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4 Feb 2016

There is no denying that having greater business insight leads to better decision making. But there is also no denying that managers don't have time to sift through 20-plus page reports looking for valuable data. That is why dashboard reporting is such a powerful tool for business managers.

The best thing about dashboards is they provide you with critical information at just a glance. Think about your car dashboard for a second. It lets you know when you are getting low on fuel or oil or if your car is getting too hot. This allows you to manage issues before they become significant problems and it also ensures your car runs as smoothly as possible. Dashboard reporting works the same way for your business.

Benefits of Dashboard Reporting

The biggest benefit of dashboard reporting is the visual element. Research supports that we as humans are limited by our cogitative ability to analyse a variety of information in limited time. This means staring blankly at a bunch of numbers printed out in a report isn't going to do many people any good.

Dashboard reporting takes data and represents it using a variety of visual tools such as pie, line and area charts, gauges, grids, cards, pivot grids and maps, which makes it easier for us to digest. From a cognitive perspective, we remember visual elements more easily and are better at recognising relationships between data. From a time saving perspective, all the information you need is staring straight back at you without you having to dig around for it and then try and make sense of it.

Limitations of Dashboard Reporting

There is a plethora of data captured in a system on a daily basis. Most of this data is not valuable to decision makers. For dashboard reporting to be a powerful business tool, business managers must first recognise what data is important and useful to the day-to-day operation of their business and set the predefined reporting up accordingly.

Next, the dashboard is only as good as the data entered, which is why it is fundamental to make sure data is kept up-to-date. And it goes without saying, decision makers must then review the dashboard on a regular basis for it to provide value.

OmniStar - An example of Dashboard Reporting

Our project management software to manage research grants, grants, projects and portfolios, contracts and procurement is the perfect example of dashboard reporting.

Using a range of visual elements on the dashboard, it taps in to the data warehouse to display predefined reports. For example, during an application process, you can ask reviewers to score answers from 0 to 5. Then OmniStar will collect these responses and provide you an overview on the dashboard - showing you a simple, visual breakdown of how responses have been scored. Talk about making it is to get a quick gauge of how the applications are progressing.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

Dashboard reporting can provide significant benefits for organisations of all shapes and sizes. Dashboards should be customised depending on your specific role within your organisation. By monitoring your business' key statistics, you will gain deeper insight in to the drivers and risks for your organisation. This means you will be better placed to make more informed decisions to help your company prosper and grow, which is the ultimate goal of any decision maker.