increase MRR by 3% during Q2. What metric goes on the Dashboard? A monthly monitor of incoming revenue.

    2. Bring KPI selection process to the team

    Gain consensus on those metrics paramount to the team’s and the company’s success. Asking for a collective viewpoint not only helps distill the essence of paramount KPIs but also builds morale. Each team member gets some skin in the game.

    3. Limit KPI assignation to no more than three primary goals

    Segment’s Analytics Academy declares the purpose behind each solitary metric populating your dashboard should focus attention on a specific business process (goal!) that needs to be optimized. Using the sample KPI above, it could be one of three under an overarching goal to drive an increase of MRR.

    4. Eliminate unnecessary metrics

    The rule of thumb is to have no more than seven metrics displayed on any single dashboard because, after all, it functions as a quick-glance representation of a goal’s status. Thus, its design should advance easy comprehension, simple updating, and clean navigation without secondary data distractions.

    Your team should make hard decisions on which metrics to include. Consider: secondary data get in the way, conflating interpretation, overwhelming the reviewer. Fewer metrics are better metrics.

    Each time you visit the dashboard, you should remember that KPIs keep your business strategy agile, fleet, responsive. Positive data dictates stability and steadiness. Negative data compels your team to adjust, adapt and provide alternatives.

    An effective dashboard illustrates this crucial data and discloses a course of action to take.

    Metrics on Dashboard: What Are My Choices?

    Once you’ve followed the ABLE steps to determine your KPIs, you’re ready to populate your dashboard. At this point, you may ask, “What are metrics that achieve near-universal adoption by businesses?”

    That depends on the purpose behind your team, the audience (your team? An executive?) that will be reviewing the dashboard, the “actionability” of the selected KPIs, and the type of visuals preferred.

    Metrics for a marketing team might include tracking web traffic sources, incremental sales, social sentiment, conversion rate, and SEO keyword ranking. A sales team might want to monitor sales growth, product performance, average purchase value, and average profit margin.

    A financial team can follow working capital, debt-to-equity ratio, and current ratio. An e-commerce team might monitor customer lifetime value (CLV), customer retention rate, customer churn analysis, and monthly recurring revenue.

    Other salient KPIs can address net profit, revenue growth rate, project schedule variance (PSV), and average revenue per customer. Because your KPI choices are ultimately subjective, the A.B.L.E. methodology can help your team judiciously arrive at which data would be most constructive to track and display.

    Vital Metrics on (Dash)Board: The Skinny

    As long as any KPI on your dashboard is based in company goals, is relevant to the team behind achieving that goal, is attainable, measurable and remains timely, the dashboard itself should render keen data from which you can take incisive action to engineer successes — as well as avert disasters.

    Taking the time to apply the SMART methodology, bring in the team, limit primary goals and amount of KPIs assigned to each, and eliminate the urge to overpopulate a dashboard with secondary data, will help you select the most meaningful metrics for your business onto your dashboard.

    Perform these steps. Pick your metrics. Build your dashboard. Mine your data.

    Grow your business.

    Author: Keith Craig

    Source: Sisense

  • Starting a BI project in 4 simple steps

    Starting a BI project in 4 simple steps

    What would it mean to you and your enterprise, if you could start getting useful business insights from your data in literally five days or less, using four simple steps?

    As exciting as this seems, it’s actually just what a good business intelligence platform should be able to do for you. While BI projects can be short term or long term, straightforward or sophisticated, they should all bring actionable results as soon as possible. Business moves fast nowadays, and there isn’t enough time for months of preparation, data modeling, IT platform planning, management decisions, and implementation.

    Fortunately, these four clear, do-able steps will allow you to publish your first BI dashboard in five days, keeping up with the pace of your business without needing specialist help or extensive resources.

    STEP 1: Map out your BI project with small, practical milestones (half-a-day)

    Why do certain BI projects fail? Often because they try to bite off more than they can chew. Start off by focusing on one insight of value, and your BI project can already be a success in just days. Afterwards, there will be plenty of opportunities to derive further insights, making sure each additional step brings you a measurable benefit.

    So, let’s begin! Here’s how to do step one:

    • Start with a standard business process you want to understand better or improve
    • Keep data sources few at first, with a just 2-3 reports that hold the answers
    • Get an initial, useful result, before iterating to go deeper or wider into your business processes

    This also means using a business intelligence system that lets you start simply, and then scale to any level of BI that makes sense for your organization.

    Allowing half-a-day for step one, your BI project map will then look like the following steps for the rest of the week (the 4.5 days left)

    • Business planning to define useful questions to answer (step two, below)
    • Setting up your data model to bring your data sources together properly (step three)
    • Designing and publishing a dashboard to display the results (step four)

    Remember that as you progress with your BI projects, your BI tool should let you go beyond just automating any manual business reporting you are doing currently (Excel spreadsheets included). A little business rethinking may show you even more important questions to answer, for which your BI tool will then become even more valuable. That’s when you start reaching beyond the realm of standard reports and into the realm of BI.

    STEP 2: Collect requirements (half-a-day)

    To get your first successful BI project off the ground in five days, requirements should be modest. On the other hand, business, result, and technical requirements should be stated clearly and precisely enough to keep your BI project on track for success:

    • Business requirement: state the question that is to be answered. For example, 'what are the trends in the monthly revenues of the organization?' Or, 'which product lines can use more marketing budget to generate higher profits?'
    • Result requirement: decide how a result from the BI system should be displayed or communicated, so that the business teams involved can understand and act on it as quickly and as easily as possible
    • Technical requirement: what hardware and software will be needed for the BI project? If you can use standard PC hardware, for instance, you can meet technical requirements that much more easily. Sisense, for example, both runs and scales on a standard PC, handling up to terabytes or billions of rows of data with full BI functionality quickly and efficiently, as needed.

    STEP 3: Select and compile your data sources (2 days)

    Business intelligence needs inputs of data to produce outputs of results and business insights. Data can come from many different sources (some BI tools have built-in data connectors that make it super easy use data from different places). Remember, data must be correct to start with. Otherwise, the end results will be flawed. Here’s your to-do list with detailed examples:

    • Select the data sources you want to use to answer your business question (see step two above). You might choose your organization’s sales database, existing Excel spreadsheets with financial data, Google Analytics data on the number and type of visits to your enterprise web site, or some combination of such data sources.
    • Understand the correlation between the data sources you want to use. For example, your sales database and your financial spreadsheets might both list your products: the sales database showing how well they are selling, and the spreadsheets showing how much they cost to make. Using the two data sources, your BI tool could show you how to maximize profit by putting more marketing resources on specific products.
    • Join the data from different sources for one version of the truth. Sisense lets you use simple 'drag and drop' to bring different data sources and tables into the same central, high-performance database, called an ElastiCube. Everybody then uses the same version of the collected data, avoiding arguments and allowing people to focus on the results and conclusions of the data analysis.

    STEP 4: Build and display your first BI dashboard (2 days)

    Remember the result requirement from step two above? In this final step, it’s time to create the displays that help your own users understand the results from the BI tool and the data it has analyzed.

    Sisense gives you numerous options to produce web-based dashboard displays, reports that can be distributed to groups of users, and interactive analytics to let users ask new questions and explore further. Here are some great dashboard templates by industry. Your goals in step four are:

    • Identify your target audience. Seek to understand, before trying to be understood! A business management audience may want more intuitive overviews and indications of trends, compared to a technical audience looking for more detail. So, use a corresponding approach to your dashboard.
    • Design your dashboard. Sisense provides options for graphs, charts, and filters that can also be accessed by dashboard viewers to make the dashboard as useful and as engaging as possible. Dashboards are also accessible using a standard web browser, meaning that your viewers do not have to use any additional plugin or download.
    • Information design. Common sense will play an important role here. Looking to show a trend over time? A line chart might be the simplest and most effective way. Or perhaps you want to show how overall sales of different products compare? A pie chart may be the right choice. If in doubt, remember the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).

    Actionable results from data using BI in one week

    By following the steps above, business users can start their business intelligence journey simply and effectively. They can also rapidly accomplish data management and analysis tasks that would otherwise have taken months of IT resources.

    Author: Elana Roth

    Source: Sisense

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