Dashboard Best Practices
When talk about Epicor ERP 10 first started, one of the topics that regularly came up was dashboards and how they were a drastic improvement in this version. Business intelligence has started to play a big role in today’s business world and dashboards are an easy way for an organization to adopt a BI strategy. They have become the go-to-access point for business visibility and analytics. They make decision making easier and access to information easy for all users, regardless of job role and amount of responsibility. It is here you can see if targets are being met, view opportunities and/or potential issues, and also gives you the ability to drill down on any area that needs further analysis. Just like we saw in Epicor ERP 10, modern dashboards are becoming increasingly more flexible and gives users access to data on a more immediate and widespread scale.
The ability to customize a dashboard should be a huge benefit to every organization. Users will be able to customize their dashboards to display the information that is most relevant to them completing their job effectively and efficiently. It is of course possible to create one that is meaningless and does nothing to further benefit the decision making or offer the organization improvement of any kind by using it. It is not enough to have the necessary tools in place, you need to be able to develop an effective and valuable plan to maximize what those analytics can do for your organization. Effective analytics should contain all of these factors:
- Data sources, business processes, and how the two areas connect
- Data repository where historical and real-time information are stored and can be evaluated in determining trends and in forecasting
- Defined targets and metrics for each defined business goal
- Quality data. Is this coming from an automated system or an ERP system? Is this coming for manual-entry by employees? Not having quality data is the most detrimental thing that can happen to your analytics. You can’t make good decisions if you don’t know your truths.
- A match between the user interface and activity level and the skill set of those employees using the information
It was clear the need for better BI tools was long over-due when there was such quick and overwhelming demand for dashboards. Especially in industries such as manufacturing, where customization is starting to play a larger role, the need for user defined analytics instead of pre-defined is becoming painfully obvious for many organizations. Regardless of the industry, here are some benefits dashboards can offer your organization:
- Better access to data
- Flexible deployment
- Allows agility with data
- Designed to be self-service
- Gives visibility into operations
- Helps in planning and forecasting
- Performance Management tool
As with any new technologies, there are things to keep in mind when you are implementing BI tools into your organization. Various departments will require different information at different times. To have effective dashboard delivery requires accurate and timely information delivered in a way that can be easily understood by all users regardless of their skill level with technology. Achieving this is much more difficult then it sounds. Vendors are making achieving this easily, but it is still a good idea to work with an IT Consultant to set up the framework and to decide what the best approach to dashboards or any BI solution would be for your organization. If you are interested in implementing a BI solution, or if you have a solution and would like help maximizing the use of dashboards, 2W Tech is here to help.