When it comes to dashboards and the multitude of vendors out there, how do you know which dashboard solution will best suit your needs? If this question keeps you up at night, please allow me to rid your insomnia once and for all.
First, let’s talk about what you need by answering a few questions:
1. What analytics data do you want to present?
This is a critical question to answer. You need to determine what data is most important for the objective you have in mind. Are you planning to woo clients over? Well, maybe you should share your success rate and how much moola you are currently generating, on a month by month basis.
If you are presenting your social media interaction data, you can always rely on HootSuite to take care of your dashboarding needs. They have been around for a while and are a trusted vendor when it comes to anything related to social reporting. There is, however, built-in functionality in several dashboarding solutions to report social data, it’s just up to you in determining what other data will be shared on the dashboard. This will lead you to knowing whether something like HootSuite will better suit your needs or a more all around solution.
What this really boils down to is,
"What data is the most critical in determining the successful growth of your company?”
2. To whom are you presenting this data?
What if you are presenting data to your execs? Well then you need to ask yourself,
“What data is most important to my executives?”
Perhaps you have several campaigns your company recently ran and the higher ups want to make a decision on whether or not a campaign was successful enough to continue running. You can use this data to make tweaks to campaigns to improve their overall effectiveness. You could also compare your company’s growth be comparing the previous year’s data with the current year. There are so many options. I personally would use the SpotFire Dashboard for presenting data to a group of executives. They offer a comprehensive solution and a robust interface allowing for meticulous calculations and the presenting of nit-picky details you wouldn’t normally need to share.
You could also be presenting data to the public, such as on a flat screen somewhere in your office lobby or even in a commercial setting. This is really important to determine because then you need to be able to relay the data in as obvious a manner possible. Making sure that passersby understand the point you are trying to convey with just a quick glance. The data also has to be relevant, maybe not to everyone, but to more people than not. Determining where you present this data is almost as important as to whom you present this information. For something like this, presenting data to a mass audience, KlipFolio Web Dashboard takes the prize as the most appealing and intuitive dashboarding solution. Not only does it have an attractive interface, it can go with you, on your phone, laptop, tablet, or even a TV display (but you can’t take your TV with you). Chartbeat is another option that could work for this type of presentation.
There are some solutions that do give you more flexibility than others, let’s examine those options. Below you will find a comparison detailing the features of various dashboarding solutions.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, there is one last important step. You should demo the solution before committing to it. Either request a demo from the vendor or download a trial version if one is available. This is a very important step in determining the overall success of your dashboard. It is very cumbersome to switch to another solution mid dashboard-build. It’s not necessarily difficult, it’s just very time consuming and you run the risk of wasting many hours.
3. How much are you willing to spend?
Keep in mind the costs for these specific solutions, they vary significantly and each solution has variations of their product, ranging from the inexpensive to the really expensive. Like most things in life and analytics, when it comes to dashboarding, you get what you pay for.