Here’s why you should choose dashboards over spreadsheets
Posted On 22/08/2017
Today, everyone in your organization is an analyst. Every employee wants to understand how they are performing, and where the shoe pinches. There’s only 1 problem: we don’t have much time to analyze, but we dó have millions of data.
For decades, we’ve been using Excel and related programs to analyze data and report on numerous KPIs. Spreadsheets are definitely a great tool. However, in this continually evolving digital age, they are no longer enough.
Let’s face it: we don’t really want the numbers. We just want the insights. And we want them now. And thát’s exactly why dashboards are gaining ground from spreadsheets.
Here are 6 reasons why it’s time to trade your pile of spreadsheets for a dashboard:
1. Dashboards are visual
Have you ever looked at a spreadsheet for 1 minute and said: I can see clearly that our sales are going down, and that factor X, Y and Z are the cause. Wishful thinking, right?
Spreadsheets aren’t visual. Of course you can add graphs, but it requires manual work to prepare and update them. An automated dashboard is much more intuitive. Choose a chart, select the KPIs you want to monitor, and let the dashboard add some visual magic. You’ll be able to spot trends, issues, or opportunities much easier.
Besides, ever tried to open a spreadsheet on your phone? Right, I don’t think this needs much more explaining…
2. Automate the annoying work
Imagine you’re making a report in Excel. It will cost you a few hours to gather the information, a few days to analyze the data, and then a couple more hours to visualize it with some nice graphs.
Try a dashboard that connects live to your data. Your charts will be updated automatically with the latest business information. You can pull a report at any time, or even schedule to generate a report.
Don’t waste time creating manual reports yourself. Let automation do the work for you, and focus on what really matters. Look for the insights, and build a powerful story around your dashboard.
3. Take immediate action on live data
Think of the same manual report again. While you were working on it, a crisis occurred at your company. Congratulations on the work, but your report is no longer useful, nor relevant.
Forget monthly or quarterly reporting. It was never as simple to have real-time information at your disposal. Don’t risk to make an important decision based on outdated information. Speed up the decision-making process, as you no longer have to wait for a report.
4. Centralize your data in 1 place instead of 100+ spreadsheets
Typically, companies have their information spread across different sources: databases, CRM systems, even in spreadsheets. Remember the times you tried to fit 5 different spreadsheets on 1 screen to do an analysis? Then it might be time to consider a dashboard.
Dashboarding software like Cumul.io allows you to manage and connect all of your data in 1 place. This means you can link information from different spreadsheets or databases to each other. Instead of doing stand-alone analyses, you’ll be able to see the full picture at a glance. Establish links or correlations you didn’t see before.
5. Drill down as deep as you like
Dashboards are interactive. You can easily drill down to find more specific information. Each user can navigate as he needs. Need a basic overview? Just monitor the high-level dashboard. Looking for insights on a particular aspect? Click your way down until you’ve found what you’re looking for.
For example, you created a dashboard to keep track of your deals and revenue. You want to view the specific performance of deals that were acquired via cold calling. With a simple click, you can easily create that view.
Trying to drill down in a spreadsheet? There’s no other way but to scroll your way through the data.
6. Improve employee motivation
On the long term, working with dashboards will improve your company’s performance. Not only does it increase efficiency of business processes (refer to the above), it also boosts employee motivation.
Display your performance across the company. You can easily do that by projecting your dashboards on a wall or TV monitor. Employees will feel much more involved with your company. They will feel accountable, but also recognized when their accomplishments are displayed proudly across the company.
We’re not saying you should delete all your spreadsheets. It’s a question of using them more efficiently. Spreadsheets are great for storing data and doing calculations. However, for visual reporting and decision-making, dashboards will save you needless time & effort.