Your Guide to Software Selection

Do All Businesses Need Dashboard Software?

In today’s high-tech world, where vendors offer many different kinds of enterprise software to companies, dashboard software is important. It’s something that’s very much in demand in specific types of ERP, such as customer relationship management, financial management, and marketing.

Today’s businesses are realizing that they should be considering these types of software tools to help promote efficiency and automate some business operations, while getting more transparency and a better look into how the business is running. Many who don’t invest in this kind of technology simply get left behind.

What Is Dashboard Software?

Dashboard software takes critical information, and presents that information in visual ways.

Dashboards can consist of pie graphs or charts, bar or line graphs, scatter plots, color-coded maps, or any other kinds of visual data presentations. More on these and other common types of data visualization are available at pages like this one from Datalab, which shows the top 15 kinds of data presentations so often built into top dashboard software.

Why Is Dashboard Software Popular?

One of the first things to understand is that dashboard software is really popular within the context of business intelligence and analytics. By itself, dashboard software wouldn’t really do much. When it’s tied to powerful big data operations, though, it becomes really valuable to a company.

Over the past two years, as the tech world made huge advancements in cloud computing, data crunching, and the general aggregation of business intelligence, dashboard software became a way to read the results of these very complex computing activities. For example, an executive may have a software package that tabulates specific customer counts in individual communities across the country, but unless that information is made visual in a simple way, it would take hours to read it and actually understand the results of what the program data means.

Dashboard software works on the principle of data visualization: it makes big data results ‘digestible.’ It takes the raw data and presents it in a way that allows for actionable results. As such, it’s a core part of greater enterprise software systems that are aimed at delivering insight and decision support to a business.

Types of Applications

Businesses can use dashboard software for a wide variety of purposes.

For example, some businesses will use dashboard software to evaluate how websites or other outreach projects are performing. By throwing large volumes of information into a central repository, businesses can feed them into the dashboard to get visual results.

Other companies may use dashboard software for marketing projects. Some might use them for accounting projects or to generate customer relationship management insights. CRM is a major type of enterprise software that uses dashboard software designs. The combination of detailed files about each customer, and the ability to present all of that data to executives in a visual way, can really help to improve the customer experience and the business relationship with its target audience — its customers and clients.

Key Features to Look For

For a business that’s interested in upgrading its dashboard software, here are some of the most popular features and types of functionality that add value to these types of software.

Drag-and-drop capability — one of the most popular features of dashboard software is the ability to take a particular piece of information, drag it from one segment or display, and drop it in another. This “bucket” approach allows decision-makers to customize the results that they see and use.

Cloud-based dashboard software — with the emergence of the cloud, executives can get all of this visual data neatly delivered through the Internet. With the cloud, there is no licensing requirement, and no native software to install. This helps make these ERP solutions much more scalable and allows for on-demand subscription pricing.

Responsive design — some of the best types of dashboard software are made to present well over a mobile phone interface, which helps busy managers who are often on the go or out in the field.

Data blending features — another major aspect of dashboard software is the places from which the software gets its data. Superior dashboard packages will take in data from a vast array of sources, organizing and presenting that data well, to give decision makers more without overwhelming them.

Database plug-ins — some of the best dashboard software options also interface with a native database. These platforms can take in raw or on structured data, as well as finely structured data, to present coherent and comprehensive results.

In the end, nearly any company can benefit from dashboard software. Whether it’s a small firm looking at customer activity, or a large business trying to get a handle on finances, customizable dashboard software simply provides the best insight on how to run a business over time — which is why it’s such a valuable part of the enterprise software landscape.

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