Visualizing data is often the fastest way to identify trends and patterns that lead to insights and better decision making. That’s because the simple clarity of visualizing data via interactive dashboards can reveal hidden opportunities that likely would have been missed in more traditional analysis and sharing of data.
Here are five ways dashboards can help identify valuable insights that may have been overlooked in the past.
1. Dashboards encourage company-wide planning (or xP&A)
Simply making dashboards accessible to stakeholders throughout the organization represents a huge win in itself—and a significant step toward breaking down silos. Yet beyond that, increasing the number of people who have access to data presented in digestible formats exponentially increases the chances of those aha moments occurring. The production floor manager will surely have a different perspective than the CFO. When that perspective is informed with accessible data delivered via a dashboard, the stage is set for new efficiencies and improved productivity.
2. Dashboards show instead of tell
There’s a reason the phrases “go through the numbers” and “eyes glaze over” are often uttered in the same sentence. Traditionally, delivering financial information has largely been a one-way conversation with the finance team presenting mundane reports and data downloads. With the exception of the number crunchers in finance and accounting, many business partners get lost or disinterested when presented with a number or data overload. Dashboards avoid this challenge by elevating the data to the next level and using graphics and visualizations to clearly show data in formats that provide key context and clarity. When data gets presented in highly visual and familiar formats, business users can often quickly see challenges and opportunities that otherwise might have been missed.
3. Dashboards offer customized views for different thinkers
Different people consume information in a wide range of ways. Some may be more comfortable viewing data presented in standard bar, column, gauge, area, and doughnut charts. Yet others benefit from data presented in more engaging or interactive formats. Workday Adaptive Planning dashboards feature data visualization that includes funnels, dials, waterfalls, bubbles, histograms, radars, and Pareto charts. Users across locations and on any device can view data in the formats that connect with their unique way of learning and thinking.
4. Dashboards are ever-present
Even finance pros and business leaders who are adept at extracting insights from traditional reporting face the challenge of locating reports once they are filed away. And once people find the report, they have the time-consuming process of checking if the data is still accurate. Conversely, dashboards are continuously available via a wide range of devices with data updated in real time, assuring users that they are working with the latest available information. So if conditions change or a new opportunity arises, easy-to-access data visualization is there to support decision-making and reveal how an opportunity may be quickly leveraged.
5. Dashboards are inviting and simple to use
The simple power of dashboards is that they are easy to use and invite users to experiment, explore, and discover. By eliminating the complexity barrier, the odds of uncovering hidden opportunities expand dramatically. Ultimately, dashboards create the opportunity for self-service analysis for everyone. That allows any user to perform drilldown analytics, create period-to-period comparisons, and explore iterative what-if analyses that can effectively identify issues that need immediate attention while also identifying trends that could be leveraged through sales and targeted marketing efforts.