A business intelligence dashboard is an information management tool, that uses data visualisation technology to analyse and display information visually in a practical and useful way. It can be used across a multitude of functional areas within an organisation and is a useful tool for helping to measure performance and for managing inventory control in large organisations and in SMEs equally.
Purpose of a business intelligence dashboard
A business intelligence dashboard (BI dashboard) manages information by tracking data points that are important to your business. The dashboard gives you a consolidated view of all data from across the organisation on custom dashboards that deliver valuable insights into the whole business. You can see and analyse data, display the businesses key performance indicators (KPIs), to assess performance measures and generate actionable insights.
A good BI dashboard enables you to monitor and measure business performance and metrics. BI dashboard tools provide real-time centralised access to users allowing them to interact with and evaluate information, helping them to make smarter, data-driven decisions.
Benefits of a BI dashboard
A BI dashboard is an easy-to-understand, visualised summary of data analysis that provides an at-a-glance overview of multiple areas of the business. There are many significant benefits of implementing BI dashboards into your operations including:
BI dashboards provide greater visibility with information available whenever it is required to ensure businesses are better placed to respond to changing market conditions.
With BI dashboards, you are no longer wasting valuable time generating reports from multiple systems. Instead, data is drawn from a centralised source and displayed as an easy to interpret visual overview.
With greater insight into the buying cycle of each customer, future demand can be more accurately predicted using historic information. Businesses can more effectively plan for demand fluctuations for the next business cycle, setting measurable goals and deliverables for greater success.
Key performance indicators
BI dashboards source data from multiple areas displaying the information as easy to understand visuals in real-time. This provides managers with an overview of current KPIs to assess different areas of performance while creating actionable insights.
With analytics and a real-time vision of inventory stock details, sales staff know what items are in stock and where they are located. BI dashboards improve inventory control using detailed historic data to optimise supply quantities and inventory allocation across stores and minimising the risk of stockouts.
Real-time customer analytics
With real-time, accurate insight on current customers purchasing behaviours, you have a better chance of achieving higher retention rates and increased revenue. Real-time insight allows sales teams to concentrate on the right customers at the right time, ensuring marketing efforts and activities are focussed toward the right clients.
Whether you’re providing reporting and analysis for the entire organisation or functional areas of the business, a BI dashboard allows companies to analyse key data quickly and meticulously. Visualised interactivity serves to deliver overwhelming amounts of data in a way that is easy to understand. With the ability to easily identify what the data really means; better decisions can be made relevant to the business.
The BI dashboard gives businesses a single application for connecting to, interacting with, evaluating and visualising any data, from various sources on any device. A BI dashboard requires little effort to install and manage, and most importantly, it is mobile, enabling your business intelligence to go wherever you do.
Limitations of a BI dashboard
Any innovation will have its limitations and often this will stem from the expense or challenges for companies of implementing new business tools. Most BI dashboards trend towards self-service, requiring IT professionals to implement the technology. Other challenges include:
- Flashy or cluttered design, with users attempting to incorporate too much information without understanding constraints or considering their specific needs from the range of different measurables detailed data analyses provides.
- Difficulty in attaching supporting data to a dashboard and the failure of data to refresh automatically means that both these tasks must be done manually.
- The technology used in the development of BI dashboards differs from other software solutions already employed in organisations and can be initially difficult to understand.
- The business has no predetermined rules and hierarchies for how dashboard metrics are used. This means each employee can use the metrics in different ways, resulting in a diverse set of data being reported.
The benefits of implementing BI dashboards into your organisation outweigh its limitations and by providing users with effective training you can get the best out of your investment in any new technology.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.