Insights from Orion Group

Dashboards via Data Visualization

Dashboards are a way to see your business performance pictorially, like the view you get on your car’s dashboard to view operating performance. Data visualization is the process of building dashboards. A well designed dashboard can, at a glance, tell you how your business is performing. It can also help you grasp difficult concepts and identify new patterns. Most dashboards are designed to allow you to drill down to the underlying data for detailed analysis. Businesses create dashboards to manage high level KPIs, manage operational KPIs and as a means to communicate with customers.

Historically (pre-2000), most dashboards were complicated to create. Data was extracted, cleaned, filtered and combined from different data sources. Sophisticated front ends required programming expertise to query and display the data. Drilling down was cumbersome and limited. Data was not displayed in real time and – in the best of conditions – the result of nightly updates was not transmitted to a data warehouse. The tools to create a dashboard were costly to use not to mention the high cost to maintain a data warehouse. Most small and medium businesses did not have the budget for this level of sophisticated business management.

Software tools have evolved since the turn of the century. With integrated packages like SYSPRO, real time databases can be linked to powerful, easy to use authoring tools to allow instantaneous views of business performance. Custom dashboards can be designed and produced in minutes. Methods like Agile allow programmers and customers to think, create and see complex dashboards collaboratively, taking much of the cost out of their development. Companies that adopt integrated business packages, like SYSPRO, do so for many good reasons. One reason is that tit provides access to real time data across business functions. With SYSPRO dashboards and other products that interface to SYSPRO databases, such as DevExpress, dashboards are now in the reach of small and medium-sized businesses.

The Orion Group application development team was able to help the Women’s Care Center create an operational application and dashboard application to consolidate over 25 locations using a single cloud-based interface. The data is consolidated from a Microsoft SQL Server database that then provides real-time dashboard capabilities for the organization’s leadership team. The toolset in DevExpress allowed for lower cost and collaborative development that would have been unheard of just 10 years ago.

Technology continues to evolve providing powerful capabilities for lower cost. Now is a good time for you to consider implementing dashboard technology. By taking this step, you will enjoy the added benefit of clearly defining your business performance goals, making sure your data is accurate, and moving your company closer to business-driven success.

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